Michelle Thaller is a nationally recognized spokesperson for astronomy and science, and the assistant director of science at NASA's Goddard Spaceflight Center. She has a bachelor's degree in astrophysics from Harvard, and a PhD from Georgia State University. For her specialized research in the evolution of binary star systems, Thaller has used the Hubble and Spitzer Space Telescopes, as well as ground-based observatories such as Mount Palomar, Kitt Peak, and Mount Stromlo. After a post-doctoral research fellowship at Caltech, she became particularly interested in public outreach and science communication and served as the public outreach lead for the Spitzer Space Telescope.
Thaller has produced and starred in several podcast series available on iTunes and YouTube, has received the highest honors for online programming including three Telly Awards, and has been a regular host of the History Channel's The Universe, NatGeo's The Known Universe, and the Discovery Channel's How the Universe Works. Behind the scenes, Thaller has led efforts to develop high-quality apps for smartphones and tablets and to connect NASA missions with social media outlets. She currently represents all of NASA's science themes, from Earth science and climate change to the Sun and space weather, solar system exploration, and cosmology and the deep universe. For her work, Thaller has received numerous awards including the Robert Goddard Award, the Women in Aerospace Award, and an induction into the Space Camp Hall of Fame.