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Meet: Diane Wooden

photo of Diane Wooden

LCROSS Science Team
NASA Ames Research Center

Dr. Diane Wooden is a research astrophysicist at NASA Ames focusing on the LCROSS mission. Currently, Dr. Wooden is conducting observations from the NASA Infrared
Telescope facility on Hawaii’s Mauna Kea in preparation for the upcoming LCROSS impact. She has previously performed similar observations on Mauna Kea for the Deep Impact mission.

Diane has had a life-long interest in, and fascination with, astronomy. When she was just 12 years old, she ground her own mirror and built her own telescope using money she earned from babysitting jobs. In junior high, she focused on mathematics and science.

She has studied at the University of California, Santa Cruz, and Stanford University, earning her Ph.D. in astronomy and astrophysics from UCSC in 1989.

Diane Wooden has worked at NASA for 25 years. She specializes in infrared spectroscopy with an emphasis on comets, the “deep-freezers” of what was happening when Jupiter and Saturn were forming. She also studies the Moon, particularly in her current work looking for water ice as a key member of the LCROSS science team.

Diane has an asteroid “17421 Wooden” named after her in recognition of her path-breaking research on crystals and comets.


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