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Dr. Michelle Minitti

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Senior Scientist

Currently resides in Kensington, MD
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Areas of Expertise
Targets: Mars, Meteorites
Disciplines/Techniques: Education/Public Outreach (EPO), Geology, Petrology, Spectroscopy
Missions: MSL
Mission Roles: Instrument Co-Investigator

Research Interests

Dr. Michelle Minitti's professional interests encompass experimental petrology research on planetary materials and the interface between science and engineering as exemplified in mission operations. On Mars, she facilitates the acquisition of and analyze data from the Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity rover by serving in numerous operational roles.  She works strategically with members of the engineering and operations teams to enable activities utilizing the Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI). Her regular involvement in the tactical planning process contributes to day-to-day rover operations. On Earth, she uses high temperature and/or pressure laboratory experiments to recreate lithologies detected on (or obtained from) planetary bodies with the goal of understanding the igneous or alteration processes that led to these lithologies. This research involves exploring linkages between the Martian meteorites and the chemistry, mineralogy and spectral properties measured by surface and orbital platforms at Mars, and investigating the differentiation histories of Mars and Mercury. Her scientific activities have been consistently complemented by involvement with the delivery and development of planetary science content for formal (K-12) and informal education groups.

Professional History

Since receiving her PhD in Geological Sciences from Brown University in 2000, Dr. Minitti has been the Interim then Assistant Director of the Center for Meteorite Studies at Arizona State University and then worked as as a Research Scientist at the JHU Applied Physics Laboratory. She joined PSI in 2013.

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