Alessondra Springmann

I'm a final-year PhD candidate studying asteroids, comets, and meteorites at the Lunar and Planetary Laboratory, University of Arizona. From 2012–2014 I worked at Arecibo Observatory microwaving near-Earth asteroids with the 2.38 GHz planetary megawatt radar (with 73.4 dB of forward gain). I'm looking for a postdoc position where I can work on pbig scientific problems affecting our planet, whether from the perspective of climate/energy, or asteroid impact hazard mitigation, and improve my communication skills.

Education & Past Positions

Master of Science, University of Arizona, Planetary Sciences
Master of Science, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Earth & Planetary Sciences
Bachelor of Arts, Wellesley College, Astrophysics
Cross-registered student, Olin College of Engineering

Former member of the Planetary Radar Group, Arecibo Observatory, finding asteroids before they find us.

Useful Links

Find my personal site at, or follow my tweets about planetary radar at @sondy.
Papers & Conference Abstracts: NASA Astrophysics Data System | Google Scholar
Is that asteroid on the MPC confirmation page visible from Arecibo?
Common sources of radio frequency interference. Don't bring your DC motor hairdryer to Arecibo!
Arecibo Observatory Cats live here.
NAIC location and staff directory
I give great public talks on asteroids, the Arecibo Observatory, and other solar system exploration topics. If you need a speaker for your next event, please contact me.


CV (Feb. 2021)

Research Interests

Asteroid (near-Earth, main belt, Trojan) surface properties; shapes, sizes, spin states; comets; meteorites.
Polarization ratio versus absolute magnitude, as well as taxonomic class, of 299 near-Earth asteroids observed with planetary radar.

... though in the past I've worked on ices and the process of icing; asteroid-comet crossover objects; potentially-hazardous asteroid spectra; Pluto and its posse of Kuiper Belt objects; in situ exploration via spacecraft; mission design and management; rings; and moons in the outer solar system. There was a brief period where I worked on extragalactic radio jets. I even like isotope geochemistry on alternate Tuesdays. And I'd be pleased as punch to get into atmospheric work.

Quotes Astronomical

"No one in his proper senses can ascribe the slightest use to the existence of comets. For ages they have served no other conceivable "purpose" than to frighten people out of their wits." --Woolsey Teller

Night Vnto Night Showeth Knowledge

"Astronomy compels the soul to look upwards and leads us from this world to another." --Plato

"I know nothing of any certainty, but the sight of stars makes me dream." --Vincent van Gogh

"Research is formalized curiosity. It is poking and prying with a purpose. --Zora Neale Hurston

"An asteroid... now that's GOOD HONEST WORK." --Paul Schechter, fall 2008

"We can't stop here, this is adiabat country!"

Radar Jokes

Two antennae met on a roof, fell in love, and decided to get married.
The ceremony wasn't much, but the reception was great!

If they have too many little 'uns, at meal time they'll have to set up a feed line.