Thomas D. Jones, PhD Headshot
Report a problem with this profile
[email protected]

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

Reaching the Heavens: An Astronaut’s Spiritual Journey to Space

Lost Spacecraft: How NASA Rose from Tragedy to Reach for the Moon and Beyond

Leadership Lessons from NASA’s Astronaut Office

Apollo 11: How We Did It—and Will We Return?

Beyond Earth: Humanity’s Future in Space

Seeing Earth in a New Way

Show more speech topics
When Rocks Attack: Defending Earth from Asteroids

Sky Walking: An Astronaut’s Journey

Show less speech topics


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.
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.
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.

Related Speakers View all

More like Thomas