Grinspoon is an astrobiologist who studies the possible conditions for
life on other planets. In November 2012, he began a one-year
appointment as the inaugural Baruch S. Blumberg/NASA Chair in
Astrobiology at the John W. Kluge Center of the United States Library
of Congress, where he is researching and writing a book about the
human influence on Earth, seen in cosmic perspective.
In a recent interview
David said: "The Anthropocene Epoch concept has slowly emerging in
science. Even as a kid enthralled with science fiction, I wondered
about the role of people in the long term evolution of the Earth, the
far future and the fate of humanity. And thinking about advanced life
elsewhere in the universe also leads us back to wonder about how long
a civilization can last, which raises the same questions. In my PhD
thesis, written in 1989, I discussed the fact that when a civilization
develops the technology to prevent catastrophic asteroid impacts it
marks a significant moment in the evolution of the planet. I speculate
about what the coming of “intelligence” and “civilization” mean for
Earth and other planets."
Grinspoon was awarded the
2006 Carl Sagan Medal for Public Communication of Planetary Science by
the American Astronomical Society. His first book, Venus Revealed, was
a Los Angeles Times Book Prize finalist. His 2004 book, Lonely
Planets: The Natural Philosophy of Alien Life won the PEN Center
USA Literary Award for Research Nonfiction. Grinspoon’s popular
writing has appeared in Slate, Scientific American, Natural History,
The Sciences, Astronomy, Seed, the Boston Globe, the Los Angeles
Times, the New York Times and Sky & Telescope Magazine where he is a
contributing editor and writes the monthly “Cosmic Relief” column. Dr.
Grinspoon has been featured on dozens of television and radio shows.
His technical papers have been published in Nature, Science, and
numerous other journals, and he has given invited talks at
international conferences throughout the U.S., Europe, Australia and
For more, see
David is Curator of Astrobiology at the
Denver Museum of Nature & Science, and Adjunct Professor of
Astrophysical and Planetary Science at the University of Colorado. He
is a frequent advisor to NASA on space exploration strategy, and is
Co-Investigator on an instrument that is currently operating on the
Curiosity Rover on Mars. He serves as Interdisciplinary Scientist on
the European Space Agency’s Venus Express spacecraft, which is
currently in orbit around Venus.