Marianne J. Dyson

Marianne Dyson

Marianne Dyson.
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Hi! Let me introduce myself... I'm a children's author, science fiction writer, technical editor, and former NASA flight controller with a degree in physics who has always been infatuated with space and astronomy (and cats!). I live in Houston where I enjoy life with my pilot husband (and cats!).

Short bio for promotional use

Marianne Dyson was one of NASA's first female flight controllers, the subject of her Space Shuttle memoir, A Passion for Space. She's a speaker on space topics for adults and children, a technical editor, science fiction writer, and book reviewer. She is best known for her award-winning children’s books about space, including the NSTA 2016 Outstanding Trade Book Welcome to Mars which she coauthored with Apollo 11’s Buzz Aldrin for National Geographic. Her next book with Aldrin, To the Moon and Back, will be published by NatGeo in the Fall of 2018.

Expanded bio (but MUCH shorter than the Book!)

I became interested in space through observing the stars, following the Apollo missions to the Moon, and reading science fiction (Robert Heinlein's books were my favorite).

I grew up in Canton, Ohio, graduated from Glenwood High School, and then went off to college planning to become an astronomer. (This was in the 70's — there were no female astronauts back then!) I went to Ohio University my freshman year, and then transferred to the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. I graduated cum laude with a degree in physics. That summer I served as a Congressional Intern in Washington, DC, and learned how important it is to participate in our democracy.

I came to Texas to attend graduate school at Rice University in space physics and astronomy. After one year, I went to work for CSC, then NASA, and was fortunate to become one of NASA's first female flight controllers. (I was a Flight Activities Officer, or FAO for short.) I worked the first five space shuttle flights.

I left NASA to raise my children. I continued working part-time as an aerospace consultant for Hernandez Engineering, and began sharing my passion for space through writing nonfiction, poetry, and science fiction for both adults and children. My first poem was published in Redbook, first activity in Highlights, and my first science fiction in Analog. I became a frequent contributor for Odyssey and Ad Astra magazines, and the Publications Coordinator for the Rotary National Award for Space Achievement (through 2013).

I'm currently self employed as a writer and speaker on space topics.


See my BIBLIOGRAPHY for complete list & links.

My first book, Space Station Science won the Golden Kite Award from the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators for best nonfiction book of 1999. The second edition is available in paperback from Windward Publishing. My second book, Homework Help on the Internet was published in August, 2000. I wrote the cover story for Girls to the Rescue #7 (Meadowbrook Press 2000), which was reprinted in Girls Save the Day. Home on the Moon (National Geographic 2003) won the 2004 American Institute of Physics Science Writing Award in the children's category. I wrote The Space Explorer's Guide to Stars & Galaxies as book 8 of Scholastic's Space University series. Two of my Christian science fiction stories were in Eat My Martian Dust that came out from Baker in March 2005 (my stories reprinted on Kindle).

In 2006, I wrote "Martian Mice" for 4Frontiers, now available in the Callahan Kids: Tales of Life on Mars anthology. Space and Astronomy: Decade by Decade, a historical reference, was published by Facts On File (now InfoBase) in 2007. I served as assignments editor for Ad Astra, the magazine of the National Space Society in 2008, and served as a National Geographic Explorer in 2009 for a physics series dubbed Push and Pull. My first novelette was published in the July/August 2010 issue of Analog magazine and was reprinted in their anthology and is the cover story for my collection Fly Me to the Moon.

My latest books are Welcome to Mars: Making a Home on the Red Planet, coauthored with Buzz Aldrin for National Geographic (2015); and A Passion for Space: Adventures of a Pioneering Female NASA Flight Controller, a space shuttle memoir from Springer (2015). My next book To the Moon and Back, is a pop-up celebrating the 50th anniversary of Apollo. Coauthored with Buzz Aldrin and paper engineer Bruce Foster, it will be available from NatGeo in the Fall of 2018.


I'm a member of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators and highly recommend aspiring children's writers join this group.

I review books for the National Space Society and serve on their Board of Advisors and Publications Committee. I also serve on the Board of Advisors for the Moon Society. I'm on the board of the local combined chapter of both. I'm a member of the Johnson Space Center Chapter of the NASA Alumni League, an organization for former NASA employees, and the Planetary Society.

Marianne Dyson photo.
Kuk Sool 2nd Dahn (2010)

As a member of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, I recommend stories and books for the Nebula and Norton awards. I can neither confirm nor deny what I do as a member of SIGMA!

I am a member of Sigma Pi Sigma (the Society of Physics Students) and a Presbyterian Deacon. I am a retired Precinct Chairman, but still sometimes serve as an election clerk or judge and work to educate voters and politicians about aerospace issues.

I am a retired 2nd-degree black belt (called a Kyo Sa Nim) in the Korean Martial Art of KuK Sool. Korean friends, note that my first book, Space Station Science is available in Korean.

One of my hobbies is taking photos of flowers which I turn into calendars for family and friends.

Download a one-page Word document version of my author profile: About Author Flier.

Affiliation Links

Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators

Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America

SIGMA, science fiction thinktank

National Space Society's Reading Space

Moon Society

Clear Lake NSS/Moon Society Chapter

NASA Alumni League

Planetary Society

Rotary National Award for Space Achievement Foundation

Martial Art of Kuk Sool Won


Marianne Dyson at home with cats.
Maia (top) & Pumpkin (beside) with Marianne
I still dream about kangaroo hopping on the dusty Moon and rock climbing in Nirgal Vallis on Mars (with cats!). I have not been in space, but my husband is a pilot, and we enjoy flying our Cessna 182. I experienced weightlessness first-hand on NASA's infamous "Vomit Comet." (Yes, it is aptly named!) I hope that through my writing and speaking and political participation, I can encourage others to join me in overcoming the challenges that remain to building human settlements on the space frontier.

Space Enthusiast

See Photo Archive for more photos.

Am I immortal now? See my Wikipedia page!

Hanging out with my famous coauthor, Buzz Aldrin in 2018
Hanging out with my famous coauthor, Buzz Aldrin, in Houston in 2018.

Marianne tests out a space suit at Comicpalooza, May, 2015
Me in an overlarge space suit at Comicpalooza, May, 2015.

Marianne & Ted Dyson at Endeavour visit to Houston 9-9-12.
My husband Ted & I admired Space Shuttle Endevour on its stop in Houston, Sept. 2012.

Marianne Dyson photo.
If I close my eyes, I can imagine that our Cessna is actually a spaceship.
Marianne Dyson photo.
I love the sky!

Ohio Roots

Marianne Dyson photo.
I was born in Canton, home to the Football Hall of Fame.
Marianne Dyson photo.
I lived with my mom, dad, and brothers.
Marianne Dyson photo.
and cats!
Marianne Dyson photo.
I dreamed of being a famous actress.
Marianne Dyson photo.
My 7th grade science teacher, Mr. Brady, didn't laugh when I said I wanted to go work for NASA.

Cat Lady

Maia Kitten Ready to Write.
Maia Kitten wonders if she can be a writer, too?

Marianne Dyson photo.
The cats dream of floating in space.
Marianne Dyson photo.
Pumpkin started a story, but got distracted.
Marianne Dyson photo.
Maia reminds me what I will accomplish if I am NOT in my chair writing.
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