Now that we are waiting for all the questions to be answered by Dr. Knoll, we have another treat for you. Dr. David Morrison at NASA has agreed to do an interview. I will post a few things below about him and his wide range of accomplishments. I am also looking for a photo, so if we have any sleuths out there, who can find a photo?
Dr. Morrison has been a part of many NASA missions, written several books on the solar system, and maintains a website and lectures on Near Earth Objects. Dr. Morrison will be able to answer all of your general astonomical questions with no problem as he also authors the "Ask an AstroBiologist" section for NASA and he even has his own asteroid named after him "2410 Morrison" is named in his honor. http://impact.arc.nasa.gov/ is his website on NASA .
Senior Scientist, NASA Astrobiology Institute
Ames Research Center
Mountain View, California
David Morrison is the Senior Scientist at the NASA Astrobiology Institute, where he participates in a variety of research programs in astrobiology -- the study of the living universe. His responsibilities include liaison with astrobiology advisory groups, with other government agencies, and with professional societies with interests in astrobiology. He is also responsible for coordination within the Institute of astrobiology college-level education. From 1996-2001 he was the Director of Astrobiology and Space Research at NASA Ames Research Center, managing basic and applied research programs in the space, life, and Earth sciences.
Dr. Morrison received his Ph.D. in astronomy from Harvard University. Prior to joining NASA he was Professor of Astronomy at the University of Hawaii, where he directed the 3-meter NASA Infrared Telescope Facility of Mauna Kea Observatory and served as University Vice Chancellor for Research. From 1988 to 1996 he was Chief of the Space Science Division at NASA Ames.
Dr. Morrison has been an investigator on the Mariner 10, Voyager, CRAF, and Galileo space missions. Internationally known for his research on small bodies in the solar system, he is the author of more than 120 technical papers and has published a dozen books, including five university-level textbooks and several popular trade books on space science topics. In 1993 he was awarded the Klumpke-Roberts Prize by the Astronomical Society of the Pacific for his contributions to public education and understanding of science. Dr. Morrison chaired the official NASA study of impact hazards that recommended that a Spaceguard Survey be carried out to search for potentially threatening asteroids and comets, and in 1995 he received the NASA Outstanding Leadership Medal for this work. In 1996 NASA awarded him a second Outstanding Leadership Medal for his contributions to the Galileo mission and its exploration of Jupiter and its satellites. He is a Fellow of both the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the California Academy of Science, past-president of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific, and past-president of the planetary commission of the International Astronomical Union. He was awarded the Presidential Meritorious Rank in 1999 for his accomplishments as Director of Space at Ames Research Center, and the Dryden Research Lectureship from the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics in 2001 for his contributions to creating the new field of astrobiology. Asteroid 2410 Morrison is named in his honor.