Crew biographies, photos and mission patch
Crew Commander & Crew Astronomer
Mariona Badenas Agusti earned a degree in Astrophysics from Yale University, a master’s degree in Astrophysics, Cosmology, and High Energy Physics from the Autonomous University of Barcelona and the Institute for Space Studies of Catalonia, and is now pursuing a Ph.D. in Planetary Sciences at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). At MIT, she uses computational tools and observations from space telescopes to study stellar evolution and to discover and characterize exoplanets (planets in orbit outside the Solar System). In parallel, she spends much of her free time giving educational lectures on the universe and space exploration. Outside academia, she is very interested in the aerospace industry and is a member of the Space Generation Advisory Council and also of Women in Aerospace Europe.
Carla Conejo González
Crew Executive Officer & Crew Biologist
Carla Conejo González is the co-founder of Polaris, a science-travel app. She is also the former Head of Science Programs at the Fundació Catalunya La Pedrera. She earned a degree in Human Biology by the Pompeu Fabra University, a master’s degree in Pharmaceutical and Biotechnological Industry by the same university and a postgraduate’s degree in Science Communication by the University of Vic. She has done research in neurobiology at the Center for Genomic Regulation (CRG) in Barcelona, in Spain, and the University of Bologna, in Italy. She has worked as scientific advisor and documentalist in the TV3 program Quèquicom. She has also been a volunteer and Director of International Relations in MAGMA, Association for Promoting Youth Research, representative at the International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) in the USA, and Vice-President of the science diplomacy association Scientists Dating Forum. She combines her passion for science education and outreach with travelling to get to know this special planet that we have been lucky to inhabit.
Ariadna Farrés Basiana
Crew Scientist & Health and Safety Officer
Ariadna Farrés Basiana has a Ph.D. in Applied Mathematics by the University of Barcelona. Specialized in astrodynamics and celestial mechanics, she has devoted part of her scientific career to the study of the use of solar sail for missions in the Earth-Sun system. Currently she works with the Flight Dynamics team at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, as an expert on the impact solar radiation pressure has on Liberation point orbits, and studying how to minimize the cost of station-keeping maneuvers. Collaborating with the James Webb Space Telescope and Nancy Grace Roman Space Telescope.
Laia Ribas is a senior researcher at the Institute of Marine Sciences of the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC). She studied at the University Autonomous of Barcelona where she obtained her Ph.D. in biological sciences in 2006. She worked as a postdoc at the Imperial College of London, United Kingdom. She leads her own research team (Repro-Immune Team) to study the effects of the environmental factors on the sexual phenotype of fish, focusing on the interactions between the reproductive and the immune systems. She is interested in identifying molecular markers with the aim of improving aquaculture production. She is a member of SONET and participated in the awarded Nüwa project to design a city for 1 million people on Mars. She is committed to outreach by participating and leading projects, e.g. Sex in the Sea-ty.
Núria Jar is a freelance journalist, specialized in science and health. She currently collaborates with the radio program El Matí de Catalunya Ràdio, the public science news agency SINC and the magazine Muy Interesante. She also co-directs the 5W Magazine podcasts and coordinates the radio workshop for the Master’s Degree in Scientific, Medical and Environmental Communication at Pompeu Fabra University (UPF). With more than 10 years of experience in journalism, she has worked for the main Catalan and Spanish media outlets, such as El País, La Vanguardia and TV3, as well as international journals, such as Scientific American. She recently produced the audio series ‘The Coronavirus Scientists’, funded by COVID emergency funds for journalists from the National Geographic Society. Throughout her career, she has received numerous awards, such as the Concha García Campoy Award in the written press category for the report ‘Cuando el médico se convierte en paciente’, published in La Vanguardia. She has a Degree in Journalism from the Autonomous University of Barcelona and Master’s Degree in Scientific, Medical and Environmental Communication by UPF. She is also a member of the Catalan Association of Scientific Communication and the Spanish Association of Scientific Communication. She has also taken an active part in different editions of the World Conference of Science Journalists (WCSJ) in Seoul, South Korea, and Lausanne, Switzerland.
Neus Sabaté is an ICREA Professor at the Institute of Microelectronics of Barcelona and co-founder of Fuelium, a spin-off company that aims at developing and commercializing paper-based batteries for single use portable devices. Physicist by education, she has devoted her scientific career to the development of microsystems such as physical sensors and power sources. She is the leader of the Self-Powered Engineered Devices Group (SPEED) that focuses on the development of sustainable diagnostic devices that contain a minimal amount of electronic components and extract the energy required to perform the test from the sample under analysis. Her research has been granted by relevant institutions like the European Research Council or the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. She is highly motivated to take her research out of the lab and test it in real environments as a first step of a successful deployment of her inventions to society.
Crew Mission Specialist
Cesca Cufí Prat is an aerospace engineer specialized in space systems. She is graduated in Aerospace Engineering at Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya (UPC, Spain) and earned a master’s degree in Aerospace Engineering with a specialization in Space Systems at Institute Supérieur de l’Aeronautique et de l’Espace (ISAE Supaero, France). She has been working on the field of attitude and orbital control systems (AOCS) for the last three years in Airbus Defence and Space where her work is currently focused on high precision instruments for Earth observation.