Emma Birath is a Senior Research Analyst at Southwest Research Institute in Boulder, Colorado,
where she is part of the Science Operations team of NASA’s New Horizons mission to Pluto. During her
years on the mission, she has been involved in Pluto encounter planning, science instrument
sequencing, and software development. She currently leads the effort of downlinking science data
collected during the encounter with the Pluto system last summer.
Growing up in Sweden, Emma first came to the United States as a foreign exchange student. Her
interest in mathematics and physics led her to Colorado State University, where she studied optical
properties if liquid crystals. During a time of many changes in her life, new opportunities brought her
into the field of spacecraft operations. Before getting in involved with the New Horizons mission, she
was Uplink Operations Technical Lead for the Imaging Science Subsystem on the Cassini mission.
Emma lives with her wife and two dogs in Lyons, Colorado. When not working, she enjoys
playing the guitar, hiking, and spending time in the mountains.
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