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Martin Elvis

Center for Astrophysics
Senior Astrophysicist


I am an astronomer at the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory who has obsessed for years over how supermassive black holes come to be seen as quasars, sources so bright that we see them out to the greatest distances and earliest times in the universe. For my PhD I discovered that quasars emit X-rays. At SAO, using a fleet of space and ground based telescopes I mapped out the spectrum of quasars from X-rays to ultraviolet and infrared wavelengths, and suggested what their inner structures is. Concerned about the growing expense of space telescopes, I have turned to researching the astronomy needed to enable asteroid mining, hoping to cut those costs by putting capitalism to work in space. I have since published widely on issues related to asteroid mining and the space economy,law and ethics, and was honored to have Asteroid 9283 Martinelvis named after me. I am inordinately pleased to be the first professional astronomer to visit the Harvard Business School on business.

PhD, University of Leicester 1978