Zena Cardman is an American marine biologist and astronaut selected by NASA as part of the 2017 astronaut candidate class.
As of 2020, Cardman has completed the astronaut candidate training, which she began in August 2017, making her eligible for a mission assignment. She has been assigned technical duties.
Born in Urbana, Illinois, her family moved to Williamsburg, Virginia where she attended Bruton High School. At the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill Cardman earned a Batchelor’s of Science in Biology and a Master’s of Science in Marine Sciences.
As an undergraduate and graduate student, Cardman studied microbial systems in hydrocarbon seeps, hydrothermal vents and the Arctic. She also participated in the Palmer Long-Term Ecological Research group in Antarctica, researching ecosystem changes as part of a multi-decadal study.
Cardman also has experience with NASA-supported research in British Columbia, the Canadian high Arctic, Idaho, Hawaii, and sailed with the Sea Education Association as Assistant Engineer.
In June 2017 at the time of her selection, she was working on microbial metabolism and biogeochemical cycling in cave systems at Pennsylvania State University as a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow.