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Mars: Back through the Looking Glass

19 May 2011, 17:09 UTC
Mars: Back through the Looking Glass
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By Dr. Janice Bishop; Carl Sagan Center for the Study of Life in the Universe, SETI Institute, and Gail Jacobs

Dr. Janice Bishop is a chemist and planetary scientist who explores the planet Mars using spectroscopy. Her investigations of CRISM data of Mars are revealing clays and sulfates in the ancient rocks that provide information about the geochemical environment at that time. Dr. Bishop studies the spectral fingerprints of minerals and rocks in the lab in order to generate a spectral library for identification of these in the Martian data. Her research also involves collecting and studying Mars analog rocks and soils at a variety of locations including volcanic islands, cold deserts, hydrothermal regions, acidic aqueous sites, and meteorites which are the only Martian samples available on Earth to date.

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What first sparked your interest in science?
I grew up in Livermore, California. My Mom is a scientist and my dad is an engineer, so I was always exposed to science. Livermore is a town with an abundance of scientists, ranchers, and wineries, so being a scientist was a very normal career path.

When I was a kid my parents brought my brother ...

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