Nathalie Cabrol
Planetary scientist Nathalie Cabrol would like to go to Mars, but until such time as she can book a seat to that intriguing world she’s more than making do by going to a place that’s ten thousand times closer. The high lakes on top of the Andean mountains expose life to cold, dry climates and an abundance of ultraviolet radiation – all characteristic of living conditions on Mars (and, one presumes, on many other planets as well). Combining exploration with the observing skills of a scientist, Nathalie investigates the life in these unusual lakes by diving in – literally. The biology she studies here have made adaptations that martian life – if it exists – will also have made. The volcanic peaks of the Andes are Nathalie’s Petri dish for experimenting with “alien” life.

While she’s not yet been to the real Mars, Nathalie and her scientist husband, Edmond Grin, were the principal supporters of the decision to send the Spirit rover to Gusev crater, in Mars’ pockmarked, southern highlands. This was because the crater gives the appearance of being the bed of an ancient lake, making it a prime target for understanding the hydraulic history of the Red Planet.

Nathalie can be seen on the Discovery Channels "Are We Alone" July 16 2009, at 9 p.m. ET/PT - preview

Nathalie was recently selected as a (New) NEW EINSTEIN by Mental Floss Magazine - article

Nathalie has the unoffical world record for diving 6,000 meters above sea level - article