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Dr. Gretchen Benedix

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Senior Scientist

Currently resides in
gbenedix [at] psi.edu
Areas of Expertise
Targets: Asteroids, Mars, Meteorites, Moon
Disciplines/Techniques: Crater Counting, Education/Public Outreach (EPO), Electron Microscopy, Geochemistry, Geology, Mineralogy, Petrology, Scanning Electron Microscopy, Spectroscopy
Instruments: FTIR

Research Interests

My research interests focus on the evolution of the Solar System, which is complex due to the number of processes that affect the bodies formed from the gas and dust of the solar nebula.  These processes include rapid (impact, shock waves, lightning) and slow (short-lived radionuclides, accretionary heat) heating events, mixing events, and cooling events, which may or may not occur in the presence of water (most likely in the form of ice, rather than liquid).  Exploring how these processes occur is essential to understand the nature of planet formation in our Solar System.  

My work is to use the information we can find in meteorites to unravel the history of the parent rock a meteorite came from.  I do this by analysing the mineralogy, petrology, geochemistry, spectroscopy, and more recently, geochronology of meteorites. 

More recently, I have used Machine Learning techniques to analyse planetary image datasets to try and unravel the source locations of meteorites from Mars, thus providing additional geologic context for remotely sensed data. 

In my free time, I like to be outside and play with our 4 cats and 1 dog.  I love to travel and see the world. 


Honors and Awards

  • Fellow of the Meteoritical Society (since 2014)
  • Asteroid 6579 re-named Benedix in 2006 by the International Astronomical Union for contributions to planetary science
  • Invited by HRH Queen Elizabeth II to Adventurers and Explorers Reception at Buckingham Palace, Oct. 2011 (for expeditions to Antarctica - meteorite collection)
  • Antarctic Service Medal of the United States of America (1997 and 2003)
  • Invited participant as meteorite compositions expert on AMOR – Asteroid Sample Return Mission- proposal.

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