Q Describe what you do in your current work situation? A As a senior materials research engineer in the Space Environment and Experiments Branch at NASA Glenn Research Center I conduct research on the durability of spacecraft materials in the space environment. This means I determine if materials that spacecraft designers want to use to build spacecraft will be damaged while in space, or whether the materials will last a long time. Also, if an external spacecraft material has become damaged in space (such as on the Hubble Space Telescope), I run experiments to understand why. Although space, above the Earth where the International Space Station and the shuttle orbit, is a “vacuum environment” there are many harmful environmental exposures that can damage spacecraft materials. These include solar flare x-rays, ultraviolet radiation (which can give you a sunburn), and charged particle radiation from the Sun (such as electrons that can cause “northern lights”), thermal cycling and something called atomic oxygen (individual oxygen atoms). To study the durability of spacecraft materials, I run tests in ground-laboratory facilities and I design, build, and fly space-flight experiments to test what spacecraft materials will be damaged while in space, and what materials are durable. I have had numerous experiments that were flown in the space shuttle cargo bay, on the Russian Space Station Mir, and I am the principal investigator for 12 individual experiments that have been, or will be, flown on the exterior of the International Space Station! These International Space Station experiments are part of a series of experiments called MISSE, which is an abbreviation for the Materials International Space Station Experiment. You can learn more about the MISSE experiments and see neat photos of the MISSE experiment trays in space at http://misse1.larc.nasa.gov/.