Headshot of Britney Schmidt

Britney Schmidt

Board of Directors of The Planetary Society; Associate Professor, Astronomy, Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, Cornell University

Britney Schmidt joined The Planetary Society’s Board of Directors in 2016. Her areas of expertise are planetary ices and the early solar system.

Dr. Britney Schmidt joined the faculty of the Astronomy and Earth & Atmospheric Sciences at Cornell University as an Associate Professor having spent the past nearly 8 years as a professor at the Georgia Institute of Technology. She and her team develop robotic tools and instruments and use spacecraft to study planets. Exploring Earth’s ice shelves and glaciers and the oceans beneath them, Schmidt’s team helps to capture the impacts of changing climate on the cryosphere, while understanding analogs for Ocean Worlds like Jupiter’s moon Europa.

She received a B.S. in Physics from the University of Arizona, and PhD in Geophysics and Space Physics from UCLA. Schmidt has a long history of NASA spacecraft involvement, including the Dawn and Europa Clipper missions and the Europa Lander and LUVOIR Space Telescope mission concepts. She has conducted seven field seasons in Antarctica and one in the Arctic leading large science and technology programs. Her team’s most recent projects have deployed the Icefin vehicle, built in her lab, to explore underneath the McMurdo and Ross Ice Shelf (NASA project RISE UP) and Thwaites Glacier, one of the fastest changing glaciers in Antarctica (NERC-NSF ITGC). She’ll be joining the symposium on the tail end of a campaign to explore ground ice and water in Pingos in the Arctic—analogs for features on Mars and asteroids that may represent future in situ water resources, which the team will explore with candidate instruments for future robotic lander and human exploration.

Britney’s hobbies outside of studying other worlds include heavy metal music, cats, horses, baseball, sports cars, and scuba diving.

Latest Planetary Radio Appearances

Life, the Universe and Britney Schmidt

Britney Schmidt is preparing us for the day when a submarine will slip into the seas of an ocean world like Europa to search for life.