PSI’s Candice Hansen Honored with GSA G.K.Gilbert Award

Category: Press Release

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October 16, 2023, Tucson, Arizona – Planetary Science Institute Senior Scientist Candice J.
Hansen has been named the 2023 G.K. Gilbert Award winner by the Geological Society of
America’s Planetary Geology Division.

The Gilbert award recognizes outstanding contributions to the solution of a fundamental
problem(s) of planetary geology in its broadest sense, including planetary geology,
geochemistry, mineralogy, petrology, and tectonics, geophysics, and the field of meteoritics.
Such contributions may consist either of a single outstanding publication, or a series of
publications that have had great influence on the field.

Hansen’s research focuses on seasonal processes on Mars, plumes across the Solar System,
and science and art from Juno’s JunoCam visible imager.

“I am so honored to be recognized by my planetary science colleagues,” Hansen said. “I
have had the privilege of working in this field for almost 50 years, beginning at the dawn of
exploration of our Solar System.”

GSA’s citation said Hansen was honored for “being an excellent mentor, scientist, and
human. Community consensus has lauded Candy as a straight-talker who puts exceptional
effort into encouragement and development of the next generation of scientists and is a
terrific leader in public outreach. For all of her scientific achievements, leadership in
exploration, advocacy, friendship and mentorship, Candy has been selected as this year’s G.
K. Gilbert awardee.”

The citation noted her distinguished career in robotic exploration that began when she
joined the Voyager science team straight out of college, where her work includes a pivotal
paper describing the discovery of plumes on Neptune’s moon Triton. She was a member of
the Cassini UVIS team at Saturn where she contributed to a long list of papers
characterizing the composition, structure, and dynamics of Enceladus’s plume.

Her work as Deputy-PI for the High-Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) on
the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter focused on smaller-scale seasonal changes which has
significantly contributed to the shifting perspective of Mars being a quiescent to a currently
active planet. In addition to HiRISE, Hansen contributed to the planning and building
instruments for the Mars Polar Lander, the ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter, the Europa Clipper,
as well as leading myriad proposals to continue exploring the outer Solar System.

Hansen has served the planetary community by being a constant advocate for the
exploration of the outer Solar System with her service as the chair of the NASA’s Outer
Planets Assessment Group (OPAG), Chair of the American Astronomical Society’s Division
of Planetary Sciences, along with many other efforts to advocate for ongoing exploration in
the outer reaches of our Solar System.

The award is named for G. K. Gilbert, who over one hundred years ago clearly recognized
the importance of a planetary perspective in solving terrestrial geological problems.

The award consists of an engraved plaque and an appropriate certificate.

Earlier Gilbert award recipients from PSI are M. Darby Dyar, Carle Pieters, William K.

Hansen will be honored at the 2023 GSA meeting with session “T120. Planetary Geology
Division’s G.K. Gilbert Award Session in Honor of Dr. Candy Hansen: Planetary Plumes,
Volatiles, and Atmospheres” and at the annual PGD banquet.

Alan Fischer
Public Information Officer
[email protected]
Candice J. Hansen
Senior Scientist
[email protected]
Mark V. Sykes
[email protected]

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The Planetary Science Institute is a private, nonprofit 501(c)(3) corporation dedicated to
Solar System exploration. It is headquartered in Tucson, Arizona, where it was founded in
PSI scientists are involved in numerous NASA and international missions, the study of Mars
and other planets, the Moon, asteroids, comets, interplanetary dust, impact physics, the
origin of the Solar System, extra-solar planet formation, dynamics, the rise of life, and other
areas of research. They conduct fieldwork on all continents around the world. They also are
actively involved in science education and public outreach through school programs,
children’s books, popular science books and art.
PSI scientists are based in 30 states and the District of Columbia.