Planetary Scientist Gets Her PhD At 31 Years Old And Continues To Make History At NASA

Lindy Elkins-Tanton, a planetary scientist, has made history at NASA as the principal investigator for Psyche, its first-ever mission to explore a metal-rich asteroid.

The asteroid is orbiting out towards Mars and Jupiter and is thought to be made of mostly metal. Lindy and her team hope the metal asteroid will help them learn more about how Earth and the other planets were formed.

They’ve already had 2,000 people work on the Psyche mission and over 1,500 students be involved, before they’ve even launched yet.

Photo: YouTube/TODAY

With this mission, Lindy is only the second woman to be awarded a major NASA contract,

After Lindy finished her undergrad, she worked as a management consultant and had a business of her own writing business plans.

But after a while, Lindy grew bored in her career and wanted to do something that would always challenge her.

Photo: YouTube/TODAY

That’s what got her back into the science field, and she ended up pursuing her PhD at 31 years old, proving that it’s never too late to follow your dreams.

By 2008, she was leading her first exploratory team into Siberia, and started working on the Psyche proposal soon after.

Sadly, her work was put on hold when she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer, but she never gave up on her dreams. Despite her chemotherapy, Lindy was determined to continue.

Photo: YouTube/TODAY

“It was the excitement and the driving of the work that I was doing, and I felt like I could not give up,” she told TODAY.

Thankfully Lindy has since been in remission from her cancer and has continued pursuing her dreams.

She has since written a memoir sharing her story titled: “A Portrait of the Scientist As a Young Woman.”

Hear more of her inspiring story in the video below:

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