Michaela Musilová Michaela Musilová’s primary interest is in extremophiles, organisms that live in extreme environments. Similar life could potentially be found on other planetary bodies, such as Mars and Jupiter’s moon Europa. Thus, they are very important for astrobiology – the study of life in the Universe.

Michaela first came across extremophiles at University College London (UCL), where she completed a BSc and an MSci Planetary Science degree with First Class Honours. Fueled by her interest for these extraordinary creatures, she wrote a proposal for her master’s project on this subject and received several scholarships from the university to complete it. Michaela was also able to study a wide variety of extreme organisms while studying at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) on a scholarship, as a competitively selected exchange student.

Pursuing the engaging topic of extremophiles and its implications for life on Mars, she applied for and was awarded the Summer Research Fellowship at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL).

Furthermore, to better understand the habitats of extremophiles, she prepared a project aiming to simulate lunar and planetary surfaces. Michaela received a Nuffield Foundation grant for this study and it was made part of a joint NASA/ESA MoonLite project collaboration. For more experience in space exploration research, she volunteered to search for and help identify extra-solar planets as part of an extracurricular research project at the University of London Observatory.

Michaela is currently working as a PhD research student at the University of Bristol. Originally from Slovakia, Michaela’s dream is to contribute to NASA’s and ESA’s search for life in the greater Universe.