Rich Head Photo

Dr. Rich Terrile

Rich Terrile, Ph.D. is an astronomer and the director of the Center for Evolutionary Computation and Automated Design at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.  He uses techniques based on biological evolution and development to advance the fields of robotics and computer intelligence.  He has a Ph.D. in Planetary Science from the California Institute of Technology and has developed missions to Mars and to the outer solar system.  Dr. Terrile is the discoverer of four moons around Saturn, Uranus and Neptune and took the first pictures of another solar system around the nearby star Beta Pictoris.  His other interests include planetary rings, planetary geology, evolutionary computation and the development of medical instrumentation for tissue identification during neurosurgery.

Dr. Terrile is a private pilot, a SCUBA and ski instructor, a rock climber and caver, and was an astronaut candidate.  He has interests in fiction writing, photography, cinematography and movies, and works as a technical advisor on several major motion pictures, including work with Academy Award winning directors James Cameron and Steven Soderbergh.  Dr. Terrile was featured in several science shows and has been a regular performer at the Ice House and the Comedy Store in the “Improv Inferno” improvisation group.  The 2019 total solar eclipse will be his 8th.