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NASA Project Scientist for SOFIA astrophysicist at NASA in Silicon Valley

Guest Bio

Kimberly Ennico Smith is a NASA research astrophysicist, who loves exploration, learning, embracing inspiration and sharing authentic conversations (especially over a cup of tea) about the wonders that surround us and motivate us. She was born in and grew up in New Jersey, and studied physics at the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland. Funded as a British Marshall Scholar, Isaac Newton Scholar, AAUW American Fellow and Amelia Earhart Fellow, she obtained a PhD in astronomy from Cambridge University, Cambridge, England.

She is multidisciplinary in her approach to space instruments, telescopes and mission concepts. She has worked on infrared airborne and space telescope cameras and spectrometers, tested detectors in laboratories and particle accelerators, designed low-cost suborbital instruments, built lunar payloads, and most recently served as deputy Project Scientist leading the calibration of the New Horizons Pluto fly-by mission. She is excited to rejoin the SOFIA team as their Project Scientist.

She has written blog entries for NASA on numerous topics, actively participates in social media science communication venues, and enjoys giving school and public presentations about astronomy and space exploration, always advocating the need for a more diverse STEM community.

Kimberly will participate in NASA’s panel about the research for inhabiting Mars, including tracing evidence of liquid water on Mars, identifying mineral energy sources, detecting atomic oxygen in the Martian atmosphere and more.