Dr. Paul Abell is the Lead Scientist for Planetary Small Bodies assigned to the Astromaterials Research and Exploration Science Directorate at the NASA Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas. His main areas of interest are physical characterization of near-Earth objects (NEOs) via ground-based and spacecraft observations, examination of NEOs for future robotic and human exploration, and identification of potential resources within the NEO population for future resource utilization. Paul has been studying potentially hazardous asteroids and near-Earth objects for over 10 years and is a visiting astronomer at the NASA Infrared Telescope Facility at Mauna Kea Observatory, Hawaii. He was a telemetry officer for the Near-Earth Asteroid Rendezvous spacecraft Near-Infrared Spectrometer team and is a science team member on the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) Hayabusa near-Earth asteroid sample-return mission. Paul was also a member of the Hayabusa contingency recovery team and participated in the successful recovery of the spacecraft's sample return capsule, which returned to Woomera, Australia in June 2010.
Paul, his wife Amy Sisson, and their feline companions have lived in Houston, Texas since December 2003.