Zita Martins is a Portuguese Astrobiologist and Associate Professor at Instituto Superior Técnico. Her research explores how life may have begun on Earth by looking for organic compounds in meteorite samples. She holds a Chemistry degree from Instituto Superior Técnico and a PhD in Astrobiology from Leiden University. She was an Invited Scientist at NASA Goddard, and an Invited Professor at the University of Nice-Sophia Antipolis. In 2009, while working at Imperial College London she was awarded a Royal Society Research Fellowship worth 1 Million British Pounds.
Zita worked for the ExoMars space mission. She is currently a Co-Investigator of the OREOcube and EXOcube missions scheduled for launch to the International Space Station (ISS), and she is a member of the Organic macromolecules sub-team of the Japanese space mission Hayabusa2.
She has an active involvement with public outreach activities, including several international media interviews, public talks at museums, Science festivals and schools.
She had her portrait sketched for the Royal Society exhibit about successful women in science. She was selected by the BBC as a “BBC Expert Women Scientist”, and as one of “100 Women in Science in Portugal” by the Portuguese Agency of Science and Technology Ciência Viva. In 2018 she was mentioned as one of the world’s leading specialists in Astrobiology by Portuguese Magazine Executiva, and as one of the “8 Women in STEM who are changing the space game” by American magazine Bustle. In 2015 Zita Martins was appointed by the President of Portugal as “Officer of the Order of Saint James of the Sword” for exceptional and outstanding merits in science.