December 17, 2017

Richard Brice Hoover

L2Richard Brice Hoover is a scientist who has authored/edited ~50 scientific books and over 350 research papers on X-Ray/EUV optics, Solar Physics, Astrophysics, Diatoms, Microbial Extremophiles, Meteorites and Astrobiology. He holds 11 U.S. patents and was 1992 NASA Inventor of Year. Richard B. Hoover was elected Fellow National, Explorers Club (2001); and Honorary Life Member, Planetary Studies Foundation (2003) for his discovery of indigenous microfossils in carbonaceous meteorites. Richard B. Hoover was elected SPIE Fellow (1991); SPIE President (2001); and in 2009, he was awarded the SPIE Gold Medal of the Society.

Hoover is an internationally known authority on diatoms. He worked at the NASA/Marshall Space Flight Center from 1966 to 2012. He developed the X-ray Telescope flown on the SKYLAB Space Station and was selected the 1992 NASA Inventor of the Year. In 1997, Hoover established the Astrobiology Research Group at MSFC. In this role, he conducted research on microbial extremophiles from the ice and permafrost of Siberia, Iceland, Alaska and Antarctica as well as Vostok Ice cores and Geysers and Halo-alkaline water of California, Iceland, Yellowstone National Park as well as Deep Crustal Rocks and Deep Sea Hydrothermal Vents. He discovered indigenous microfossils of recognizable filamentous cyanobacteria and other prokaryotes; acritarchs, testate amoebae, hystrichospheres, diatoms and other eukaryotic microorganisms in many diverse carbonaceous meteorites. Hoover pioneered the use of Energy Dispersive X-ray Analysis of nitrogen for distinguishing recent terrestrial biological contaminants from indigenous microfossils in ancient rocks and meteorites.

Richard B. Hoover has organized scientific expeditions to many of the most hostile environments of Earth. He was the only American Scientist on the 1999 International Beringia Astrobiology Expedition led by David Gilichinsky to drill in search for microbial life in the permafrost of the Kolyma Lowlands of Northeastern Siberia. Hoover was Chief Scientist for the Antarctica 2000 Expedition with Astronaut James A. Lovell and Astronaut Owen Garriott which recovered 20 meteorites from the Thiel Mountains, Antarctica. He served as Science Lead for the 2008 Joint US/Russia/Austria International Astrobiology Expeditions to study extremophiles in the Schirmacher Oasis and Lake Untersee, Antarctica.

These Scientific Expeditions have resulted in the discovery of fifteen new species and six new genera of archaea and bacteria. A novel organism isolated from a sample Prof. Hoover collected in the Lake Untersee deep anoxic trough has exotic previously unknown organelles for gliding motility (antiae) and represents a new Family of bacteria L2(Williamwhitmanaceae).

This field of study has just barely been touched – because
quite frankly, a great many scientists would say that this is impossible.