Dr. Jessica U. Meir (US) was selected by NASA in 2013. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Biology from Brown University, a Master of Science in Space Studies from the International Space University, and a Doctorate in Marine Biology from Scripps Institution of Oceanography (UCSD). From 2000 to 2003, Dr. Meir worked for Lockheed Martin’s Human Research Facility, supporting human physiology research. During this time, she also participated in research flights on NASA’s reduced gravity aircraft and served as an aquanaut in an underwater habitat for NASA Extreme Environment Mission Operations (NEEMO). In 2016, Meir served as a crew member on the European Space Agency (ESA) CAVES space analog caving mission in Sardinia, Italy. Dr. Meir most recently served as flight engineer on the International Space Station for Expedition 61 and 62.
During her first spaceflight, Meir conducted the first three all-woman spacewalks with crewmate Christina Koch of NASA, totaling 21 hours and 44 minutes. The crew contributed to hundreds of experiments in biology, Earth science, human research, physical sciences and technology development. Among the investigations to which she contributed is a study co-led by a former colleague of hers, examining how human heart tissue functions in space. She spent 205 days in space, 3,280 orbits of Earth and a trip of 86.9 million miles.
For her Ph.D. research, Dr. Meir studied the diving physiology of marine mammals and birds, focusing on oxygen depletion in diving emperor penguins (Antarctic field research) and elephant seals (northern California). She investigated the high-flying bar-headed goose during her post-doctoral research at the University of British Columbia, training geese to fly in a wind tunnel while obtaining various physiological measurements in reduced oxygen conditions. In 2012, Dr. Meir accepted a position as Assistant Professor at the Harvard Medical School/Massachusetts General Hospital, where she continued her research on the physiology of animals in extreme environments. She also took part in Smithsonian Institution diving expeditions to the Antarctic and Belize, and has been very active with scientific outreach efforts.