National Aeronautics and Space Administration

Glenn Research Center

Christopher Stelter

Christopher John Stelter

Christopher John Stelter

Minnesota State University, Mankato
Mankato, MN
BS in Physics from Bethel University 2008
Pursuing Masters degree in Physics at MNSU 2014

NASA Academy Research Project:
Venus Exploration

Principal Investigators:
Dr. Geoffrey Landis and Anthony Colozza

Hometown: Saint Paul, MN


“Live life as if on a dare.” This is one of my favorite quotes, coined by my wife. Likewise, “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose.” This quote by the missionary Jim Elliot applies to those of us in the secular world as well. We are all mortal, a thought which may at first chill us but with perspective motivates and focuses us. Life is too short to live meaninglessly, too short to live joylessly, too short to live a safe life. Science in general and space exploration in particular are goals which transcend the rat race, transcend figuratively and literally all of life on Earth. Once gained, this knowledge cannot be easily lost, and it transcends our own selves, being shared with millions of scientists and billions of people the world over, not just at this point in history but with countless generations following. And once gained, this knowledge, while valuable for its own sake, can have profound impact on the lives of everyone in modern society and even all of life on Earth. So these are goals worth pursuing and spending our lives and fortunes to gain and will make a profound difference on the future of our species and life itself.


I completed my undergraduate degree in Physics at Bethel University in Minnesota. While there, I pursued research in optics, laser interferometry, fluid dynamics, and computer simulations. The summer after my freshmen year (which was also my senior year in highschool), I worked on computer simulations of the new Army personnel parachute as well as two dimensional fluid flow analogues to validate the code. Later, I studied holography, sonoluminescence, and interferometry. I was able to use all I learned to build a heterodyne differential intereferometer, take high-speed pictures, and computer simulations with colleagues to intensely study the processes of an expansion tube accelerator and shock tube, work for which we later were published in the American Journal of Physics. Throughout my undergraduate education, my focus was in applying what I learned in projects and research. After graduation, I entered the workforce as a computer data storage systems engineer in my family business, taught briefly a course in physics and strength of materials at a drafting school, participated in the embryonic stages of an aerospace startup company, and took a course in Space Physics at the University of Minnesota before being accepted into the graduate physics program with a graduate assistantship at Minnesota State University in Mankato.


I have a strong interest in space exploration which I suppose is currently where I spend much of my free time, as well as pursuing a hobby-level interest in macroeconomics, both interests having been sparked by my interest in science fiction and love of science. In fact, I decided in Kindergarten to become a scientist. I also have an enduring interest in loving my neighbor and often volunteer my Saturday nights to give out free food and winter clothing to passersby in the city of Minneapolis. I have traveled to Indonesia to help with development and preservation of local languages through building a local dictionary and literature of high moral stature. I love camping, sailing, hiking, caving, canoeing, and anything else that involves daring adventure. Exploring new places is in my blood.


My future plans are to finish my physics graduate education, ideally working for NASA or a private space company, building a family with my wife and future children, and eventually visiting space. I will use science and a mathematical understanding of the world and the economy to help other people.