This week we have Dr. Jessie Christiansen (@aussiastronomer), a research scientist at the NASA Exoplanet Science Institute at Caltech, and Deputy Science Lead of the NASA Exoplanet Archive. She searches for, studies, and catalogs extrasolar planets — planets orbiting other stars. Her main research focuses on using the thousands of exoplanets found by the NASA Kepler and K2 missions to determine how common planets similar to the Earth might be throughout the Galaxy, and she is getting ready to do the same with the NASA TESS mission.
She is an avid science communicator, and is particularly engaged with reaching and elevating under-represented minorities in the sciences. When she is more engaged with this particular planet, she is chasing her twin 4-year-olds around, enjoying various sci-fi/fantasy fandoms, and is married to fellow astronomer @PFHopkins_Astro.
We asked Jessie a few questions about her work and herself!
Why did you end up in Science??
I love questions, and puzzles, and I love solving them even better!
And how does this feed into your work?
I get to explore the Galaxy and find new worlds.I search for planets around other stars, and then I try to work out how common they are. Ultimately it’s pushing towards the question – are we alone? The question of ‘Are we alone?’ must be one of humanity’s oldest questions. Now we have the technology to start answering it!
And your dream day off?
Curled up somewhere warm with a cup of tea and a good book. Then meet up with friends for dinner and a movie.
Please welcome Dr. Jessie Christiansen to RealScientists!