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Updated: 3/3/2020
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  • Zita Martins (born in 1979) is a Portuguese astrobiologist, and an Associate Professor at Instituto Superior Técnico.
  • In 2013, Zita Martins, working with colleagues from the University of Kent shot steel projectiles at ice samples, which simulated the composition of comets to find out if their impact is responsible for the production of complex organic molecules. The experiment found that the impact-shock of a comet produces a number of amino acids, which are the building blocks of proteins. This has implications for the origin of life on Earth but also potentially in the icy moons of Jupiter and Saturn.
  • Thank you!
  • She was awarded a PhD in 2007 for Chemical analysis of organic molecules in carbonaceous meteorites. While completing her PhD, she gave a talk which was led to an invitation to be an Invited Scientist at NASA.
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