Search for our Cosmic Roots
March 14th, 2003
Dr. Anne

NASA Physics and Astronomy
Kinney directs Hubble, Chandra X-ray, Next Generation Space Telescopes, Gravity Probe-B, and Planet Finder, to find and characterize
Earth-like planets.
Where do we come from?
Are we alone?
NASA's Origins Program seeks to answer two enduring human questions that we once considered around ancient campfires, yet still keep alive in today's classrooms: Where do we come from? Are we alone?

Knowing "where we come from" means understanding how the great chain of events unleashed after the Big Bang culminated in us and in everything we observe today. It is the story of our cosmic roots, told in terms of all that precedes us: the origin and development of galaxies, stars, planets, and the chemical conditions necessary to support life.
Knowing our uniqueness--"whether we're alone" in the cosmos--depends on our search for life-sustaining planets and on our understanding of life’s glorious diversity here on Earth. Only by seeing the innumerable possibilities on our home planet can we be sure that we'll recognize life if and when we find it somewhere else.

Dr. Anne Kinney is the Director of NASA’s Origins Program, managing a number of major space astronomy missions including the Hubble Space Telescope, the Chandra X-Ray Observatory, the Microwave Anisotropy Mission, and several others as well as upcoming missions such as the Space Infrared Telescope Facility, the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy, the Space Interferometry Mission, the Next Generation Space Telescope, Gravity Probe-B, and the Terrestrial Planet Finder, a mission to find and characterize Earth-like planets.

“Working closely with astronomers, I seek out cutting-edge technologies and advocate new missions that will help deepen our understanding of the universe,” Kinney says.

Dr. Kinney is an expert in extragalactic astronomy and has worked on characterizing the optical and ultraviolet spectra of quasars, blazers, active galaxies and normal galaxies. She has studied signatures of accretion disks in active galaxies and demonstrated that the disks lie at random angles relative to their host galaxies. Dr. Kinney has more than 75 scientific publications.

She worked in education and public outreach with the Hubble Space Telescope and was involved in creating Amazing Space (http://amazing-space.stsci.edu), an educational web site for students learning basic principles of science, math and astronomy.

Dr. Kinney serves on the editorial board of Astronomy Magazine and served on the Council of the American Astronomical Society.

I seek out cutting-edge technologies that will help deepen our understanding of the universe.