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A career studying rocks from other worlds …

jess

Dr Jessica Barnes graduated from St Andrews with a first-class BSc in Geosciences in 2011 and is now working for NASA on a project which will continue the scientific legacy of the Apollo missions.  We thought we would find out about what the project entails and how her time at the University of St Andrews contributed to her career. 

“I’m currently leading a team of researchers that has recently been selected by NASA to study Apollo Moon rocks brought back to Earth in 1972.  These have been carefully stored and left untouched for nearly 50 years, giving my team the opportunity to continue the scientific story of the Apollo missions.

Studying rocks from other worlds!
Studying rocks from other worlds!

“In Autumn 2019 I will also take up an Assistant Professorship in planetary sciences at the University of Arizona, where I will become part of the institutional science team that will study samples from asteroid Bennu when they are returned to Earth in 2023 by NASA’s OSIRIS-Rex mission.  In addition, I’ll be continuing my investigations in the micrometer-scale geochemistry of extraterrestrial bodies, including the Moon and Mars.

“Geosciences at St Andrews opened my eyes to the fascinating world of rocks around us.  I learned how to unravel Earth’s history from outcrops along the Fife coast to rocks under the microscope, and in the classroom I was trained to be a critical and independent thinker.  This experience prepared me for a career studying rocks from other worlds.”

Jessica on the Geosciences field trip to the Alps at the beginning of her fourth year at St Andrews
Jessica on the Geosciences field trip to the Alps at the beginning of her fourth year at St Andrews

The University of St Andrews is extremely proud of everything Jessica has achieved and of the impact her time in Fife has had upon her studies and career.  We wish her the best of luck with her current research and look forward to reading about her future discoveries.

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