Machine Learning and Instrument Autonomy Group

     Jack Lightholder is a data scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. As a member of the Machine Learning and Instrument Autonomy Group, Jack supports a variety of missions in concept, development and operational phases. Currently Jack acts as a payload downlink lead on the engineering camera subsystem of the Mars Science Laboratory. Jack is also supporting instrument flight software development for the Near Earth Asteroid CubeSat mission.

     Previously, Jack lead the Dust Devils Microgravity Research Group, an astrophysics research group investigating the phenomenon of dust electrification and its relation to coagulation of dust particles. The group was awarded contracts through NASA’s Reduced Gravity office to conduct microgravity research flights to further study the phenomena. Jack has been involved with the Students for the Exploration and Development of Space (SEDS) since the beginning of his freshman year of college and previously acted as the vice chair of the national board and chaired the SpaceVision 2013 Conference.

     In his free time, Jack maintains a network of computers volunteering their collective computing power to research organizations around the world which work on computationally intensive problems with the help of this distributed supercomputing network.


Office: 158-256F

Mail Stop: 158-242
4800 Oak Grove Drive
Pasadena, CA 91109


Computer Science (BS) - Arizona State University

Research Interests

Mission Operations
Augmented Reality


Paper Icon Jack Lightholder, David Brown, and Steve Chien. Agile Science: A New Paradigm for Space Missions. Division 39 Autonomy Seminar. (Link to PDF slides) (CL#17-1392)

Jack Lightholder