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+ SG Home > Earth Science Division > Biospheric Science Branch Staff > Randall Berthold
Earth Science Directory: Staff
Randy Berthold

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Randy Berthold

MS: 245-4
Dr. Randall (Randy) Berthold has been exploring inner and outer space for over 30 years. His professional career has spanned various marine research programs, the development of life sciences experiments on the Space Shuttle and Space Station, and the implementation of new technologies utilizing Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS). His early experience as a commercial diver provided him with the skills he later applied as a marine technician, a diving safety officer, a NASA project manager and currently, as the Chief Diving Safety Officer for NASA’s Ames Research Center.

In the mid 1960s, Berthold developed a life long relationship with the ocean as the self-employed owner/operator of a commercial abalone farming business. Here, he developed an extensive knowledge of the California coast. He quickly expanded his skill base with marine salvage work, which included underwater construction and demolition. His reputation as a diver caught the attention of Dr. Wheeler North at the California Institute of Technology who hired Berthold as a marine technician at the Kerchoff Marine Lab (Corona del Mar, CA) to support the various responsibilities of a mariculture program. This national program demonstrated the feasibility of deriving energy from biomass by converting kelp into methane. In 1980, Berthold became the Program Diving Safety Officer for four field centers, Bamfield Marine Research Centre (Canada), UC Santa Barbara, the Intercoastal Marine Center, Catalina Island, and the Kerchoff Marine Lab.

In 1984, Berthold began his career at NASA Ames as a Project Manager and Chief of the Science Payloads Operation Branch. His branch managed the development and implementation of life science experiments that flew on the Space Shuttle, Mir, and Space Station. He played a key role in six shuttle spacelabs, 14 mid-decks, three spacelab missions, and a record 73-day mission on the International Space Station.

Currently, Berthold is serving as Chief Diving Safety Officer for NASA Ames and UAS Project Manager for the Biospheric Science Branch. Here his passion for all things over and under the ocean is continuing. He is supporting projects such as the Coral Reef Ocean Health Program in the Caribbean and the High Lakes Project. Additionally, he is continuing his "off terra firma" activities by integrating small UAS with remote sensing technologies to provide a new tool for first responders, fire fighters and border control agencies.

Berthold received a B.S. in Environmental Studies from the University of California, Santa Cruz, and a M.S. and Ph.D. in Systems Management from the University of Southern California.


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