meenakshi wadhwa

Dr. Wadhwa is a planetary scientist, academic leader, and educator who serves as the director of the School of Earth and Space Exploration at Arizona State University, where she is also appointed as Foundation and Regents Professor. Her research group is best known for developing novel methodologies to investigate the time scales of processes in the early Solar System. Other research areas include understanding the abundance and origin of water and other volatiles on rocky bodies in the Solar System.

Dr. Wadhwa has been involved in a number of NASA planetary science missions, including as co-investigator on the Genesis mission and as collaborator on the Mars Science Laboratory mission. She has taken part in expeditions of the Antarctic Search for Meteorites Program (ANSMET), for which she received the Antarctica Service Medal. She was President of the Meteoritical Society in 2019-2020 and chaired the Science Committee of the NASA Advisory Council 2018-2022. She was a member of both the Council’s Planetary Science Subcommittee and Planetary Protection Subcommittee, and was Chair of the NASA Curation and Analysis Planning Team for Extraterrestrial Materials (CAPTEM) analysis group. She also served as a member of the National Academy of Sciences’ Space Studies Board and its Executive Committee.

She is a recipient of the Fulbright-Nehru Academic and Professional Excellence Award, the Guggenheim Fellowship, and the Nier Prize. She was awarded an American Council on Education Fellowship (2018-2019) and became a Fellow of the American Geophysical Union in 2019. She became a Geochemistry Fellow of the Geochemical Society and the European Association of Geochemistry and was awarded the J. Lawrence Smith Medal of the National Academy of Sciences in 2021. She was elected as a member of the National Academy of Sciences in 2023. She is a member of the SETI Institute’s Science Advisory Board. In recognition of her contributions to planetary science, Asteroid 8356 was named 8356 Wadhwa by the International Astronomical Union.


Born: 1967

Hometown: Chandigarh, India Education: Ph.D. in Earth and Planetary Sciences

Occupation: Planetary scientist

Expeditions: Hunting for meteorites in Antarctica

Favorite Place: At home

Best Discoveries: Formation age of the Solar System and the earliest planetesimals

Favorite Item in the Field: A 10X hand lens

Personal Hero: Ernest Shackleton

Hobbies: Flying, scuba diving, hiking


Advice: Follow your interests and success will follow.