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.