Michele Dougherty is a space physicist at Imperial College London who is leading unmanned exploratory missions to Saturn and Jupiter. Amongst other important findings, her work led to the discovery of an atmosphere containing water and hydrocarbons around Saturn’s moon Enceladus — opening up new possibilities in the search for life.
Dougherty is principal investigator for the magnetometer (MAG) instrument onboard the Cassini spacecraft on its mission to explore Saturn and its neighborhood. She and her team measured the level and direction of magnetic materials from the atmosphere of Saturn and the moons visited by Cassini. Her innovative use of magnetic field data has had an enormous impact on our understanding of the moons in our Solar System.
Dougherty was the lead investigator for the European Space Agency’s JUICE spacecraft, scheduled to go into orbit around Jupiter’s largest moon, Ganymede, in 2032, and was recently selected as Principal Investigator for its magnetometer.