David S. McKay, Chief Scientist for Astrobiology
NASA / KA
Ph.D. Geology, Rice University, 1964
M.A. Geology, University of California-Berkeley, 1960
B.A. Geology, Rice University, 1958
Dr. McKay currently searches for evidence of past life on Mars using martian meteorites and terrestrial analogs. He performs original research in Planetary Science with emphasis on lunar soils, lunar pyroclastics, and space weathering, and he helped develop lunar soil simulant and instigated quality control now used NASA-wide. Dr. McKay has been awarded a patent on the use of planetary simulant for toxic waste purification, and has a patent pending on the use of bacteria-produced compound as major UV absorber.
Dr. McKay is also developing education and outreach programs to stimulate concepts for human exploration of the Moon and Mars (teachers workshops, development of instructional materials and displays, lectures). He is formulating and organizing a NASA program to develop and utilize space resources for producing propellants, metals, ceramics, oxygen, and food to support advanced missions such as a lunar base and a human mission to Mars, and developing innovative new technology for both life detection and for the use of lunar regolith as feedstock, radiation protection, source of fuel, source of nutrients for microbial bioreactors, and long term lunar habitation.
Taylor, L.A., Pieters, C., Patchen, A., Taylor, D.H.S., Morris, R.V., Keller, L.P. and McKay, D.S. (2010). "Mineralogical and chemical characterization of lunar highland soils: Insights into the space weathering of soils on airless bodies." J. Geophys. Res, 115.
Ciftcioglu, N. and McKay, D.S. (2010). "Pathological Calcification and Replicating Calcifying-Nanoparticles: General Approach and Correlation." Pediatric Research, 67(5), 490-499.
Wallace, W.T., Taylor, L.A., Liu, Y., Cooper, B.L., McKay, D.S., Chen, B. and Jeevarajan, A.S. (2009). "Lunar Dust and Lunar Simulant Activation and Monitoring." Meteor. Planet. Sci., 44, 961-970.
McKay, D.S., Thomas-Keprta, K.L., Clemett, S.J., Gibson Jr, E.K., Spencer, L. and Wentworth, S.J. (2009). "Life on Mars: new evidence from martian meteorites." Instruments and Methods for Astrobiology and Planetary Missions, 7441, 744102.
Brown, I., Sarkisova, S., Garrison, D., Thomas-Keprta, K., Allen, C., Jones, J., Galindo, C. and McKay, D. (2008). "Bio-Weathering of Lunar and Martian Rocks by Cyanobacteria: A Resource for Moon and Mars Exploration." 39th Lunar & Planet. Sci. Conf., 1673.