NMGS Spring Meeting Keynote

New Mexico Underground: Spectacular Subsurface Systems for Interdisciplinary Science and Exploration

Dr. Penny Boston


Penny Boston
Penny Boston sampling actinobacterial colonies in the main passageway of Ft. Stanton.

Dr. Penelope Boston is currently the Associate Director for Science Development at NASA Ames Research Center (CA). She has over 40 years experience as an astrobiologist and geomicrobiologist, and 25+ years exploring the geomicrobiology and biomineralogy of caves. Boston has served as Director of the NASA Astrobiology Institute (2016-2020), Associate Director of National Cave and Karst Research Institute, Carlsbad, NM (2002-2016), Professor and then Chair of the Earth and Environmental Sciences Dept. at New MexicoTech, Socorro, NM (2002- 2016), etc. She holds the 2010 Science Achievement Award (National Speleological Society), Caving Legend Award (Ft. Stanton Cave Study Project), is a Fellow of the NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts Program (awarded 2000), and Fellow of the California Academy of Sciences (elected 2018).

Research areas include geomicrobiology and astrobiology in extreme environments (especially caves and mines, hot and cold deserts, high latitudes and altitudes); geological processes creating caves on other planets and moons; human life support issues in space and planetary environments; and use of robotics and other technologies to assist exploration and advance science in extreme Earth and extraterrestrial environments. Penny’s avocations include a wide variety of textile arts, writing poetry, computer art, gardening, and adoring all animals and plants.

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