Nina Lanza

Planetary Scientist and Mars Geologist

Dr. Nina Lanza is a planetary scientist at Los Alamos National Laboratory, where she is the Team Lead for Space and Planetary Exploration in the Space Remote Sensing and Data Science group (ISR-6). She is the Principal Investigator of the ChemCam instrument onboard the Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity rover and a science team member for the SuperCam instrument onboard the Mars 2020 Perseverance rover. Her research focuses on understanding the origin and nature of manganese minerals on Mars and their potential as biosignatures. She is also studying how sound on Mars may help to identify rock coatings, which provide a record of the interaction between rock, atmosphere, water, soil, and potentially life. Dr. Lanza is frequently seen on television, notably as a regular contributor on the series How the Universe Works (Discovery). Dr. Lanza was educated at Smith College (AB), Wesleyan University (MA), and the University of New Mexico (PhD). She is thrilled to be living her childhood dream of working on a spaceship.