Jennifer G. Blank

Astrobiology Research Scientist, Division of Space Sciences & Astrobiology, NASA Ames Research Center

Region:          Northern America

Field:              Engineering/ Technology; Communication

 

Profile:     Jen Blank is an Astrobiology Research Scientist within the Division of Space Sciences & Astrobiology at the NASA Ames Research Center in Silicon Valley. She is also a Senior Scientist with the Blue Marble Space Institute of Science and an Adjunct Professor at the Astrobiology Center of Excellence at Amity University in Mumbai, India.

Jen’s research has focused on water and rock chemistry, derived from volcanic rocks, that supports microbial life and the mineral biosignatures this life deposits.

Currently, Jen leads The NASA BRAILLE Project, a study of life in volcanic caves and a related series of robotic, planetary mission simulation activities. For the past 18 months, this effort has involved a collaboration with the NASA Jet Propulsion’s CoSTAR robotics team; the group has completed multiple deployments using Boston Dynamics Spot legged robots at Lava Beds National Monument in Northern California, practicing for a future mission to a Martian cave.

Jen has worked as a member of the Mars Curiosity Rover Science Team, planning science operations for the ChemCam laser instrument on Mars.

She holds undergraduate degrees in Geology and English from Stanford University, a Master of Science degree in Oceanography from the University of Washington, and a PhD in Geochemistry from Caltech.