NASA’s Rosetta Head Scientist Claudia Alexander dies aged 56

Claudia Alexander, one of the head scientists involved in the Rosetta mission, has died at the age of 56. Claudia was chief investigator in charge during NASA’s contribution to the ESA mission to a comet, and was recognized as a gifted scientist and a superb communicator.

Claudia enjoyed being challenged by the science results of the missions she worked on, being interestingly surprised by the water results from Rosetta’s instruments, which revealed that the water on comet 67P is not the same as the water on planet Earth.

Euronews producer Jeremy Wilks interviewed her during a Rosetta science working team meeting at ESA’s technology base in the Netherlands on 5 March 2015. Claudia had an amiable personality and a willing contributor to Euronews’ Space series. She had uncanny talent for clarifying the complexities of space dynamics and mysteries of the solar system in a language easily comprehended by all.

The brilliant scientist was born in Canada but raised in the US. She was an American research scientist specializing in geophysics and planetary science she worked for the United States Geological Survey and NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. She was the last project manager of NASA’s Galileo mission to Jupiter before working on Rosetta. She died of breast cancer in Arcadia, California. In addition to her scientific work, Alexander wrote science fiction and children’s books and enjoyed horseback riding.


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