Ron Ballouz is an astrophysicist at the Lunar and Planetary Lab, University of Arizona. His main research areas of interest are asteroid collisional evolution, planetary surface processes, and planetary defense. His current work combines theory, computer simulations, and observational data to better understand the history of asteroids and moons that are the targets of sample return missions: OSIRIS-REx, Hayabusa2, and the future JAXA Phobos mission, MMX.
He received his B.S. in Astronomy & Astrophysics at Villanova University in Pennsylvania, and his PhD at Astronomy at the University of Maryland, College Park. For his PhD dissertation, he worked with Professor Derek C. Richardson on supercomputer simulations of collisional processes in the Solar System. Following his PhD, he worked at the Institute of Space and Astronautical Science (ISAS/JAXA) in Sagamihara, Japan. At ISAS, he led a study that showed that some regions of the Phobos surface are rapidly refreshed due to it’s eccentric orbit.
He was born in Davao City, Philippines and grew up in Beirut, Lebanon. He currently resides in Tucson, Arizona with his wife Kellie, their daughter Rosie, and their two French Bulldogs.