Rasaly M. C. Lopes

Dr. Rosaly M. C. Lopes is a Principal Scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, where she is also Lead Scientist for Geophysics and Planetary Geosciences. Dr. Lopes was born and raised in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, where she grew up by the famous Ipanema Beach.  She moved to London, England, to study astronomy at the University of London, from where she graduated in 1978.  For her doctoral studies, she specialized in planetary geology and volcanology and completed her Ph. D. in Planetary Science in 1986. Her major research interests are in planetary and terrestrial geology and volcanology. During her Ph.D. she traveled extensively to active volcanoes, particularly Mount Etna in Sicily, and became a member of the U.K.’s Volcanic Eruption Surveillance Team. Dr. Lopes joined JPL as National Research Council Fellow in 1989 and, in 1991, became a member of the Galileo Flight Project, a mission to Jupiter. She was responsible for observations of Jupiter’s volcanic moon Io from 1996 to 2001, using Galileo’s Near-infrared mapping spectrometer. During this exciting period of her career, she discovered 71 active volcanoes on Io, for which she was honored in the 2006 edition of the Guinness Book of World Records as the discoverer of the most active volcanoes anywhere.

Born: 1957

Hometown: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil Education: Ph.D. in Planetary Geology

Occupation: Volcanologist and planetary scientist, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory

Expeditions: Mount Etna, Kilauea, Vesuvius, Santorini, Montserrat, many other volcanoes around the world

Favorite Place: On top of an active volcano

Best Discoveries: 71 new active volcanoes on Jupiter’s moon lo – it landed me in the Guinness Book of World Records for 2006

Favorite Items In The Field: Camera, hard-hat (to protect from small volcanic bombs), lots of water

Personal Hero: Astronomer Carl Sagan, for showing me the beauty of science

Hobbies: Scuba diving, traveling, hiking

Website: https://science.jpl.nasa.gov/people/lopes/

Advice: Success is not about where you are on the ladder, but how far up you have climbed.

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