Amity Astrobiology Team
Dr. Siddharth Pandey
Head and Research Scientist
Dr Siddharth Pandey is the Head of Amity Space Centre and the Centre of Excellence in Astrobiology at Amity University India. As a part of this, he is leading an initiative to establish India's first centre that will work towards studying the origins and distribution of life in the Universe. Prior to this, he has experience in building sample collection instruments for Mars and Venus surface missions while working at NASA Ames, USA. He received the NASA Spaceflight Awareness Team Award and NASA Ames Technology Transfer Award for two successful spaceflight experiments onboard the International Space Station and co-owns a registered NASA patent. Siddharth has led international expeditions to explore extreme environments in Ladakh and Lonar crater, Maharashtra as sites to test experiments and systems for Mars exploration. He is a Director with the Mars Society Australia and is actively involved in planning analogue field projects in India and Australia. He has been engaged in education and public outreach activities and is motivated to use Space as a tool to spread awareness, social consciousness and inclusiveness within our communities. He holds MS in Space Systems Engineering from TU Delft, Netherlands and BTech in Aerospace Engineering from Amity University, India.
Dr. Jonathan Clarke
Jon is a general practitioner in geology. He started out life as a palaeontologist, doing honours in Silurian palaeoecology at the University of Tasmania. He then became an exploration geologist in South Australia, looking for Permian coal and Cambrian oil and sodium carbonate salts. That was followed by a Ph.D. at Flinders University in Adelaide on the deposition and diagenesis of Cambrian limestones, including fossil sponge-microbe reefs. After six months in marine surveys of the Great Australian Bight for the federal government, he joined a resource company and spent the next decade in exploration. This included looking for gold and nickel near Kamblada Western Australia, copper, gold, and zinc exploration in Queensland and South Australia, copper and gold exploration in the Philippines, Chile and South Australia, and gold in Victoria. He then taught geology at the Australian National University for several years before joining the federal government at Geoscience Australia working in salinity management in Queensland, Victoria, South Australia, and NSW, groundwater exploration in NSW, and precompetitive mineral exploration in Victoria, as well as taking part in a review of rare earth, lithium, and potash potential in Australian salt lakes. Jon has been interested in Mars since he was about ten years old, before people even walked on the Moon. Since finding out about Mars Society Australia in 2001, he has taken part in six expeditions to inland Australia, one to New Zealand, one to India, and three Mars Desert Research Station (MDRS) rotations. His Martian interests include Martian geology and geomorphology and their terrestrial analogues, astrobiology, exploration technologies (especially habitats, vehicles, and suits), mission architectures, and human factors. He currently serves as president of MSA, is on the Mars Society International Steering Committee, and is director of science at MDRS.
Dr. Jennifer Blank
Dr. Blank/Jen is an astrobiologist with a horse. She’s affiliated with the ChemCam instrument on the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) Science Team, teasing out the mineral and inferred fluid history of the martian terrain explored by Curiosity. Jen studied geochemistry in graduate school, building devices to characterize the behavior of magmatic gases in lavas the size of a fingernail. She’s also used large guns to simulate impacts of comets hitting the Earth, demonstrating that small organic compounds can be delivered to terrestrial planets and even form larger polymers in the process. Close to home, she works with microbiologists at a field site with alkaline spring waters and unusual biomineralized pavement, a proto-dolomite cement that could be an analog for biomarkers on other planets.
Ms. Annalea Beattie
Adjunct Researcher and Artist
Annalea Beattie is an artist and educator who lives and works in Melbourne. Through an art practice based in space science, her research considers how art might activate isolated communities living in extreme environments, contributing to social cohesion, performance, and quality of life. Annalea is National Secretary and an Executive Director of the Mars Society Australia, a past member of Crew 118 at the Mars Desert Research Station and a participant in Spaceward Bound New Zealand 2015 and a recent crew member of Spaceward Bound Ladakh. She has contributed to three Springer volumes that explore the challenges for humans living in frontier societies off-Earth and is currently studying a Ph.D. in nonfiction at RMIT University.