Former Hubble Repairman To Head NASA Science Division [Nature]

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The next leader of NASA’s Science Mission Directorate is an astrophysicist and astronaut who flew three space shuttle missions to work on the Hubble Space Telescope, the journal Nature reports.

Citing “several sources with knowledge of the selection,” Nature says John Grunsfeld, deputy director of the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore, has been tapped to replace Ed Weiler as NASA associate administrator for science.

Grunsfeld’s attributes include his unusual experience as a scientist who has both touched Hubble and used data from it; his knowledge of NASA bureaucracy from serving as an adviser to the agency’s chief scientist from 2003 to 2004; and his management of 500 employees at the Space Telescope Science Institute since 2009.

But Nature quotes one scientist as saying NASA-funded scientists who work outside astronomy — in Earth science, planetary science and heliophysics — could question his leadership: “His entire reputation is based on fixing space telescopes. I think it will be a real tough slog for him.”

READ IT AT: [Nature]