Dr. Joe Mascaro is Planet's Director of Science Programs

Meet Brice Ménard, Planet Labs Ambassador and Scientist-in-Residence


When Planet launched the Ambassador’s Program a few weeks ago, we expected applications from all manner of Earth scientists. And indeed, innovative ideas have been coming in from geologists, cryosphere experts, forest ecologists and others.

But one application was, well, out of this world. Brice Ménard is a professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at Johns Hopkins University. In 2014 Brice was awarded the prestigious Packard Fellowship for Science and Engineering. Among other things, the fellowship will support his work to develop novel techniques to estimate the distance of galaxies.

Brice has been working on the Sloan Digital Sky Survey, an effort to map the sphere of the sky which has generated one of the largest astronomical datasets. The similarity with Planet’s dataset for the surface of the Earth was uncanny:

“While astronomers have been looking up, observing the sphere of the sky, orbiting satellites have been pointed downward, attempting to image the sphere of Planet Earth. Interestingly, these two groups of people share many tasks and challenges. They just happen to look in opposite directions.”

Read about about Brice’s work, and his plans as a Scientist in Residence. And watch this, uh, “space” for updates on his work with Planet’s unique dataset.