Veronica Ann Zabala-Aliberto (“VAZA”) worked as Research Assistant and Educational Outreach Coordinator for NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) mission at Arizona State University, calibrating the Wide Angle Camera (WAC) and the Narrow Angle Camera (NAC) while promoting robotic and human space exploration and settlement as well as all that encompasses STEAM education to students, their educators and the general public. From 1999-2010, she worked within the NASA Space Photography Laboratory at Arizona State University as a Research Assistant and Educational Outreach Coordinator conducting comparative planetary geology analysis for NASA’s Mars Exploration Rovers (MER A & MER B). She has also participated on NASA’s Mars Global Surveyor mission, the NASA Mars Odyssey mission, ESA’s Mars Express mission and Beagle 2 Lander. In 2011, Veronica Ann was the Science Lead for NASA / Nanoracks on the final two Space Shuttle missions (STS-134 & STS-135).
In the non-profit sector, from 2000 to 2010, she served as the Phoenix, Arizona Chapter President of the National Space Society as well as Regional Coordinator and Board of Director. She has also held the titles of Arizona Coordinator for the Yuri’s Night venue and Team Member for the Yuri’s Night Executive Team, Phoenix Chapter President of The Mars Society (2000-2006), The Planetary Society Global Volunteer Coordinator for Arizona (2005-2008), and a Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) Solar System Ambassador (2004-2015). In 2011, she co-founded Astronauts4Hire.
Veronica Ann has always been interested in science and the great explorers of history. This led her to create the Family Living Analysis on Mars Expedition (F.L.A.M.E.) in which she commanded both lunar and martian analogue missions at the Mars Society’s Mars Desert Research Station (MDRS) for five consecutive field seasons (2005-2008). F.L.A.M.E. is hailed as the first analogue mission to incorporate children under the age of 15 to simulate what life would be like living and working on the Moon and Mars. During her field seasons at MDRS, Veronica Ann accumulated a total of 150 EVA hours with a total of combined lunar and martian simulation time of 320 hours.
Veronica Ann enjoys reading (Clive Cussler novels), hiking and camping in the deserts and mountains of Arizona, Utah and California; studying aviation, human adaptation within extreme regimes and giving lectures in classrooms and at conferences. Her research interests include lunar and martian geology, aeolian, fluvial, and volcanic processes (both terrestrial and planetary); the location and acquisition of space resources on the Moon, Mars and asteroids; human factors and the exploitation of today’s technology in order to promote Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Mathematics (STEAM) in and out of the classroom. Having been published in scientific, academic and various global media outlets; Veronica Ann’s research and activism thrusts her into exploration and education outreach every day.