Dr. Lucas Paganini was appointed Deputy Program Executive for the Roman Space Telescope at NASA Headquarters in October 2022. Roman is NASA’s next-generation telescope that will explore the universe in infrared light to reveal the secrets of dark energy and dark matter and search for and image planets around other stars (aka. exoplanets). With expertise in science, engineering, and flight program management, he serves as the interface between NASA leadership and project managers to monitor project management and development of NASA’s flight missions.
Before joining the Astrophysics Division, Dr. Paganini served as the Program Scientist for the Juno mission (2021–2022) in Planetary Science, where he led the development of mission goals and requirements for its extended phase to study Jupiter and its moons Ganymede, Europa, and Io. In 2022, he also served as Program Scientist and acting Program Executive for the ESA-led JUpiter ICy moons Explorer (JUICE) to Ganymede and the Jupiter system, carrying three NASA-led instruments. From 2019 to 2022, Lucas was the Program Executive for NASA's Europa Lander, a concept robotic mission that would look for signs of life in the icy surface material of Jupiter's moon Europa.
While he was a research professor at Catholic University (2013–2019) and American University (2019–2022), Lucas was visiting faculty at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center. He served as the deputy project scientist for NASA's GHAPS, a balloon concept mission, in collaboration with NASA’s Glenn Research Center, Marshall Space Center, and the Wallops Flight Facility. He also led the international team that confirmed water vapor on the Jovian moon Europa using state-of-the-art Earth-based observatories. Before this, he worked for the Max Planck Institute in Germany (2004–2010), leading the construction of submillimeter-wave instruments for international missions developed in collaboration between ESA, NASA, and the German Space Agency (including Vesper, SOFIA, and the Europa Jupiter System Mission – now JUICE).
With over 1000 citations, he has written more than 30 scientific articles in refereed journals about planetary science and instrumentation. Dr. Paganini received his Ph.D. in Applied Physics (2008) from the University of Freiburg, Germany, and graduated with a master's in Electronics and Telecommunications Engineering (2003) from the University of Mendoza, Argentina.