Follow this link to skip to the main content
National Aeronautics and Space Administration vertical gray line
+ NASA Homepage
NASA's Mars Exploration Program
+ Mars Home
Zip Code Mars
Zip Code Mars Contribution
horizontal gray line

Photo of Barbara Cohen
   Barbara Cohen
   Research Asst. Professor
University of New Mexico
Albuquerque, New Mexico
United States Of America

Background Information
Dr. Barbara Cohen is a research professor at the University of New Mexico who uses laboratory techniques to investigate rocks from the Earth and other planetary bodies. Her research focuses on the geochemistry and geochronology (age dating) of terrestrial, lunar, and meteoritic samples to interpret planetary surface processes, including impact processing, aqueous alteration, and igneous magmatism.

Dr. Cohen earned her undergraduate degree in geology in her home state of New York, and her graduate work at the University of Arizona involved studying trapping of inert gases in ices, thermal modeling of aqueous alteration in asteroids, and petrology, chemistry, and age-dating of lunar meteorites. She was a postdoctoral associate at the University of Tennessee, the University of Hawaii, and the University of New Mexico before becoming research faculty in the Insitute of Meteoritics at the University of New Mexico.

Dr. Cohen searches out rocks that were created in impacts on planets’ surfaces and investigates their unique petrology, chemistry, and age to understand the early impact history of the inner solar system. The number and frequency of large impact events on the Earth and terrestrial planets has far-reaching astrobiological consequences, because bombarding asteroids certainly affected the biologic evolution of Earth and possibly Mars. She has studied impact rocks in lunar meteorites, Martian meteorites, Apollo and Luna samples, several kinds of meteorites from large asteroids, and in-situ Martian rocks through the eyes of the rovers.

Dr. Cohen serves on the Curation, Analysis, and Planning Team for Extraterrestrial Materials (CAPTEM) that oversees the use and archiving of samples returned from spacecraft missions, such as Apollo, Genesis, and Stardust. She was a member of the Antarctic Search for Meteorites (ANSMET) in 2003-04 to find pieces of other planets, and will return on the 2006-07 team. She is the Assistant Curator of the Meteorite Museum at the University of New Mexico and gives many public presentations about the Moon, Mars, and planetary exploration.

Contributions to Mars Exploration

content image for contributions section I'm an Athena science team member investigating impact crater formation and effects on Martian rocks, and unexpectedly enjoying several operational roles. [more contributions ...]
Personal Reflections

content image for personal reflections section Having a life outside of my career is essential to me. I love hiking and camping, especially in the Southwest. My job frequently takes me to international conferences and I feel privileged to be able to travel extensively and broaden my cultural horizons. [more personal reflections ...]