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Dr. Cathy Weitz

Senior Scientist

Currently resides in Arlington, VA
weitz [at]
Areas of Expertise
Mars, Moon | LRO, Mars 2020, Mars Odyssey, MER, MRO, MSL | Spectroscopy, Remote sensing, Radar, Volcanism, Geology, Crater Counting, Geomorphology, Mineralogy, Mapping

Research Interests

Dr. Cathy Weitz’s research interests cover three primary focuses: (1) sedimentary deposits on Mars; (2) soils and small rocks observed at the MER Opportunity rover landing site; and (3) pyroclastic deposits on the Moon. Her research uses multiple imagery data sets to map out the 3-dimensional distribution of sedimentary units and look at details that could provide information concerning their origin and relative ages. She has performed grain-size analyses of the soils at Meridiani Planum to identify rock souces for the grains and provide information about depositional processes under past and current conditions. Dr. Weitz is currently analyzing high spatial and spectral resolution images taken at multiple illuminations to better refine the extent of lunar dark mantle deposits (DMDs), assess whether the medium and smaller size deposits are pyroclastic material or mare ponds, identify and characterize plausible source vents, explore the geologic setting of each deposit, and characterize the eruption that emplaced the deposit.

Professional History

Dr. Weitz received her PhD in Geological Sciences in 1998 from Brown University where she analysed Clementine remote sensing data of the Moon combined with studies of Apollo 17 lunar soil samples. Upon completing her doctorate, she went to JPL as a National Research Council Associate and worked on the Mars 2001 mission and began research on martian volcanism. She then transferred her Associateship to NASA Headquarters and soon became a Program Scientist in the Mars Exploration Program. In addition to her management responsibilities at NASA Headquarters, she also spent time performing research on layered deposits located within the Valles Marineris canyon system on Mars. In 2000, she joined PSI. She is a member of the science teams on the MER and MRO (HiRISE) missions. 

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