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Elisa Quintana

Elisa Quintana

     Scientist

LibertyCon 30 Science Guest of Honor (2017)

Dr. Elisa Quintana is an Astrophysicist at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center working on the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) Mission that will launch in 2018 to search for exoplanets around nearby stars. The goal of TESS is to find targets for the upcoming James Webb Space Telescope which will look for signs of life in exoplanet atmospheres. Dr. Quintana worked at NASA Ames Research Center and the SETI Institute for many years on the Kepler and K2 space missions to search for Earth-size planets around distant stars. In 2014 she led a team of astronomers to confirm Kepler-186f, the first Earth-sized planet found to orbit within the habitable zone of another star. Her interest in space research began when she was a student at UC, San Diego, where she was advised by former astronaut and physics professor Dr. Sally Ride. She received a Ph.D. in physics in 2004 from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. Dr. Quintana has participated in the discovery of hundreds of exoplanets using Kepler and K2 data, and her research focuses on studying planets in extreme environments (in multiple star systems, around red dwarfs) that were once only in the realm of science fiction.