Adriana Ocampo

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Adriana Ocampo Uria
Adriana Ocampo Uria.jpg
Adriana Christiana Ocampo

(1955-01-05) 5 January 1955 (age 64)
Alma materCalifornia State University, Los Angeles
California State University, Northridge
Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam
Scientific career
FieldsPlanetary science
InstitutionsJet Propulsion Laboratory
European Space Agency

Adriana C. Ocampo is a Colombian planetary geologist and a Science Program Manager at NASA Headquarters. She was the first to identified a ring of cenotes via satellite images, which is the only surface impression of the buried Chicxulub crater. Her research contributed to the understanding of the Chicxulub impact crater. She has led at least seven research expeditions to the Chicxulub impact site and worked on the Juno,New Horizons and Lucy mission to the Trojans asteroids. In 1996, Ocampo and her colleagues discovered the Aorounga Crater Chain in Chad.[1][2]. She continues to search for new impact craters, and she and her team recently found a possible crater near the city of Cali in Colombia. She has an asteroid name after her due to her contributions to space exploration.

Early life and education[edit]

Adriana Christian Ocampo was born on January 5, 1955, in Barranquilla, Colombia. Her family moved to Buenos Aires, Argentina before her first birthday and then to Pasadena, California, in 1970, when she was 14.[3]

Ocampo earned her B.S. degree in Geology from California State University, Los Angeles in 1983. She earned her M.S. degree in Planetary Geology from California State University, Northridge in 1997 and she finished her Ph.D. at the Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam in The Netherlands.[4]


Ocampo began her career in planetary science first as a volunteer at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) during high school and during the summer and throughout college as an employee. She has worked on a number of NASA planetary science projects, including the Juno mission to Jupiter, the New Horizons mission to Pluto, and the OSIRIS-Rex asteroid sample return mission. She is also the lead scientist responsible for NASA's collaboration with the European Space Agency's Venus Express mission and the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency's Venus Climate Orbiter mission.

In 2010 she wrote the Spanish-language educational publication “El Mundo de Copocuqu: La Reina Gravedad y El Rey Masa” (NASA NP-2010-03-647-HQ).[5]

Awards and honors[edit]

Ocampo received the Woman of the Year Award in Science from the Comisión Femenil in Los Angeles in 1992. She also received the Advisory Council for Women Award at JPL in 1996 and the Science and Technology Award from the Chicano Federation in 1997.[6]

In 2002, Ocampo was named one of the 50 Most Important Women in Science by Discover Magazine.[7]

Asteroid 177120 Ocampo Uría, discovered by Marc Buie at the Kitt Peak National Observatory in 2003, was named after her.[2] The official naming citation was published by the Minor Planet Center on 11 July 2018 (M.P.C. 110637).[8]


  1. ^ "In Search of Crater Chains". NASA Science. May 15, 2006. Retrieved 2013-11-25.
  2. ^ a b c "(177120) Ocampo". Minor Planet Center. Retrieved 17 July 2018.
  3. ^ Oleksy, Walter (1998). American Profiles: Hispanic-American Scientists. Facts on File. p. 84. ISBN 0-8160-3704-3.
  4. ^ "Impact of large asteroid impact on life on earth". VU University Amsterdam. March 25, 2013. Archived from the original on June 10, 2015.
  5. ^ "The Space Place". NASA. Retrieved 2013-11-25.
  6. ^ Alic, Margaret (2004). "Ocampo, Adriana C.: 1955—: Planetary Geologist". Contemporary Hispanic Biography. Retrieved 2013-11-25.
  7. ^ Svitil, Kathy. "The 50 Most Important Women in Science" (November 2002). Discover. Retrieved 14 January 2016.
  8. ^ a b "MPC/MPO/MPS Archive". Minor Planet Center. Retrieved 17 July 2018.

External links[edit]