Dr Natalie Batalha is an astrophysicist at NASA Ames Research Center and the Mission Scientist for NASA’s Kepler Mission. This year she was named in Time magazine’s annual list of the 100 most influential people on Earth. In 2011, Batalha was awarded a NASA Public Service Medal for communicating Kepler science to the public and for outstanding leadership in coordinating the Kepler Science Team. In 2015, she joined the leadership team of a new NASA initiative searching for evidence of life beyond the solar system – the Nexus for Exoplanet System Science (NExSS). The Kepler Mission has demonstrated that there are many earth-size planets in the galaxy, and NExSS leads NASA’s efforts to understand which are most likely to harbour life. Batalha is coming to New Zealand for the Aoraki Mt Cook Starlight Festival, October 13 to 15, and will travel around the country for the Royal Astronomical Society’s Beatrice Hill Tinsley lecture tour 2017, speaking on the topic ‘A Planet for Goldilocks: The Search for Evidence of Life Beyond Earth’.