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Rosalba in the field

Rosalba Bonaccorsi

Keen to achieve a broad picture of where life and its signatures are most successfully distributed, concentrated, preserved, and detected, Rosalba Bonaccorsi is an Environmental Scientist who has expanded her work to include environmental aspects of Planetary Protection.

Rosalba joined the SETI Institute in 2008, and believes "where" to go on a planet to find evidence of life will determine our chances of finding it. She is currently focusing on the potential habitability aspects of surface/near-surface mineral analog environments.

As an undergraduate, Rosalba held a variety of positions, including working on the ecology and ethology of marine mammals in the Mediterranean. She also worked as an elementary school teacher, a field naturalist guide providing environmental education, and a tutor for runaway teens. All of the above humbled her and gave her a perspective on life. In later years prior to graduation, Rosalba became more focused on marine geology, sedimentology and organic geochemistry as instruments to understand the changes that have occurred in old environments as recorded in sediments. As a result, she gained extensive experience (14-years+) in bulk organics analysis on literally any kind of sample.

Rosalba notes four key events that brought her closer to Astrobiology Science and where she is today. One was getting shortlisted for the Planetary Biology Internship (PBI), which inspired her quest, The second event was entering a Ph.D. program on the study of Antarctic sediments (Ross Sea). Third was sailing as scientist onboard the glorious JOIDES Resolution in Ocean Drilling Project (ODP). The fourth event was her involvement in the Mars Analog Research and Technology Experiment (MARTE) in Rio Tinto, Spain led by C. Stoker, NASA Ames. These experiences exposed Rosalba to a variety of shallow and deep subsurface environments and offered the invaluable exchange of knowledge with other scientists and rocket engineers.

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Editor: Linda Conrad
NASA Official: Liza Coe
Last Updated: July 2011