NASA has named Laurie Leshin the new deputy associate administrator for exploration systems starting in January, the U.S. space agency announced Dec. 18, 2009.

Leshin, an Arizona State University researcher who rose to prominence in 2004 as a member of the President’s Commission on Moon, Mars and Beyond, joined NASA in August 2005 as director of the Goddard Space Flight Center’s Sciences and Exploration Directorate in Greenbelt, Md.

Prior to being tapped to take the number two job in NASA’s Exploration Systems Mission Directorate, Leshin had been serving as Goddard’s deputy director for science and technology.

Leshin has a doctorate in geochemistry from the California Institute of Technology. She is married to NASA’s Astrophysics Division director, Jon Morse.