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Amy Mainzer is an American astrophysicist, specializing in astrophysical instrumentation and infrared astronomy. She is the deputy project scientist for the Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer and the principal investigator for the NEOWISE project to study minor planets and the Near Earth Object Surveyor space telescope mission.
Amy Mainzer's research focuses on understanding the populations of small bodies in our solar system, including characterizing their basic physical and dynamical properties and the potential impact hazards they may pose to Earth. Prof. Mainzer uses orbital and ground-based facilities for this work. She serves as the Principal Investigator for NASA's Near-Earth Object Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (NEOWISE) mission, an Earth-orbiting satellite that uses infrared sensors to characterize asteroids and comets. She is also leading NASA's Near-Earth Object (NEO) Surveyor mission, currently in development, which will carry out a comprehensive survey for the most potentially hazardous NEOs.
Mainzer has also embarked on new research to study the distribution of invasive weeds driving wildfires and causing loss of biodiversity using hyperspectral imaging, LiDAR, and field work. The aim of the project is to assist agencies charged with management to mitigate emerging invasions and optimize restoration plans.