EPEC Profiles – Erica Luzzi
In this series from the EPEC Communication Working Group, we meet members of the Europlanet Early Career (EPEC) community and find out more about their experiences and aspirations.
Erica Luzzi is currently enrolled as PhD student at Jacobs University Bremen and her research project consists of geological mapping on Mars within the European PLANMAP consortium.
Part of her PhD project was also funded by ESA within the Analog1 experiment. The latter experience brought her on a field mission in Lanzarote (Canary Islands), where, together with ESA astronauts, a variety of experiments were performed to test tele-robotic future exploration of the Moon and Mars, remote sensing through UAVs, and other field analyses that the astronauts will perform in future missions of human exploration.
More recently, Erica took part in a further version of Analog1 in which the ESA astronaut Luca Parmitano was controlling a rover located on Earth from the International Space Station, testing future missions on the Moon, where a rover will be located on the Moon’s surface and the astronaut will drive it, sampling rocks, safely from orbit. In this experiment Erica was in the backroom and was part of the science team that suggested to the astronauts what samples to collect based on what they could see from the camera on board the rover.
Something that she really loves apart from her PhD, is her position as Teaching Assistant for the courses of Structural Geology and Sedimentology. This is her biggest dream: getting to pass the knowledge to younger generations in the same way her professors did with her. Caring, and also stimulating because learning has to be fun, has to be a nourishment for curiosity.
Recently, Erica won the Amelia Earhart Fellowship, a $10 000 award for women pursuing their PhD in Space Sciences, that will allow her to have a budget for field trips studying terrestrial analogues, for buying new equipment and for attending conferences.
In 2021 she will pursue her doctorate and will look for post-doc opportunities. Even though she is dreaming of coming back to her beloved country, Italy, she stays open to all possibilities and is ready to work hard to get a permanent position at a university where she will be able, one day, to teach and keep doing research on the Red Planet.
Last but not least, Erica is currently in charge of organising the next EPEC Annual Week, which was supposed to take place in Padova in June 2020 but, due to the Covid-19, has been postponed to 2021.
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