Jess Bunchek is a plant scientist at NASA's Kennedy Space Center. At the beginning of 2021, she began her one-year residency at the Alfred Wegner Institute’s (AWI) Neumayer Station III as a guest researcher at the DLR Institute of Space Systems. As part of the 10-person overwinter crew, she works at DLR's EDEN ISS greenhouse, located 400 metres from the station. The aim of the greenhouse is to research vegetable cultivation using artificial light and without soil for application in future space missions to the Moon and Mars.
Jess Bunchek studied botany for her Bachelor of Science and minored in German at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana. She received her Master of Science in Agronomy from Pennsylvania State University in 2018 and was a NASA Space Grant Consortium fellow. She joined the NASA Veggie project at the Kennedy Space Center, Florida in September 2018, first as an intern and then as a contractor, focusing on supporting astronauts growing plants on the International Space Station. She has been a guest researcher at DLR since 2020.