Dr. Linda Spilker is a planetary scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory who has participated in NASA and international planetary missions for over 40 years. Spilker’s mission roles include mission leadership as well as design, planning, operation and scientific data analysis. As Cassini Project Scientist Dr. Spilker leads a team of over 300 international scientists. She has worked in a science role on the Cassini project for 30 years and is a Co-I with the Cassini Composite Infrared Spectrometer team. She previously worked on the Voyager mission for 12 years. She also conducts independent research on the origin and evolution of planetary ring systems and supports proposals and concept studies for new missions to the outer planets. She enjoys yoga and hiking in National Parks, including her favorite park, Yosemite. She is married, with three daughters and nine grandchildren.
Dr. Spilker received her PhD summa cum laude from UCLA in 1992 in Geophysics and Space Physics while also working at JPL. Dr. Spilker received her B.A. from Cal State Fullerton, and her M.S. from Cal State Los Angeles, both in Physics. She also received the Distinguished Alumni Award for Natural and Social Sciences from the California State University at Los Angeles in 1996, and the Distinguished Alumni award from the California State University at Fullerton in 2005. She has received a number of NASA awards including a NASA Outstanding Public Leadership Medal and two NASA Exceptional Service Medals.
Dr. Spilker has worked at JPL for over 40 years, her first and only job out of college.