Teaching & Research

There are things in the universe billions of years older than us…
They’re vast, timeless, and if they’re aware of us at all, it is as little more than ants…,
and we have as much chance of communicating with them as an ant has with us….
I am both terrified and reassured to know that there are still wonders in the universe,
that we have not yet explained everything…
– G’kar (Babylon 5)

US News and World Report Award for the Best Online Bachelor's Degree Programs for 2017 (given to OSU)


I teach The History of Outer Space and a Women’s History of Outer Space for the School of History, Philosophy, and Religion at Oregon State University through their award winning e-campus program.    This course explores humans interaction with outer space from ancient astronomy to current events.

Here is the teaser video for 452.   It will next be offered in Fall 2019.

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Below are the introduction videos for 451 and each week’s set of topics.

You can also look through the Summer 2016 syllabus for 451 here.
This course will next be offered in Summer 2019.

If you are interested in taking either course, contact OSU’s ecampus.

Latest News

Women’s History of Outer Space

RIP John Young – Hope you smuggled a corned beef with you!

The Great Kiwi Eclipse of 2017

Solar Eclipses & History Part 2: What a drag! Archilochus & the Ugaritic tablets

Solar Eclipses and History Part 1: The Sky’s Gone Out

Space & Science & Piano!

pubs / awards / teaching 

Recent Publications / Posters / Presentations

If I’m being honest, I am only moderately interested in academic research.   The enterprise is amazing – but for me, the joy is in teaching and interacting with students.    Nonetheless, over the years, I have been given the opportunity to assist many serious academics with research projects including:


  • Wild in the Willamette – Cartography consultant & contributing author.  Oregon State University Press, 2015
  • The Courtiers Anatomist: Animals and Humans in Louis XIV’s Paris by Anita Guerrini. Cartography consultant and graphic design. University of Chicago Press, 2015
  • The Emergence of Tropical Medicine in France by Michael A. Osborne. Cartography consultant and graphic design. University of Chicago Press, 2014
  • Confluences.    Interactive eBook Newsletter for the School of History, Philosophy, and Religion at Oregon State University.   Co-Authored by Courtney S. Campbell, Mina Carson, and Kara Ritzheimer.
  • R Peckyno. Lava Flow Morphology and Margin Analysis (LLAMA). Master’s Thesis, Oregon State University Department of Geosciences, 2010.
  • R Peckyno, S de Silva. R M Lopes. D Pieri.  LAMDA – The Lava Morphology Database: First Results and Interpretations  (POSTER) American Geophysical Union (AGU) Annual Meeting. December 2009, San Francisco, CA.
  • R Peckyno, S de Silva. LAMDA – The Lava Morphology Database: Concept and Call for Support (PRESENTATION), The Geological Society of America (GSA) Annual Meeting. October 2009, Portland, OR.
  • R M Lopes; ER Stofan; R Peckyno; et.al. Distribution and Interplay of Geologic Processes on Titan: Analysis Using Cassini Data. Icarus Volume 205, Issue 2, February 2010, Pages 540-558. doi:10.1016/j.icarus.2009.08.010.
  • R Peckyno, S de Silva.  Assessing the Impact of Data Resolution for Remote Sensing Based Models of Planetary Lava Flow Rheology. (POSTER) AGU Annual Meeting. December 2008, San Francisco, CA.
  • L C Wye, H A Zebker, R M Lopes, R Peckyno, A Le Gall, M A Janssen. Surface Parameters of Titan Feature Classes From Cassini RADAR Backscatter Measurements.(POSTER) AGU Annual Meeting. December 2008, San Francisco, CA.
  • R Peckyno, R M Lopes. Shaping Titan Update: GIS Mapping Saturn’s Largest Moon. (PRESENTATION) American Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing (ASPRS) Columbia River Region Technical Session. September 2008, Vancouver, WA.
  • R Peckyno, S de Silva. Lava Flow Margin Lobation As A Proxy For Rheology. (POSTER) International Association of Volcanology and Chemistry of the Earth’s Interior (IAVCEI) Annual Conference. August 2008, Reykjavik, Iceland.
  • R Peckyno.  The Sky is Falling: Disaster Mitigation, Management, and Media regarding the Asteroid Hazard.  Master’s Thesis, University of North Dakota Space Studies Department, 2004.
  • Kids to Space: A Space Traveler’s Guide – Contributing author. ISBN: 1894959426, Release 05/28/2006.
  • R Peckyno, DKR Robinson, R. Zelnio. The Committee on Lunar Exploration Advanced Robots and Satellites (CLEARS): A Working Model for the Alignment of Lunar Science Programs.(PRESENTATION) 55th International Astronautical Congress of the International Astronautical Federation (IAF), Vancouver, British Columbia, 10/2004. IAC.04.IAA.
  • R Peckyno.   Whiskey, Wire, and Steel: A Remote Sensing Perspective of Monessen, Pennsylvania Geography and History.   (PROJECT)   University of North Dakota.  05/2003.
  • R Peckyno, E Sadeh. Political And Policy Evolution Of Chinese Lunar Plans. (AAS 03-750) Proceedings of the International Lunar Conference 2003. International Lunar Exploration Working Group 5 – ILC2003 / ILEWG 5. ISBN 0-87703-513-X.

My current research interests include:

  • — A history of science focused exploration of ‘UFO Religions’ comparing religious mythologies with the existent planetary knowledge at the time of their formation
  • — An updated modern biography of Qian Xuesen, founder of both the Jet Propulsion Laboratory and ultimately China’s space program, using recently declassified material
  • — The science education impact of New Zealand’s nascent space program and a comparative look at the education/outreach efforts of commercial space businesses (e.g. Blue Origin, SpaceX, Virgin Galactic, Rocketlab, etc.)
  • — Gender differences in basic beliefs and knowledge regarding the history of outer space
  • — I am also working two children’s books:  One on basic volcanology and one on the women’s history of outer space


Awards / Grants / Etc.


  • 2015 Carolyn Maresh Professional Staff Award, College of Liberal Arts, Oregon State University
  • 2015 Philosophy Program Service Award, Oregon State University
  • 2015 Merit Award, Association of Office Professionals at Oregon State University
  • 2014 Vice Provost Award for Excellence in Program Support, Oregon State University
  • ASPRS Certified GIS Mapping Scientist #GS227P, 2012
  • Tower Geosciences Graduate Student Research Grant Recipient, 2009
  • Oregon NASA Space Grant Fellow, 2006-2010
  • President of the OSU Student Chapter of the American Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing (ASPRS), 2008-2009
  • 1 of 16 students nationally selected for the NASA Graduate Student “Coffee with the Administrator” Event, NASA Headquarters, Washington, DC, 2008
  • NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory Internship & Grant, Summer 2007
  • Geoscience Information Society (GSIS) Website of the Year (for Volcano World), 2005
  • Space Studies Graduate Student of the Year, University of North Dakota, 2003

Formal Teaching

One of the most rewarding jobs I’ve ever had.    Teaching is like time travel.   It is a profession that lets you genuinely touch the future and help to make it happen.

  • 2016-present, Oregon State University E-Campus, HSTS 451 – The History of Outer Space)
  • 2019-present, Oregon State University E-Campus, HSTS 452 – The Women’s History Outer Space 
  • 2010, Oregon State University, Geosciences 599 – Planetary Geology (TA)
  • 2009, Oregon State University, Geosciences 300 – Sustainability and Environmental Conservation
  • 2004-2006, University of North Dakota, Space Studies 200 – Introduction to Space Studies
  • 1999-2000, MicroAge Corporation, Amarillo, TX – Microsoft Windows and Office Corporate Trainer

Outreach Programs

I am always excited at the opportunity to talk about a space related topic.   I have a diverse set of presentations ready to go and am happy to customize a program for your needs.    Contact me if you would like to set up a program for your school/group/event.

  • the Fellow Lady Astronaut Trainees:  One Small Step for Women.    Apollo Festival, Evergreen Aviation Museum, McMinville, Oregon.   July 20, 2019.
  • Cassini-Huygens: This Is Your Life!   Wellington Astronomical Society.   Wellington, New Zealand.  September 16, 2017.
  • Shaping Titan: A Planetary Adventure Mystery.   Space and Science Festival.   Johnsonville, New Zealand.  May 6, 2017.
  • From Fyodorov to Korolev:  The Seeds of Gagarin’s Flight.  Yuri’s Night, Wellington New Zealand.   April 12, 2017.
  • The Soviet and Russian Space Programs.   Oregon State University.   Corvallis, OR.  May 20, 2015.
  • The History of Planetary Protection Policy.  Oregon State University. Corvallis, OR.  May 12, 2015.
  • The History of Extra-terrestrial Communication.  Oregon State University.  Corvallis, OR.   May 24, 2012.
  • Robotic Exploration of Our Solar System (and beyond!).  Tigard Public Library, Tigard, OR. October 01, 2011.
  • Space Stations – From Skylab to Space Hotels.   Tigard Public Library. Tigard, OR.  September 24, 2011.
  • The Sky is Falling: Hazards from Above.  Evergreen Aviation Museum.  McMinville, OR.  July 28, 2011.
  • Mutual Inspiration: Science and Science Fiction.   Univeristy of North Dakota,  Grand Forks, ND.  June 13, 2006.