Dr. Christine Corbett Moran

Hi! I’m Christine. My mother calls me “Dr. Moran”, the internet knows me as “@corbett”, and my kids call me “mom”. I like collecting projects and experiences which I hope will one day render me able to solve any problem I find interesting or important. It’s slow going at points but I have a lot of fun exploring and creating things in a variety of fields from AI to cryptography to astrophysics to politics. If you are looking for a short bio and headshots, please head over to my Professional Bio and Headshots page.

Currently, I’m the Engineering Manager for the Pelican Data Pipeline at Planet. Previously, I served as Deputy Manager for NASA’s Exoplanet Exploration Program, a NASA Headquarters Program that JPL manages for the NASA Astrophysics Division and the exoplanet science community. In this role I supported discovering new planets outside of our solar system, characterizing them, and looking for life among the stars. I also served on the Perseverance Mars Rover team as a payload downlink lead on the Engineering Cameras team while at NASA JPL.

In 2014 I completed my Ph.D. in Theoretical Astrophysics at the University of Zurich under Professor George Lake and Professor Romain Teyssier. Prior to that I’ve worked at SpaceXOpen Whisper SystemsBBN TechnologiesMIT CSAILMIT Media LabLucent Technologies (Bell Labs Site)FAST Search and TransferUP DilimanMITJHU, and MIT MEET as a software engineer, research scientist, or lecturer/professor. Prior to/during that I studied Physics and Computer Science and Engineering (double major) and Mathematics and Philosophy (double minor) at MIT and obtained a Master’s degree in Astrophysics and Cosmology from UZH.

Post Ph.D., I worked on the South Pole Telescope on-site at the South Pole in Antarctica for January-November 2016 with the University of Chicago, served as a NSF Astronomy and Astrophysics Postdoctoral Fellow and visiting scientist at Caltech, and worked as the technical group supervisor of the Cyber Defense Engineering and Research group at JPL.

In my free time in the past, I have done a lot of open source and mobile application development oriented around technical activism, gender based violence and social justice. I was the co-lead of the iOS team at Open WhisperSystems (encrypted communications) through the launch of Signal iOS in early 2015, and formerly served as technical lead on the Circle of 6 app as well as formerly the Encyclopedia app.

Lately my free time is oriented around reading, writing science fiction, aviation (gliders), kung fu, studying Chinese, and spending quality time with my husband Dr. Casey Handmer and our two young children.

In the past, I received my ham radio license, technician class and spent more time training and flying with friends in powered small aircraft.

I’ve had the privilege to be an active public speaker over the past 10 years.

One final thing: I applied (for the third time) to be a NASA astronaut and certainly plan to see the Earth from space one day. I made it to one of the 50 finalists out of 18,300+ applications invited to interview in Houston, Texas for the Astronaut Candidate class of 2017, but was ultimately not chosen to be part of the 2017 class. I’ll be applying again!