Dr. Marc Hairston

Marc Hairston


  • space weather and solar activity
  • satellites, space debris, collisions in space
  • astronomy
  • NASA and space program history
  • scientific visualization of space science data
  • scientific education and public outreach
  • aurora (the northern and southern lights)
  • the Earth's ionosphere and magnetosphere 
  • anime (Japanese animation) and manga (Japanese comics)


Katherine Morales

Expert at a Glance

Marc Hairston, Ph.D. School of Natural Sciences and Mathematics

Research Scientist

William B. Hanson Center for Space Sciences

Dr. Marc Hairston is a space scientist who researches “space weather” using the “Coupled Ion Neutral Dynamics Investigation (CINDI),” a satellite that studies how neutral gas motions and charge particle motions are related. The five-year, $10 million project is jointly sponsored by NASA and the U.S. Air Force. CINDI is helping to explain how disturbances in the ionosphere disrupt critically important GPS navigation and other aspects of modern life. Hairston is an expert on satellites and astronomy and has commented in media interviews on space debris, a major satellite collision, and on sunspots and solar activity.

He has worked for more than 20 years analyzing plasma data from the Air Force’s polar orbiting weather satellite series DMSP.  The William B. Hanson Center for Space Sciences at UT Dallas built the plasma instruments that have flown on these spacecraft since 1986. 

A passionate advocate of public outreach and educational enhancement, Hairston teamed with Dr. Mary Urquhart to create “Cindi in Space,” a comic book story of an android space girl and her two dogs.  The comic is targeted for students in grades six through nine but has proven popular with all age groups.  Hairston and Urquhart have developed a set of science materials for middle school and high school science teachers, based on the CINDI mission.

Hairston is also interested in the scholarly study of anime (Japanese animation) and manga (Japanese comics) and is on the board of editors of Mechademia, the first English-language academic journal about anime and manga.

Hairston received his Ph.D. in space physics and astronomy from Rice University.

Updated: June 15, 2009