The People of

David Grinspoon

Planetary Science Institute


David Grinspoon, Senior Scientist at Planetary Science Institute, is an astrobiologist who studies the possible conditions for life on other planets. In 2013, he served as inaugural Baruch S. Blumberg/NASA Chair in Astrobiology at the John W. Kluge Center of the United States Library of Congress, researching and writing the forthcoming book Earth in Human Hands. He is also Adjunct Professor of Astrophysical and Planetary Science at the University of Colorado. He is a frequent advisor to NASA on space exploration strategy, and is Co-Investigator on an instrument that is currently operating on the Curiosity Rover on Mars. He served as Interdisciplinary Scientist on the European Space Agency’s Venus Express spacecraft. Grinspoon was awarded the 2006 Carl Sagan Medal for Public Communication of Planetary Science by the American Astronomical Society. His first book, Venus Revealed, was a Los Angeles Times Book Prize finalist. His 2004 book, Lonely Planets: The Natural Philosophy of Alien Life won the PEN Center USA Literary Award for Research Nonfiction. Grinspoon’s popular writing has appeared in Slate, Scientific American, Natural History, The Sciences, Astronomy, Seed, the Boston Globe, the Los Angeles Times, the New York Times and Sky & Telescope Magazine where he is a contributing editor and writes the “Cosmic Relief” column. Also an award-winning musician, he is currently leading the House Band of the Universe. Dr. Grinspoon has been featured on dozens of television and radio shows. His technical papers have been published in Nature, Science, and numerous other journals, and he has given invited talks at international conferences throughout the U.S., Europe, Australia and Japan.