On My Way to Russia…Again!

Wellesley Lake Baikal

Photo Credit Wellesley Baikal Team 2013

Three years ago I had an experience of a Lifetime. My mentor, Astronaut Luca Parmitano, invited me to attend his first launch to the International Space Station. I travelled to Russia and then to Baikonur Kazakhstan to attend his Soyuz launch. I shared the travel and experience, launch and his six months living on the ISS with my community online and offline culminating with a TEDx talk in October of 2013. To say this experience was amazing is an understatement. It launched me to run a worldwide outreach program and eventually to launch my own nonprofit, The Mars Generation. Now three years later I head to Russia again, this time for my first scientific research expedition.

kicknetting-wellesley lake baikal expedition

Photo Credit Wellesley Lake Baikal Team 2013

I’m excited to have been chosen to participate in Wellesley College’s 2016 scientific research expedition to Siberia’s Lake Baikal. I have been chosen as one of 12 Wellesley students for this exciting opportunity. We will join our professor, Professor Marianne Moore (Professor of Environmental Science and Biological Sciences) in August 2016 for this expedition. This is a very different experience than my first time to Russia, but equally unique and amazing. I am excited to share my experiences online and hope to inspire many young future scientists along the way!

Professor Moore is collaborating with a team of 15 scientists from the United States and Russia in a long term study exploring the effect of climate change on Lake Baikal. Lake Baikal is the oldest, deepest, and most biodiverse lake on Earth, making it an ideal spot for biological research. This expedition is an incredible opportunity for my classmates and I to explore Russian culture, improve our ability to speak Russian, and gain experience in field work and scientific research. I am so thankful and honored to have been chosen to participate in this program, especially as a first year student.

To prepare to spend a month living and working on the shores of Lake Baikal, my classmates and I are taking a class this semester titled ‘Lake Baikal: the Soul of Siberia’. This class will focus for the first half of the semester on Russian culture, and the second half of the semester on planning the experiments that we want to conduct during the expedition. I will also be taking another biology class (one which is central to my astrobiology major) and continuing with intermediate Russian part two (4th semester Russian).

This is an exciting opportunity for me to be able to partake in. To be gaining experience in scientific research and potentially publishing as a co-author with my professor this early in my scientific career is wonderful. This is the type of work that I will begin to build my professional resume from, and eventually will lead towards my future career as a scientist and hopefully someday a NASA astronaut. I hope you will follow me adventure to Siberia and join in asking questions and participating in sharing the experience.







  1. Victor Gustavo says


    Very cool! Good journey!

    Russia is a beatiful place! The people, architeture, landscapes, and Baikal! Make a good work.

    And be prepared for the firt contact, of first degree. With a alien!! You in a alien World! Oh my God!

    Do you be a astrobiologist, right? So you is responsible for comunication in the case of aliens on Mars, right?

    And if you foot on Mars and climb in you legs sand grains, like a ant, do you scream like a crazy or keep the reason?

    What astrobiology say about it?

    I loved your entusiasm. I am your fan. I hope serve like a stimulus.

    Go forward girl!

    Victor Gustavo

  2. Tracy Karin Prell says

    Many Congratulations Abby!

    I’m so honored and proud that you were selected to attend the Wellesley College’s 2016 scientific research expedition to Siberia’s Lake Baikal! The this a “Once-in-a-Lifetime” opportunity to make new friends where you can share each other’s experience and knowledge in scientific research. The in-field experience in Siberia will certainly expand your knowledge base which will build upon the excellent educational foundation that you worked so hard to create!

    I know you will certainly enjoy the camaraderie that you develop working with your peers and learning their culture and language. They will also learn from you Abby as well, “Our MARS Generation Ambassador!”

    I have no doubt your dream of co-authoring a book with Professor Marianne Moore will come true! I’ve always had and continue to have “Great” confidence in you Abby! You will always have my full and unwavering support! I wish you the “Very Best!”

  3. Donald Harth says

    Congratulation ‘s to ABBY , go to Russia – an great college – study’s in oceans, an general in ( UK). beauty of the oceans -waters, varies of fish, the beach , an the sand walking at night glazing the universe mid night the best time , make an fire – watching – MOON , SATURN, General planets of the Galaxies. most all doing
    varies conditions : ( study’s in Scientific doing better for our Atmosphere – life in general make the earth )
    See– the backgrounds of the mountains, see the Meteor’s crossing the skies . An want was crossing the
    galaxy … Congrt to Astronaut ABBY … go driving too .
    HAVE FUN TOO — Donald Harth

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