Monica Mary GradyCBE (born 1958) is a leading British space scientist, primarily known for her work on meteorites. She is currently Professor of Planetary and Space Science at the Open University.
Grady was formerly based at the Natural History Museum, where she curated the UK's national collection of meteorites. She graduated from the University of Durham in 1979, then went on to complete a Ph.D. on carbon in stony meteorites at Darwin College, Cambridge in 1982. Since then, she has built up an international reputation in meteoritics, publishing many papers on the carbon and nitrogen isotope geochemistry of primitive meteorites, on Martian meteorites, and on interstellar components of meteorites. She gave the Royal Institution Christmas Lectures in 2003, on the subject "A Voyage in Space and Time", which coincided with the attempted landing of Beagle 2. During the lectures she conjectured without evidence that Beagle 2 was stuck in crater, when in fact the mission was already lost. Monica also made a brief appearance in the 1995 Christmas Lectures, when in the final lecture of that series she briefly presented a Martian meteorite to Dr James Jackson, who used it for a demonstration. Asteroid (4731) was named Monicagrady in her honour.
Following her televised Royal Institution Christmas Lecture in 2003, and whilst still Head of the Meteorites and Cosmic Mineralogy Division in the Department of Mineralogy at the Natural History Museum and Honorary Professor of Meteoritics at University College London, Grady entered into a series of conversations with Contemporary British Artist Jo Bradford. From 2003 - 2004, Grady collaborated with Bradford in the "Constructing Space" sci-art project. Grady's role was as the 'scientist in conversation' throughout the project. Taking inspiration and insight from the daily discussions, Bradford worked with Grady at the Natural History Museum. Bradford built a temporary photographic darkroom in the basement of the Natural History Museum, London and created several large scale photogram artworks there, using meteorites and interstellar dust from the museum's extensive collection in the making of the work. One original artwork "Saturn's Rings" was presented to Grady in thanks.