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Contact: Dr. Susan Niebur                                                                                      


Women in planetary science today work on spacecraft missions that explore the planets from Mercury to Pluto, plan exciting comet encounters, and discover new planetary systems around other stars.  To celebrate their achievements, we have recently created a serial feature called “51 Women in Planetary Science” that features interviews with two women working in planetary science each week.  The project reaches its halfway point on Friday, October 1, with the publication of the 25th woman in the series. 

Featured scientists are solid researchers in their field; each profile begins with reference to a recent peer-reviewed publication or mission link for further investigation.  A dozen scientists were selected due to their integral roles on NASA missions as deputy Project Scientists, Co-Investigators, Participating Scientists, and science team associates.  Additional scientists were invited as they published in the peer-reviewed journals or were nominated by their peers; these women are also mentors and active in their community, serving on NASA working groups, peer review panels, steering groups, and the National Academy of Sciences’ National Research Council decadal surveys.  In the interviews, each scientist discusses her unique career path and reflects on advice for students or postdoctoral fellows interested in a career in planetary science.

The Women in Planetary Science e-mentoring initiative was created to bring woman scientist role models to high school, undergraduate, and graduate students who may never have met a woman in the field, but who aspire to one day work for NASA or on missions to study the planets, the stars, and the incredible phenomena in our solar system.  The interviews are published on a web site that is open to all, and everyone – male or female – is welcome to participate in this respectful atmosphere that celebrates our passions, our differences, and our commitment to furthering the understanding of our solar system and other planetary systems. 

The web address for the “51 Women” project is

This work was produced under contract to NASA as an outreach supplement to Contract NNH08CC65C in the program The History of Scientific Exploration of Earth and Space.


For more information about the “51 Women” project, or for other information about the Women in Planetary Science, please contact Susan Niebur at

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