Adriana Ocampo

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Adriana Ocampo Uria
Adriana Ocampo Uria.jpg
Born Adriana Christian Ocampo
January 5, 1955 (1955-01-05) (age 62)
Barranquilla, Colombia
Fields Planetary science
Institutions Jet Propulsion Laboratory
European Space Agency
Alma mater California State University, Los Angeles
California State University, Northridge
University of Amsterdam

Adriana Ocampo is a Colombian planetary geologist and the Science Program Manager at NASA Headquarters. Her research led to the discovery of the Chicxulub impact crater. She has led six research expeditions to the Chicxulub impact site. Ocampo and her colleagues also discovered the Aorounga Crater Chain in Chad in 1996.[1]

Early life and education[edit]

Adriana Christian Ocampo was born on January 20, 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 15.[2]

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.[3]


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).[4]

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.[5]

In 2002, Ocampo was named one of the 50 Most Important Women in Science by Discover Magazine.[6]


  1. ^ "In Search of Crater Chains". NASA Science. May 15, 2006. Retrieved 2013-11-25. 
  2. ^ Oleksy, Walter (1998). American Profiles: Hispanic-American Scientists. Facts on File. p. 84. ISBN 0-8160-3704-3. 
  3. ^ "Impact of large asteroid impact on life on earth". VU University Amsterdam. March 25, 2013. 
  4. ^ "The Space Place". NASA. Retrieved 2013-11-25. 
  5. ^ Alic, Margaret (2004). "Ocampo, Adriana C.: 1955—: Planetary Geologist". Contemporary Hispanic Biography. Retrieved 2013-11-25. 
  6. ^ Svitil, Kathy. "The 50 Most Important Women in Science" (November 2002). Discover. Retrieved 14 January 2016. 

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