Dr. Natalie Batalha is an astrophysicist at NASA Ames Research Center and the mission scientist for NASA’s Kepler Mission. She holds a bachelor’s degree in physics from the University of California, Berkeley, and a doctorate in astrophysics from the University of California, Santa Cruz. She was a professor of physics and astronomy at San Jose State University for ten years before joining the astrophysics branch of the space sciences division of NASA Ames Research Center.
Dr. Batalha started her career as a stellar spectroscopist studying young, sun-like stars. Inspired by the discoveries of new exoplanets, she joined the team at NASA Ames Research Center working with emerging technology for finding exoplanets. From the early days of the Kepler Mission, Dr. Batalha has helped detect and understand the planets harbored by distant stars. She led the analysis that yielded the discovery of Kepler-10b—the mission’s first confirmation of a rocky planet outside our solar system.
In 2011, Dr. Batalha was awarded a NASA Public Service Medal for work communicating Kepler science to the public and for outstanding leadership in coordinating the Kepler Science Team. In 2015, she joined the leadership team of NASA’s Nexus for Exoplanet System Science (NExSS)—an initiative dedicated to the search for evidence of life beyond our solar system.
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