Sally Blumenthal is looking for another Earth. She’s testing the instruments that will one day be used to find planets that look like our own; that (hopefully or not) serve as home to similar sorts of life forms.
Sally, as a former opera singer, is used to synthesizing different fields in pursuit of discovery. As a chemist, she brings a fresh approach to the field of astronomy. Currently a PhD student at the University of Exeter, Sally has given talks on planetary science throughout the US and is now entering the lecture circuit in the UK. She’s worked at NASA Godard characterizing planets in preparation for the launch of the James Webb Space Telescope. Specifically, she’s modeled how this telescope could observe disequilibrium chemistry in warm planets, working out the kinks in the instrumentation that will one day be used to find “another pale blue dot,” as Sally (and Carl Sagan) puts it.