Dr. Anita Sengupta is a rocket scientist and aerospace engineer who for the past 18 years has been developing spacecraft technologies that have enabled the exploration of Mars, Asteroids, and deep space. She started her career working on the launch vehicles and communications satellites. Her doctoral research focused the developing the ion engines that powered the Dawn spacecraft to reach Vesta and Ceres in the main asteroid belt. She was then responsible for the supersonic parachute system that was integral to the landing of the Curiosity Rover on Mars. She most recently led the development of the Cold Atom Laboratory, a laser-cooling quantum physics facility to be launched in 2017 to the International Space Station to create the coldest spot in the known universe. She is now focusing on the next generation of technologies and missions to explore the origins of the cosmos and search for habitable worlds outside of our solar system.
Dr. Sengupta received her MS and PhD in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Southern California, where she is a Research professor teaching the next generation about spacecraft, entry, and landing system design for planetary exploration. In her spare time she is an avid pilot, motorcyclist, scuba diver, runner, and science fiction fan.