French Lycée Chateaubriand (Rome, Italy); University College London (UCL); California Institute of Technology (Caltech); University of Bristol; International Space University (ISU)
BSc, MSci Planetary Sciences with First Class Honours (Distinction: Dean’s List); PhD in extremophiles with applications to astrobiology, environmental science and glaciology; Alumni of International Space University a.k.a. the “Space Mafia”
Martian analogue astronaut at the Mars Desert Research Station (MDRS); NASA research fellow at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL); Royal Society International Exchange researcher in Japan; seismology and earthquake hazard researcher for UCL, the University of Cambridge, University of Bristol and GEO Grid Research Group, Japan; UK Penetrator Consortium research assistant at UCL, funded by a Nuffield Foundation grant; researcher searching for extra-solar planets at the University of London Observatory (ULO)
I’m the senior advisor for space related research and technology, the international relations liaison and outreach officer
Mission Control Space Services Inc. & Slovak Organisation for Space Activities
Me and my work
I’m an astrobiologist, extremophile scientist and Martian analogue astronaut
My main interest in extremophiles – organisms that live in extreme environments – such as deserts, deep sea vents and glaciers. Similar life could be found on other planetary bodies, such as Mars, which is why extremophiles are very important for the search for extraterrestrial life – astrobiology.
My Typical Day
My “office” can range from being on the surface of a glacier, in a biochemistry laboratory at NASA to being on “Mars” :)
To collect extremophiles I take part in a lot of varied fieldwork around the world
Afterwards, the extreme organisms need to be studied and analysed in laboratories
I was also very fortunate to have been selected as a “marsonaut” to take part in a simulated Martian mission where I got to perform my research as if I was on the surface of Mars.
How would you describe yourself in 3 words?
What is your favourite space movie?
What is your favourite thing humans have sent into space?
musical instruments – apparently there’s a didgeridoo onboard the ISS :-)
What is the most fun thing you've done?
I live my life like it’s an adventure, so I’m not sure what the most fun thing that I’ve done is, as I’ve been fortunate enough to do a lot of fun/crazy things! Skydiving is probably one of my favourite fun activities :)
What did you want to be after you left school?
I always dreamt of becoming an astronaut and I’m still working hard towards that dream! :)
Were you ever in trouble at school?
What was your favourite subject at school?
history of art and geology
My favourite CHRISTMAS LECTURE memory is:
Tell us a Joke...