The Professionals Playbook

Director of Earth and Space Exploration on Life outside of Earth, Overcoming a Gender Bias, and Meteorites--Dr. Meenakshi Wadhwa

November 12, 2019 Episode 30
The Professionals Playbook
Director of Earth and Space Exploration on Life outside of Earth, Overcoming a Gender Bias, and Meteorites--Dr. Meenakshi Wadhwa
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The Professionals Playbook
Director of Earth and Space Exploration on Life outside of Earth, Overcoming a Gender Bias, and Meteorites--Dr. Meenakshi Wadhwa
Nov 12, 2019 Episode 30
Justin "HASARD" Lee
My guest today is Dr. Meenakshi Wadhwa, a planetary scientist and currently the Director of the School of Earth and Space Exploration at ASU. She is a cosmic CSI detective investigating the origins of our solar system, primarily through meteorites.
Show Notes

My guest today is Dr. Meenakshi Wadhwa, a world-class planetary scientist and currently the Director of the School of Earth and Space Exploration at ASU. She is a cosmic CSI detective investigating the origins of our solar system, primarily through meteorites. 

She has been involved in a number of NASA planetary science missions, including Co-Investigator on the Genesis mission and as Collaborator on the Mars Science Laboratory mission.

She was also a member of the Planetary Protection Subcommittee (PPS) and was Chair of the NASA Curation and Analysis Planning Team for Extra-terrestrial Materials. Here's a brief highlight from our conversation today.

Meenakshi is a great teacher, especially with a complex subject like the origin of our universe. I also had a chance to interview her husband, former NASA astronaut Scott Parazynski, so make sure to listen to that episode after this one.  In our conversation, Meenakshi and I talk about how meteorites hold the secret to the formation of our solar system, whether she thinks we'll discover life outside of the earth, and some of the obstacles she's had to overcome in her career. Below are the show notes with associated timestamps:

  • Meteorites (min. 03:00)
  • Story from expedition (min. 07:00)
  • How earth formed (min. 11:00)
  • How we date the solar system (min. 14:30) 
  • Upcoming missions (min. 22:00)
  • Robots vs. people from a science perspective (min. 24:30)
  • Exoplanets (min. 29:00)
  • Where passion came from (min. 32:30)
  • Obstacles she's overcome (min. 38:00)
  • Traits she looks for in students (min. 39:40)
  • How she met Astronaut Scott Parazynski (min. 44:30)
  • Projects she's working on (min. 48:45)

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This episode was edited by Trevor Cabler

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