Henry Throop

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Throop at Kerala State Science and Technology Museum(KSSTM), Thiruvananthapuram India

Henry B. Throop (born 1972), is a scientist at the Planetary Science Institute, who served as a Science Team Collaborator and worked on the New Horizons mission. He currently resides in Mumbai, India. The asteroid 193736 Henrythroop is named after him.[1][2]

Professional History[edit]

Throop had his BA from Grinnell College, 1994 and he received a PhD in Planetary Science from the University of Colorado, USA, in 2000.[3] Then he left the University of Colorado and moved to Southwest Research Institute (SWRI), Boulder as a Senior Research Scientist during 2000–2008. There he worked on Cassini rings observations at Jupiter (December 2000) and Saturn (July 2004). From October 2003 he has been working as a member of the Spacecraft Hazard Team on the New Horizons mission to Pluto.[1]

He is a frequent consultant to NASA and the National Science Foundation. While working at NASA, he managed two of NASA's major scientific research programs.[4]

In August 2007 the History Channel had put a documentary in which Throop and others discuss Pluto and New Horizons. The show was called "Outer Planets" and is part of their series "The Universe." Show first aired in August 2007, and had been seen in re-runs during 2008.

He moved to the Astronomy department of the National Autonomous University of Mexico in Mexico City as a Senior Research Scientist during 2008–2009. During February 2013 he moved to Pretoria, South Africa. He was a faculty at the University of Pretoria, where he was working to start up their astronomy program. While living in Africa, he worked extensively with rural schools, helping to develop their science programs and inspire the next generation of leaders. At the same time, he was affiliated with the Planetary Science Institute in Tucson, Arizona, USA and also continued to work on New Horizons and other projects at SWRI. He is now a Senior Scientist with the Planetary Science Institute in Tucson, Arizona, USA.

During August 2015 he moved to Mumbai, India. He is continuing his work with PSI and SWRI, and teaching some astronomy locally at St. Xavier's College, Mumbai [1].

He has presented more than 100 lectures for science festivals, planetariums, school groups, and public events across the US, Mexico, and Africa. Dr. Throop's work has been featured in Science, Nature, Time, The Washington Post, on the National Geographic TV.

Research interests[edit]

  • Planetary Rings
  • Protoplanetary Disks
  • Dust in the Solar System
  • Formation of Organic Molecules
  • Early History of the Solar System
  • Formation of Extrasolar Planets
  • New Horizons mission to Pluto[5]


He worked at NASA HQ as the program officer for two programs: Cassini Data Analysis and Participating Scientists (CDAPS), and Origins of Solar Systems (OSS). He was involved in its historic flyby of Pluto on July 14, 2015, working with the visible-IR spectrometer (Ralph) team.

He has also been involved with the Cassini mission's imaging team in the data acquisition and analysis of ring studies in particular.

He is responsible for writing award-winning software for operations planning – a solar system simulator used for planning observations. It was issued by New Horizons, Cassini, Rosetta, Lunar Recon Orbiter, MESSENGER, and many other missions. It's a robust and easy to use web-based observing planning tool for seeing what the sky looks like from a spacecraft or the Earth. The software has won the 'IDL Applications of the Year' award, from RSI. [4][5]

Awards and honors[edit]

Asteroid 193736 Henrythroop, discovered by Marc Buie at the Kitt Peak National Observatory in 2001, was named after him.[1] The official naming citation was published by the Minor Planet Center on 11 July 2018 (M.P.C. 110637).[6]


  1. ^ a b c d "(193736) Henrythroop". Minor Planet Center. Retrieved 17 July 2018.
  2. ^ "Henry Throop - Kaleidoscope". www.msufp.in.
  3. ^ "Henry Throop / Research Page". www.boulder.swri.edu.
  4. ^ a b "Henry Throop Personal/Professional Page". 4 November 2015.
  5. ^ a b "Henry Throop". www.boulder.swri.edu.
  6. ^ a b "MPC/MPO/MPS Archive". Minor Planet Center. Retrieved 17 July 2018.