Veverka, Joseph Frank

James A. Weeks Professor of Physical Sciences
share the uri qr icon contact info

Professor Joseph has been at Cornell since 1970 and served as Chair of the Department of Astronomy from 1999 - 2007.

His main scientific interests focus on various aspects of solar system research, in particular high-resolution imaging and photometry of planetary, satellite, asteroid and cometary surfaces. He was one of the first to demonstrate that asteroids have well-developed regoliths and that Titan has a thick, cloudy atmosphere.

For the past forty years he has participated in numerous NASA planetary missions, including Mariner 9, Viking, Voyager Mars Observer, and Mars Global Surveyor. He served as Deputy Imaging Team Leader on the Galileo mission to Jupiter, was the Team Leader of both the imaging and spectral mapping experiments on the Near Earth Asteroid Rendezvous (NEAR) mission to asteroid Y33 Eros, the Principal Investigator on NASA's Discovery mission CONTOUR, and a Co-Investigator of the Deep Impact mission to comet Tempel 1 in 2005. Currently, he is a member of the Cassini imaging team, a Co-Investigator on the DIXI mission to comet Hartley 2, and Principal Investigator on Stardust-NExT, which will encounter comet Tempel 1 in February 2011 to assess the changes that have occurred on the comet's surface since the Deep Impact flyby in 2005.

In 2001 he was one of the recipients of the National Air and Space Museum Space Trophy for his leadership during the NEAR mission and in 1979 was awarded the NASA Medal for Exceptional Scientific Achievement for his investigations of Phobos and Deimos, the two satellites of Mars. Asteroid 2710 is named for him.

Professor Veverka continues to participate in numerous NASA and NAS/NRC committees. He has served several times on the Committee for Planetary Exploration (COMPLEX), most recently as the Chair from 2007 - 2010. He has participated in the last two Decadal Studies for Planetary Exploration and is currently the Chair of the Primitive Bodies Panel of the ongoing Decadal Survey. He is a member of the Space Studies Board and a member of other committees.

Research Areas research areas