JANICE VOSS, Astronaut and former Kepler mission science office director, inspects a printout depicting the star field as seen through Kepler s eyes. Photo credit: NASA Ames Dominic Hart.
Feb. 07 - NASA astronaut Janice Voss passed away last night after a courageous battle with cancer. One of only six women who have flown in space five times, Voss’ career was highlighted by her work and dedication to scientific payloads and exploration. She was 55.
Voss spent the majority of her career at NASA in the astronaut program. However, from 2004 to 2007, Voss served as the science office director for the Kepler mission at NASA’s Ames Research Center at Moffett Field, Calif.
In her role, Voss was responsible for coordinating science activities for the Kepler mission. In particular, Voss was responsible for coordinating the efforts to generate the Kepler target catalog, an extensive pre-launch ground survey of the space telescope's field-of-view for stars similar to the sun.
Voss also helped establish the original guest observer office and in the planning of the follow-up observation program for the mission.
"Janice had tremendous passion about her work and her personal interests," said Marcie Smith, Kepler mission director at Ames. "She always thoroughly researched the task at hand to arrive at the best logical decision. She loved to encourage interest in Kepler and the manned space program with public talks and lectures."
Voss will be remembered for the team spirit she brought from her days in the Astronaut Office. One such instance was a suggestion that the Kepler managers buy ribbons to distribute among the team in appreciation of individual contributions. These ribbons can be seen pinned to the walls of the Kepler team members today in recognition of their work.
"Whenever anyone mentioned a science fiction story, Janice would pull out a small notebook that she carried to see if she had already read the story," recalls Kepler principal investigator William Borucki at Ames.
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