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Amy J. Williams

I am an Assistant Professor of Geology at the University of Florida. Prior to joining the University of Florida, I was an Assistant Professor of Geology at Towson University, and a postdoctoral research associate at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center.

My research interests include the formation and preservation of physical and molecular biosignatures in terrestrial environments as an analog for putative biosignature formation on Mars. I have been a member of the NASA Curiosity rover science team since 2009, and I currently work with the Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) instrument team to explore the distribution of organic molecules on Mars’ surface. I have also joined the NASA Perseverance rover science team as a Participating Scientist.

I have received several NASA group achievement awards for my work with the Curiosity rover team, received a nomination for the 2017 Maryland Academy of Sciences Outstanding Young Scientist Award, and was a NASA Earth and Space Science Fellow.

My research focuses on the interaction between microbial life, the geochemical environment, and the rock record on Earth, and how to recognize habitable environments and potentially preserved microbial life on Mars and the outer world moons.

A photograph from the Mars Perseverance rover, 2021

NASA’s Search for Life on Mars

It’s a rocky road for its rovers, a long slog for scientists—and back on Earth, a battle of the budget.