Dr Jen Blank is an astrobiologist working at NASA in Silicon Valley, affiliated with the Blue Marble Space Institute of Science. Jen studies Mars analog environments on Earth and works with colleagues to characterize the interplay between minerals, fluids, and microbes.
She leads a NASA field project, BRAILLE, that involves robotic exploration of lava tubes to develop scenarios for science mission operations that may one day guide the search for signs of life on other planets – in caves. Jen is part of the Mars Curiosity rover science team and has operational experience in uplink and downlink science roles for the ChemCam instrument. Jen has scampered around hot springs, arc volcanics, and flood basalt plains on 6 continents, in gleeful respite from intense laboratory and theoretical work. Formal degrees include a BS/BA in Geology and English Literature from Stanford University, an MS in Oceanography from the University of Washington, and a PhD in geochemistry from Caltech.