Suzie is an Associate Professor of Planetary Science at the University of Leicester. She specialises in studying space weather; understanding the impact of the solar wind on the magnetised planets, in particular the Earth and Mercury. Space weather has profound impacts for our modern day society and has been added to the government’s national risk register, having the potential to disrupt power grids, telecommunication systems and GPS systems, as well as damaging spacecraft instrumentation and posing a hazard to astronaut health. Suzie has spent 7 years researching Mercury’s magnetosphere, and is a Co-Investigator on the Leicester’s x-ray spectrometer on board the joint ESA/JAXA BepiColombo spacecraft launching in October 2018 and arriving at Mercury in 2025.
Suzie Imber was also the winner of the recent BBC 2 series entitled ‘Astronauts: Do You Have What it Takes?’ during which twelve candidates were put through astronaut training with NASA astronaut Chris Hadfield. She endured challenges such as taking her own blood, speaking Russian while in a centrifuge at 5g and carrying out emergency procedures on the NASA undersea astronaut training facility, Aquarius. Suzie will receive a letter of recommendation from Chris Hadfield to support her application to the European Space Agency astronaut training programme.
Suzie was an England U21 lacrosse player, an elite rower, and is now a high altitude mountaineer. She has written computer code to automatically identify mountains in South America, and discovered hundreds of new, unclimbed and often nameless mountains. She sets off annually to scale these incredibly remote peaks where she discovers Incan ruins, collects scientific data and explores new regions of our planet.
Talks:Astronauts, do you have what it takes?, Future Then: Corporate Outer Space: Are Commercial Interests Driving the Space Race?