Gary Spiers has been an amateur astronomer for 20 years and is a member of the OldTown Sidewalk Astronomers, a group of astronomers based in Pasadena and Monrovia who are interested in sharing their interest with others. Like the other sidewalk astronomers, Gary shares his passion through public events across California including at Glacier Point in Yosemite, The Huntington Library and Gardens, Descanso Gardens, local schools and libraries, and at his favorite event the Mojave National Preserve Star Party.
Employed by the California Institute of Technology he works at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena where he specializes in active and passive optical remote sensing. He is the Principal Investigator for CO2LAS, an aircraft instrument that remotely measures atmospheric carbon dioxide using a laser absorption technique; is the lead for the ground optical support instrumentation for calibration and validation of the OCO-3 carbon dioxide measuring instrument due to launch to the International Space Station within 2 years, and is the instrument manager for CARBO, an aircraft demonstrator in early development for the next generation of space-based carbon dioxide measurements. He has also been known to work on laser communications for space vehicles and previously acted as the government expert during the development of the ISS docking sensor used by the SpaceX Dragon vehicle.