Jamey Szalay awarded the Early Career Achievement Medal from NASA

Aug. 8, 2023

Jamey Szalay, a Research Scholar with Astrophysical Sciences was awarded the Early Career Achievement Medal from NASA.  “This prestigious NASA medal is awarded for significant performance during the first 10 years of an individual’s career in support of the NASA Mission. The contribution is significant, in that, for an employee who is at such an early phase of career, the contribution has substantially improved the discipline area.”  The citation for Szalay’s work reads “For significant early career achievement in the analysis of JADE science data, including contributions to auroral and moon-magnetosphere interaction science.”

The Jovian Auroral and Distributions Experiment (JADE) is a plasma instrument onboard the Juno spacecraft with the ability to determine plasma composition. Juno has been in orbit about Jupiter since 2016 and JADE has made a number of important discoveries and contributions to Jovian science. Szalay has led eight papers and has been coauthor on another 44 discussing the Jovian plasma environment.  Two of his most relevant papers are summarized below.

Szalay et al. (2018), In-situ Observations Connected to the Io Footprint Tail Aurora, JGR

This resolved a long-standing controversy on how the auroral emissions linked to Jupiter’s volcanic moon Io were generated. Using a synthesis of in-situ and remote-based observations of Jupiter’s aurora, we identified the fundamental process sustaining Io’s auroral features at Jupiter. After the initial publication on this topic, which was the first to provide and analyze in-situ data of Io’s auroral interaction at Jupiter, there has been a great interest and large number of publications focusing on understanding satellite-driven aurorae at Jupiter. 

Szalay et al. (2022), Water-Group Pickup Ions From Europa-Genic Neutrals Orbiting Jupiter, GRL

Water-group gas continuously escapes from Jupiter's icy moon Europa, where these neutrals provide insights into their source moons as they reveal loss processes and compositions of their parent bodies, alter local plasma composition, and act as sources and sinks for magnetospheric particles. However, Europa-genic plasma had never been observed in the magnetosphere before Juno. In this paper, we presented the discovery of charged molecular hydrogen from Europa in Jupiter's magnetosphere and used these observations to provide the most direct estimate of Europa’s loss of neutral H2.

Congratulations, Jamey!


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