Suzie Imber is an Associate Professor of Planetary Science at the University of Leicester. She specialises in studying space weather: understanding the impact of the solar wind on the magnetised planets, in particular the Earth and Mercury. Suzie is a Co-Investigator on the X-ray spectrometer on board the joint ESA/JAXA BepiColombo spacecraft, which launched in October 2018 and will arrive at Mercury in 2025.
Suzie was the winner of the recent BBC Two series entitled Astronauts: Do You Have What it Takes? during which twelve candidates were put through astronaut training with NASA astronaut Chris Hadfield. She endured challenges such as taking her own blood, speaking Russian while in a centrifuge at 5G and carrying out emergency procedures on the NASA undersea astronaut training facility, Aquarius.
She was recently selected for the 2019 intake of Homeward Bound, an international leadership programme designed to train 1000 women who will change the world, and will be heading for Antarctica with the programme in December 2020, bringing her knowledge of how satellite data may be used to monitor the delicate balance of our planet.
Suzie was an England under-21 lacrosse player, an elite rower, and is now a high-altitude mountaineer. She has written computer code to automatically identify mountains in South America and found hundreds of mountains that had never been identified before. She sets off annually to scale these incredibly remote, unclimbed mountains, exploring new regions of our planet and even discovering Incan ruins on the summits.
Finally, Suzie has launched a significant public engagement programme, having spoken with over 40,000 young people over the last two years, sharing her story of space science, mountaineering, resilience and risk, and her ultimate dream of becoming an astronaut.