Europlanet Impact Case Study #1: Barbara Cavalazzi – A Researcher’s Story
October 20, 2022

Europlanet Impact Case Study #1: Barbara Cavalazzi – A Researcher’s Story

Barbara Cavalazzi is a planetary geologist who studies life under extreme conditions. Her research focuses on the emergence of life on Earth, as well as astrobiology – finding out where life might evolve elsewhere in the Solar System.

Barbara first encountered Europlanet through the Transational Access (TA) programme in 2010, which supported her to visit the Hamar Laghdad carbonate mud mounds in Morocco, a Mars analogue for geological and exobiological studies.

As Europlanet looked to expand its suite of planetary analogue field sites, Barbara proposed the Dallol geothermal system in Ethiopia for characterisation as a new analogue for Mars. This characterisation was carried out as a Joint Research Activity in the Europlanet 2020 Research Infrastructure (RI) project, which was funded by the European Commission’s Horizon 2020 programme between 2015 and 2019, and the site was offered for Transnational Access from 2018 onwards. The Europlanet team, led by Barbara, published an overview in the journal Astrobiology highlighting the importance of Dallol as a field analogue for Mars and for astrobiological studies.

Barbara now leads the TA field site programme in Europlanet 2024 RI project (2020-2024), as well as the Global Collaboration and Integration Strategy and Global Ambassadors’ Programme.

She is committed to creating more research collaboration opportunities in Africa and for Africa, and is coordinating the Europlanet Workshop Series, which aims to inspire and encourage planetary science and space technology development across borders in developed and developing countries and across the spectrum of academia, industry and civil society. 

The programme “SPACE: Speaking Planet to Teachers Community in Ethiopia” was born in 2013 and was developed as part of the AlmaEngage project, with support from Europlanet 2020 RI. The objective has been to work with local communities, especially in rural areas, to create opportunities, for example by creating training courses for discovering the region in respect and harmony with local communities and their culture. The focus is on teacher training and the implementation of projects and courses in the school environment. Find out more:

Article in the Europlanet Magazine Issue 2

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