I grew up outside Portland, Oregon and have always been interested in math and science. After taking my first geology courses during my undergraduate at Colgate University, I knew a more multidisciplinary field appealed to me. I was fortunate enough to identify the University of Tennessee’s strong expertise in Planetary Science in my search for graduate school programs, and received my PhD under the guidance of my advisor, Dr. Jeff Moersch, in 2012. Within a week of my dissertation defense, I began a postdoc at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics laboratory in Laurel, Maryland, under Dr. Scott Murchie, PI of the Compact Reconnaissance Imaging Spectrometer for Mars (CRISM). After two year, I was hired on as a staff scientist at APL and continue in that role today.
Generally, my research pertains to the evolution of Martian crust over time, including the environments that existed during its early history as preserved in the rock record. I utilize visible/near-infrared and thermal infrared spectroscopy to gain insight into the composition of the surface exposed today. Presently, I focus on the variability in mineral signatures as identified through the CRISM visible/near-infrared hyperspectral imager. Ultimately, understanding the geologic origin of the mineral diversity exposed at the surface today provides context for assessing the habitability of past surface and subsurface conditions on Mars.
Most of my days are spent at the computer processing and analyzing images from the CRISM instrument, integrating information from other Mars datasets, coding up tasks to simplify these processes, writing proposals for grants (how I maintain funding to do my research), writing and editing manuscripts, administrative tasks to deal with awarded grants and generally working at the lab, and less exciting stuff like answering emails. The work is incredibly rewarding, and the framework at APL gives me the support to pursue my research interests, as well as the ability to participate in new planetary instrumentation and mission development opportunities.
In my free time, I enjoy getting outside for a variety of outdoor adventure/sport activities, rock climbing, knitting, painting and drawing, and visiting my family and friends. Please contact me if you have questions about living in the greater DC area, working in a research/lab setting, supporting your salary via research grants, or anything else.
Professional Website: space.jhuapl.edu/people/christina-viviano
Planetary Geology, Remote sensing
B.A. 2006, Colgate University Ph.D. 2012, University of Tennessee, Knoxville 2012 – 2014, Postdoc, Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (JHU/APL)