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Penelope Boston

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Penelope Boston


Penelope Boston httpsastrobiologynasagovuploadsfilerpublic

National Cave and Karst Research Institute

Alma mater
University of Colorado Boulder

University of Colorado Boulder

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Penelope J. Boston is a speleologist. She is associate director of the National Cave and Karst Research Institute in Carlsbad, New Mexico, and founder and director of the Cave and Karst Studies Program at New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology in Socorro. Among her research interests are geomicrobiology of caves and mines, extraterrestrial speleogenesis, and space exploration and astrobiology generally.


Penelope Boston NASA Astrobiology Institute

In the mid-1980s, Boston (then a graduate student at the University of Colorado Boulder) was one of the founders of the Mars Underground and helped organize a series of conferences called The Case for Mars. In March 2016 Boston was named the Director for NASA Astrobiology Institute. Her appointment is effective May 31, 2016.

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Penelope boston subsurface astrobiology cave habitat on earth mars and beyond


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She has a B.S. in microbiology, geology, and psychology, and a M.S. in microbiology and atmospheric chemistry. She completed her Ph.D. from University of Colorado Boulder in 1985. During 2002-2004, she was Principal Investigator on the Caves of Mars Project, which, among other things, studied the effects on mice of an atmosphere rich in argon, and "flat crops" that might be grown in Martian caves.

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She developed the concept of small jumping robots for Mars exploration. She gave a TEDtalk about the likelihood of life on Mars in 2006.

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Her interest is in extremophiles (organisms which prefer or thrive in the extremes of altitude, cold, darkness, dryness, heat, mineralized environments, pressure, radiation, vacuum, variability, or weightlessness) which may be found in caves and karst on Earth, and she thinks should be looked for in equivalents of other objects in space from asteroids to planets.

Penelope Boston Penelope Boston Subsurface Astrobiology Cave Habitat on Earth

An only child of theatrical parents, she writes poetry reflective of her world travel and uncommon specialty. In 2010 she was featured in Symphony of Science. She continues to work with NASA on the Atacama Field Expedition.


Penelope Boston Wikipedia

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