Dr. Anita Sengupta is a rocket scientist and aerospace engineer who for over a decade 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 in 2012. Most recently she led the development of the Cold Atom Laboratory, a laser-cooling quantum physics facility for the International Space Station which will create the coldest spot in the known universe in 2017. Her next venture is leading a new generation of technologies for 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 teaches spacecraft, entry, and landing system design for planetary exploration. In her spare time she is an avid pilot, motorcyclist, scuba diver, snowboarder, runner, public speaker, and science fiction fan.