15. Jessica Meir
Jessica Ulrika Meir has so many different scientific and academic experiences to she could account for the career of two or three different people. Yet, Meir is so accomplished that she’s done it all, and probably doesn’t need to take nearly as many maps as I do.
Along with Anne McClain, Christina Hammock Koch, and Nicole Aunapa Mann, Meir is part of the most recent group of astronauts, Astronaut Group 21. In fact, Astronaut Group 21, which consists of eight people total, is 50 percent women. Though none of them have yet to make it to space, they’ve all completed training and are eligible for future missions. Members of Astronaut Group 21 are likely to go on planned long-term missions to a near-Earth asteroid and Mars.
Meir attended the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, where she earned her PhD. She studied the diving physiology of emperor penguins and northern elephant seals. Part of her studies were completed at an Antarctic site called, delightfully, “Penguin Ranch”.
She’s also spent time as an aquanaut on a NASA underwater research laboratory, a member of the human research facility at the Johnson Space Center, which included supporting life science experiments carried out aboard the International Space Station.