About Nina

Nina Lanza's face.
Credit: Minesh Bacrania

Dr. Nina Lanza is a staff scientist in Space Science and Applications (ISR-1) at Los Alamos National Laboratory. She is the Principal Investigator of the ChemCam instrument onboard the Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity rover and a science team member for the SuperCam instrument onboard the Mars 2020 Perseverance rover. Her current research focuses on understanding the origin and nature of manganese minerals on Mars and how they may serve as potential biosignatures. She is also studying how sound on Mars may help to identify rock coatings, which provide a record of the interaction between rock, atmosphere, water, soil, and potentially life. Dr. Lanza has authored over 80 peer-reviewed publications, including two first-author book chapters. Dr. Lanza has done geologic fieldwork in numerous locations across the world including the Miller Range, Antarctica; Devon and Axel Heiberg islands in the Canadian Arctic; Rio Tinto, Spain; Death Valley, CA; Black Point Lava Flow, AZ; Green River, UT; as well as many sites across New Mexico. Notably, she was a field team member for the Antarctic Search for Meteorites (ANSMET) project during the 2015 – 2016 season, for which she recovered meteorites from remote field locations in Antarctica. She is also a regular contributor on the television series How the Universe Works (The Science Channel). Dr. Lanza was educated at Smith College (AB), Wesleyan University (MA), and the University of New Mexico (PhD). She is thrilled to be living her childhood dream of working on a spaceship.

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