Elisa Quintana

Astrophysicist | NASA Goddard Space Flight Center



Dr. Elisa Quintana is an Astrophysicist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center. She is the Principal Investigator of the Pandora SmallSat mission which seeks to characterize the atmospheres of planets orbiting distant stars, with a focus on measuring star spots and their impact on exoplanet atmosphere measurements. Dr. Quintana has been working on discovering planets around other stars since she joined the Kepler Mission at NASA Ames Research Center in 2006. She also builds computer models to study how planets form in extreme environments. She is best known for leading a team of astronomers to confirm Kepler-186f, the first Earth-sized planet found to orbit another star in a region that could potentially host extraterrestrial life. Quintana received a Ph.D. in Physics from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, in 2004, and joined Goddard in 2017. She was named Scientist of the Year in 2015 at the Hispanic Engineer National Achievement Awards Conference (HENAAC), and in 2020 received the Equal Employment Opportunity Medal from NASA for her work on DEIA at Goddard.


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