Louisa is an astrobiologist, geologist, and author at the Natural History Museum in London. As a UK Space Agency Research Fellow her job is to study some of the Earth’s most extreme environments and the life (both human and microbe) that lives or
once lived in them. She uses these sites as examples of the kind of places and types of life-forms we think might have once existed on Mars. She is also on the science team for the next European Space Agency Mars mission, the ExoMars 2020 rover
‘Rosalind Franklin’, which will drill into the crust of Mars searching for signatures of buried ancient life. Her other passion in life is writing, having written and contributed to four popular science books, with her own ‘Goldilocks and the Water
Bears – The Search for Life in the Universe’ published in 2016.
Have you got any plans for the year ahead?
In the next year, in July 2020, we will launch the Rosalind Franklin rover to Mars. My year up to that point will be full of preparations and training for rover operations. In addition to this I will be heading off on fieldwork to visit gypsum
caves in southern Spain and hopefully finishing my new book ‘Pioneers’.
What is your book about?
It will explore how the human race is surpassing its natural limitations to explore and inhabit the harshest of terrestrial environments in a bid to survive on Mars. It will reveal examples of the pioneers of the past and today are proving that
becoming a two-planet species is not just possible, it’s inevitable.
If you could only take one piece of Craghoppers kit on a trip with you, what would it be?
I love my KIWI PRO winter lined trousers. They are warm, completely waterproof, fit perfectly with room for some extra thermals underneath and are extremely easy to scramble over rocks in.
Do you have any top tips for survival to offer to our community?
As the Scouts say, be prepared. You can never be too over prepared for a trip. I always carry a penknife, a few extra protein bars, extra water, and a spare pair of thick socks (useful for so many things!)