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Thomas D. Jones, PhD        

Former NASA Astronaut & Planetary Scientist; Author

Thomas D. Jones, PhD, is a scientist, author, pilot, and veteran NASA astronaut. In more than eleven years with NASA, he flew on four space shuttle missions to Earth orbit. On his last flight, Dr. Jones led three spacewalks to install the centerpiece of the International Space Station, the American Destiny laboratory. He has spent fifty-three days working and living in space.

After graduation from the Air Force Academy, Jones piloted B-52D strategic bombers, earned a doctorate in planetary sciences from the University of Arizona, studied asteroids for NASA, engineered intelligence-gathering systems for the CIA, and helped NASA develop advanced mission concepts to explore the solar system.

Jones is the author of several space and aviation books: Ask the Astronaut, Planetology, (written with Ellen Stofan), Hell Hawks! The Untold Story of the American Fliers Who Savaged Hitler's Wehrmacht (with Robert F. Dorr), and Sky Walking: An Astronaut's Memoir. The Wall Street Journal named Sky Walking one if its “Five Best” books on space.

Dr. Jones' awards include the NASA Distinguished Service Medal, four NASA Space Flight Medals, the NASA Exceptional Service award, the NASA Outstanding Leadership Medal, the NASA Exceptional Public Service award, Phi Beta Kappa, the Air Force Commendation Medal, and Distinguished Eagle Scout. The Main Belt asteroid 1082 TomJones is named in his honor. In 2018, Jones was inducted into the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame.

Jones served on the NASA Advisory Council and the board of the Association of Space Explorers and is a board member for the Astronauts Memorial Foundation. As an aerospace and science consultant, he focuses on the future direction of human space exploration, uses of asteroid and space resources, and planetary defense. A frequent public speaker, he appears often on TV and radio with expert commentary on science and space flight.

Speech Topics


Beyond Earth: The Nation’s Future in Space

Asteroids, NEOs, and Small Bodies in the Solar System

Can We Reach Mars?

News


U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame to Induct Dr. Thomas Jones, Captain Scott Altman April 21

Veteran astronauts Dr. Thomas D. Jones and Capt. Scott D. Altman, who have both demonstrated outstanding accomplishments in furthering NASA’s mission of exploration and discovery, have been selected to receive one of the highest honors in their industry.

Former Essex resident and astronaut receives out-of-this-world honor

Former Essex resident and Kenwood High graduate, Thomas D. Jones, Ph.D. was inducted into the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame in April and he hopes to use his success to encourage others to reach for the stars.

NASA officials believe it will land 1st human on Mars during next 25 years

Former NASA astronaut Thomas D. Jones told reporters earlier this week that medical and technological concerns, and the cost to solve those issues, are the reason it's going to take about a quarter-century. Medical risks from deadly radiation include potential vision loss, atrophying bones and the fact the trip from Earth to Mars takes nine months.

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