Marc Rayman is chief engineer for mission operations and science at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL). He is also chief engineer of the Psyche mission. Psyche is both the name of an asteroid orbiting the Sun between Mars and Jupiter and the NASA mission to visit this asteroid. The mission will be the first time we explore a world not made of rock or ice, but of metal. Psyche offers a unique window into the fascinating history of collisions and accretion that created terrestrial planets.
Marc grew up in Toledo, Ohio, and earned a B.A. in physics from Princeton University, and an M.S. in physics from the University of Colorado in Boulder. Marc joined JPL in 1986 and his work there has included optical interferometry missions to detect planets around other stars, design of a mission to return samples from Mars, a laser altimeter for Mars, the Spitzer infrared space telescope and the development of systems to use lasers to communicate with interplanetary spacecraft among others. He led the Deep Space 1 mission launched in 1998 which took NASA's first close-up pictures of the nucleus of a comet. Marc was chief engineer, mission director, and project manager on the Dawn mission that explored the two largest uncharted worlds in the inner solar system, Dawn and Vesta. It is the only spacecraft ever to orbit two extraterrestrial destinations.
His many accolades from NASA include three Exceptional Achievement Medals and four Outstanding Leadership Medals. He was named a JPL Fellow, the highest technical position there, "for extraordinary technical contributions made over an extended period."