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The Vulcan South Team

The Vulcan South project is a collaboration of people from many organizations, universities, and industry. Much of the design and construction work was done at NASA Ames Research Center, in collaboration with team members who are affiliated with Ames and the SETI Institute.

Team Members

Picture of Doug Caldwell

Doug Caldwell, Principal Investigator, is responsible for the overall project and will lead the scientific analysis and interpretation. Dr. Caldwell has worked on extrasolar planet detection since 1998 and is currently with the SETI Institute and works on the Kepler and Vulcan Camera projects. Email Doug at

Picture of Kevin Martin

Kevin Martin, Project Manager, also serves as engineer, technician, electrician, and chief builder. Kevin has been with the project since it was first proposed as a technology demonstration in 1999. Email Kevin at

Picture of Fred Witteborn

Fred Witteborn, retired from Ames, now with Orbital Sciences Corporation, designed and oversees construction and testing of the photometer. Dr. Witteborn brings years of experience building instruments to the project. Email Fred at

Picture of Michael Ashley
UNSW and ANU combined logos graphic

Michael Ashley, CO-Investigator, leads the team comprised of Jessica Dempsey, Jessie Christiansen, Colin Bonner and others from the University of New South Wales and coordinates with Mark Jarnyk of the Australian National University. This group has made the project possible by donating a working telescope mount and providing years of experience with astronomy in Antarctica.

Picture of William Borucki

William Borucki, Co-Investigator, serves as a consultant and adviser on all aspects of the project. Dr. Borucki is the Principal Investigator of both the Kepler and Vulcan projects and brings years of photometry and extrasolar planet detection experience to the project. Email William at

Picture of Laurance Doyle

Laurance Doyle, CO-Investigator, will help plan the observations, carry out data analysis, and conduct follow-up observations. Dr. Doyle, of the SETI Institute is a cofounder of PlanetQuest a nonprofit organization dedicated to public education and participation in planet detection and related sciences on a global scale. He has also been doing extrasolar planet research since before they were discovered. Email Laurance at

Picture of Zoran Ninkov

Zoran Ninkov of the Center for Imaging Science at the Rochester Institute of Technology is a CO-Investigator and provided the large-format CCD camera for the Vulcan South photometer. Dr. Ninkov has been working with the Ames extrasolar planet detection projects since 1997.

Dana Hrubes, Raytheon Polar Services Winterover Technician, is an outstanding and continuously supportive member of the team. Without Dana, many things that were accomplished would not have been possible otherwise. Dana has winterovered at the pole two seasons in a row in support of our project as well as many others, and provides expert technical support and oversight.

Picture of Robert Showen

Robert Showen, Chief Engineer, is responsible for the overall system design and in particular the software for the data system, control system, and archive system. Dr. Showen has been with the project since its inception. Email Robert at

San Francisco Industrial Software logo graphic

San Francisco Industrial Software developed our system software and has gone above and beyond the call of duty in support of the project, including sending the president, Jason Dunham to the South Pole to support installation.


SETI logo

Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) Institute

NSF Office of Polar Programs logo

National Science Foundation (NSF), Office of Polar Programs

NASA-Ames logo

National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) - Ames Research Center


We have established several important collaborations that have helped us to build and deploy our system:

  • Our prototype project was sponsored by NASA Ames Director's Discretionary Funds (DDF).

  • Center for Astrophysical Research in Antarctica (CARA) (J. Carlstrom, S. Meyer, R. Pernic): has expertise and experience in all aspects of astronomy at the South Pole. They supported us on a test deployment in January and February 2001, covering all travel, infrastructure, and support expenses. Additionally, we are working with them to share winterover support as part of their astronomy work at the Pole. They will work with us as both scientific and logistical partners.

  • Ames (Codes FE, FEE, FM, FMX): have provided design, construction, and test expertise. We have received design and construction support for quick turnaround items for our photometer. We have also received considerable support and assistance in cold testing elements of the system. All of this support has been supplied with very rapid turnaround at little or no cost during our DDF prototype project, and during development of the final system.

Special Thanks to:

  • Mike Appio - Machining and construction

  • Dan Gundo - Miscellaneous design and fabrication

  • Sue Lehr and Lauren Milo at the SETI Institute for easing our endless procurements

  • Vast Manufacturing for their rapid and careful cable construction

  • Jerry Jaramillo and the other folks at Roper Scientific for their support in developing LabVIEW and Linux solutions for our CCD camera

  • Michelle Carbajal - Original Web Page Design and Support

  • Pat Martin - Revised Web Page Design and Support

  • Lynn Hofland - Emergency lens holder design (and Hank in the Machine Shop for fabrication)

  • Steve and Irene Thomas - Ice Crystal protection system and insulating blanket

Corporate Partners

San Francisco Industrial Software, Incorporated 
207 Powell Street, Suite 800
San Francisco, California 94102
415.743.9351 fax

Vast Manufacturing
811 Wakefield Dr.
Oakdale, CA 95361 USA



This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. 0126313. Any opinions, findings and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation (NSF). For questions or comments, please contact Doug Caldwell.