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Dr. Georgiana Kramer

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Senior Scientist

Currently resides in Houston, TX
gkramer [at]
Areas of Expertise
Targets: Earth, Meteorites, Moon, Solar particles/Solar wind, Vesta
Disciplines/Techniques: Education/Public Outreach (EPO), Field Work, Gamma-ray spectroscopy, Geology, Geomorphology, Ground-based observing, Impacts, Laboratory Spectroscopy, Mapping, Mass spectrometry, Mineralogy, Neutron spectroscopy, Petrology, Remote sensing, Spectroscopy
Missions: Apollo, Chandrayaan 1 (India), Clementine, Dawn, Kaguya (Japan), LRO, Lunar Prospector
Mission Roles: Calibration/Test planning, Data validation, Mission science team, Science operations
Instruments: Cameras, Spectrometers, Imaging spectrometers

Research Interests

My research endeavors have an overarching goal of understanding the lunar environment and utilizing its resources to enable a safe, sustained, and productive human presence on the Moon.

I study the composition, structure, and evolution of the Moon, asteroids, and other planetary bodies - my expertise is the Moon. I have a background in petrology and geochemistry, rooted in laboratory analysis of terrestrial, lunar, and meteoritic samples, and using these analyses to model their origin and evolution. Since 2007, my focus has been on remote sensing data analysis, utilizing techniques in spectroscopy and geomorphology to map mineralogy, composition, petrology, geomorphology, and other characteristics of a planetary surface. I stress the importance of data integration between the variety of spacecraft measurements, and with laboratory-analyzed samples, including meteorites and Earth-derived planetary-analog materials. These combined data sets can work synergistically to improve the identification of planetary surface features and compositions, glean subsurface processes, and interpret the origin and evolution of a planetary body. I was a member of the Moon Mineralogy Mapper Science Team, which was the first instrument to unambiguously detect water on the Moon and map its global variations. I am currently a member of the Lyman-Alpha Mapping Project (LAMP) on the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter.

I am keenly interested in the chemical and physical effects of space weathering on planetary surfaces, and the creation and retention of hydroxyl (OH) and water (HOH) on terrestrial bodies that lack an atmosphere. One such effect of space weathering are the strange and enigmatic lunar swirls. Lunar swirls are bright, curvilinear, optically immature surface features, the origin of which has been debated for over 35 years. Swirls are always associated with a magnetic anomaly, and my research has demonstrated that the magnetic field deflects incoming solar ions, and thereby reduces surface weathering effects. As a result, the swirls look young. My work has also shown that lunar swirls are depleted in OH and HOH relative to their immediate surroundings. The magnetic anomalies can only deflect low-mass ions; they have no effect on the trajectory of micrometeorites. Therefore, the lunar swirls are weathered almost exclusively by micrometeorites. This makes the lunar swirls a perfect laboratory to study the solar wind, space weathering, and complex electromagnetic interactions in the Solar System. As such, several lunar swirl locations are candidates for future robotic and manned lunar missions. This work continues through collaboration with international partners using new measurements from a broad range of scientific disciplines.

I am particularly passionate about sharing space science with the public. I spend 5-10 hours every month giving presentations and demonstrations in venues such as classrooms, museums, and outreach events. I started the Female Superheroes of Science – a group of women who each have a superhero persona that represents her scientific passion. The group has an appeal to people of all ages and genders as role models, and has made appearances at schools, extracurricular events, major science fiction conferences, and professional planetary science conferences.

I have mentored individual students and groups of students through research projects, most of which have been presented at major scientific conferences such as the Solar System Exploration and Research Virtual Institute Forum, the Lunar and Planetary Science Conference, and the American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting. Some of these students and their projects have been published in scientific journals, including a high school team from Kickapoo High School in Missouri who are lead authors in an article published in 2014 in the esteemed planetary science journal, Icarus.

Professional History


Doctor of Philosophy in Planetary Geology, 2007
University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, Indiana
Dissertation thesis – “On the Petrogenesis and Distribution of the High-Alumina Mare Basalts: An Integrated Approach Using Geochemical and Remote Sensing Data”

Bachelor of Science in Geology & Geophysics, 2000
University of Hawaii, Honolulu, Hawaii
Fellowship thesis – “Analysis of the Aureole Material Using Mars Global Surveyor Data”
Space Grant Fellowship Recipient


[10·2018 --] Senior Scientist Planetary Science Institute Tucson, AZ
[6·2017 --] Affiliate Faculty University of Alaska Fairbanks Fairbanks, AK
[1·2017 - 6·2018] Staff Scientist Lunar & Planetary Institute Houston, TX
[9·2012 - 1·2017] Research Scientist Lunar & Planetary Institute Houston, TX
[9·2010 - 9·2012] Postdoctoral Fellow Lunar & Planetary Institute Houston, TX
[2·2007 - 9·2010] Research Associate Bear Fight Center Winthrop, WA

Planetary Exploration Mission Involvement
[2019--] Lyman-Alpha Mapping Project
[2017-present] Bi-sat Observations of the Lunar Atmosphere above Swirls
[2014-2017] SpaceIL
[2007-2011] Chandrayaan-1's Moon Mineralogy Mapper Instrument
[2007-2010] Dawn 
[2007-2010] Rosetta’s VIRTIS Instrument

Field Geology & Mapping
[ongoing] Texas geology and paleontology
[05·2018] Iceland
[04·2015] Crater of the Moon, ID
[10·2012] Sudbury Impact Crater, Sudbury, Ontario 
[05·2011] Barringer Crater and the San Francisco Volcanics, Flagstaff, AZ 
[04·2000] Rainbow Basin and Death Valley, CA
[04·2000] Mauna Loa, HI 
[02·2000] Hanauma Bay, HI


Lead Organizer
[2014-2108] Lunar & Planetary Institute Invited Seminar Series
[2017] AGU’s “Sharing Science” workshop at the Lunar & Planetary Institute
[2013] NASA Lunar Science Institute Virtual Workshop - “Lunar Volatiles”
[2012] Houston “National Planetary Exploration Car Wash and Bake Sale”
[2011-2012] Lunar & Planetary Institute Invited Seminar Series
[2011] NASA Lunar Science Institute Virtual Workshop - “Lunar Swirls”

[2018--] Planetary Exploration Newsletter
[2016-2018] LPI Planetary Science News (email newsletter)

Organizing Committee Member
[2018] Lunar Science for Landed Missions
[2018] Lunar and Planetary Science Conference
[2016-2018] LPI Career Development Committee
[2016] NASA Exploration Science Forum
[2016] LPI Career Development Committee
[2013-2016] Lunar and Planetary Science Conference
[2013] LPI Career Development Committee
[2012] Second Conference on the Lunar Highlands Crust
[2011] AGU Special Session Chair - “Basin Volcanism”
[2011] LunarGradCon
[2011] LPI Career Development Committee

Special Action Team Member
[2020] Lunar Capabilities Roadmap (lead)
[2017] Advances in Science on the Moon

Advisory Board
[2017--] Planetary Scientists Engagement Advisory Committee
[2014--] ExMASS Advisory Board
[2013--] Golden Spike Lunar Science Advisory Board

Peer Review
Review panels: Served on NASA proposal review panels, averaging 1.5 panels/year since 2009. Served as Group Chief on one panel in 2014.
Senior Review panels: 2016 Planetary Mission Senior Review
2015 Planetary Data System Discipline Nodes Cooperative Agreement Notice Senior Review
2010 NASA Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Senior Review
External reviews: External proposal reviewer, averaging 2 proposals/year since 2008.


  • Chandnani M., Herrick, R. R., and Kramer, G. Y. (2019) Geologic Investigation of Deep Simple Craters in the Lunar Simple-to-Complex Transition. J. Geophys. Res. 10.1029/2018JE005903
  • Chandnani M., Herrick, R. R., and Kramer, G. Y. (2019) Geologic Analyses of Causes for Morphological Variations in Lunar Craters within the Simple-Complex Transition. J. Geophys. Res.
  • Corley, L. M., McGovern, P. J., Kramer, G. Y., Lemelin, M., Trang, D., Gillis-Davis, J. J., Taylor, G. J., Powell, K. E., Kiefer, W. S., Wieczorek, M., Zuber, M. T. (2017) Olivine-bearing lithologies on the Moon: Constraints on origins and transport mechanisms from M3 spectroscopy, radiative transfer modeling, and GRAIL crustal thickness, Icarus, doi:10.1016/j.icarus.2017.09.012.
  • Kring, D. A., Kramer, G. Y., Collins, G. S., Potter, R. W. K. and Chandnani, M. (2016) Peak-Ring Structure and Kinematics from a Multi-Disciplinary Study of the Schrödinger Impact Basin. Nat. Comm. 7:13161, doi: 10.1038/ncomms13161.
  • Bamford, R. A., Alves, E. P., Cruz, F., Kellett, B. J., Fonseca, R. A., Silva, L.O, Trines, R. M. G. M., Halekas, J. S., Kramer, G. Y., Harnett, E., R. Cairns, A., Bingham, R. (2016) 3D PIC Simulations of Collisionless Shock at Lunar Magnetic Anomalies and Their Role in Forming Lunar Swirls. Astrophys. J. 830:146, doi:10.3847/0004-637X/830/2/146.
  • Kramer, G. Y., B. Jaiswal, B. R. Hawke, T. Öhman, T. A. Giguere, and K. Johnson (2015), The basalts of Mare Frigoris, J. Geophys. Res. Planets, 120, 1646-1670, doi:10.1002/2014JE004753.
  • Sonzogni, Y., Kramer, G. Y., Treiman, A. H. (2015) Petrology and provenance of a very-low-titanium picrite clast in lunar highland regolith breccia 15295. Met. & Planet. Sci., 1–25, doi: 10.1111/maps.12579.
  • Harnett, E., Kramer, G. Y, Udovicic, C., Bamford, R. (2016) Simulations of Particle Impact at Lunar Magnetic Anomalies and Comparison with Spectral Observations. arXiv:1605.05778 [astro-ph.EP].
  • Bamford, R. A., Alves, E. P., Cruz, F., Kellett, B. J., Fonseca, R. A., Silva, L.O, Trines, R. M. G. M., Halekas, J. S., Kramer, G. Y., Harnett, E., R. Cairns, A., Bingham, R. (2015) Formation of Lunar Swirls. Earth and Planetary Astrophysics, arXiv:1505.06304 [astro-ph.EP].
  • Kramer, G. Y., Kring, D. A., Nahm, A. L., & Pieters, C. M. (2013) Spectral and Photogeologic mapping of Schrödinger Basin and Implications for Post-South Pole-Aitken Impact Deep Subsurface Stratigraphy. Icarus, 223, 131-148
  • Kramer, G. Y. Besse, S., Dhingra, D., Nettles, J., Klima, R., Garrick-Bethell, I., Clark, R., Combe, J.-P., Head, J. III, Taylor, L., Pieters, C., Boardman, J., & McCord, T. (2011) M3 spectral analysis of lunar swirls and the link between optical maturation and surface hydroxyl formation at magnetic anomalies, J. Geophys. Res., 116, doi:10.1029/2010JE003729
  • Kramer, G. Y., Besse, S., Nettles, J., Combe, J.-P., Clark, R., Pieters, C., Staid, M., Malaret, E., Boardman, J., Green, R. O., McCord, T., & Head, J. III. (2011) Newer Views of the Moon: Comparing Spectra from Clementine and the Moon Mineralogy Mapper, J. Geophys. Res., 116, doi:10.1029/2010JE003728
  • Kramer, G. Y., Combe J.-P., Harnett E., Hawke B. R., Blewett D., Noble S., Giguere T. A., McCord, T. B. (2011) Characterization of Lunar Swirls at Mare Ingenii: A Model for Space Weathering at Magnetic Anomalies. J. Geophys. Res., 116, E04008, doi:10.1029/2010JE003669
  • McCord, T. B., Taylor, L., Combe, J.-P., Kramer, G., Pieters, C., Sunshine, J., Clark, R. (2011) Sources and physical processes responsible for OH/H2O in the lunar soil discovered by the Moon Mineralogy Mapper (M3) J. Geophys. Res. 116, E00G05, doi:10.1029/2010JE003711
  • Staid, M., Pieters, C. M., Besse, S., Boardman, J., Dhingra, D., Green, R. O., Head, J. III, Isaacson, P., Klima, R., Kramer, G., Mustard, J., Runyon, C., Sunshine, J., & Taylor, L. (2011) The mineralogy of late stage lunar volcanism as observed by the Moon Mineralogy Mapper on Chandrayaan-1, J. Geophys. Res., 116, doi:10.1029/2010JE003735
  • Thaisen, K., Head, J. III, Taylor, L., Kramer, G., Isaacson, P., Nettles, J., Petro, N., & Pieters, C. (2011) Geology of the Moscoviense Basin. J. Geophys. Res. 116, E00G07, doi:10.1029/2010JE003732
  • Nettles, J. W., Staid, M., Besse, S., Dhingra, D., Isaacson, P., Klima, R., Kramer, G., Pieters, C. M. (2011) Optical maturity variation in lunar spectra as measured by Moon Mineralogy Mapper data. J. Geophys. Res., 116, E00G17, doi:10.1029/2010JE003748
  • Green, R., et al. (2011) The Moon Mineralogy Mapper (M3) Imaging Spectrometer for Lunar Science: Instrument Description, Calibration, On-Orbit Measurements, Science Data Calibration, and On-Orbit Validation. J. Geophys. Res., 116,
  • Kramer, G. Y. (2010) Characterizing bedrock lithologies using Small Crater Rims and Ejecta Probing (SCREP), Adv. Space Res., 45, doi:10.1016/j.asr.2009.12.006
  • C. M. Pieters et al. (2009) Character and Spatial Distribution of Possible OH/H2O on the Surface of the Moon seen by M3 on Chandrayaan-1, Science, 326, doi:10.1126/science.1178658
  • Kramer, G. Y., Jolliff, B. L. & Neal, C. R. (2008) Searching for high alumina mare basalts using Clementine UVVIS and Lunar Prospector GRS data: Mare Fecunditatis and Mare Imbrium. Icarus, doi:10.1016/j.icarus.2008.06.009
  • Kramer, G. Y., Jolliff, B. L. & Neal, C. R. (2008) Distinguishing high-alumina mare basalts using Clementine UVVIS and Lunar Prospector GRS data: Mare Moscoviense and Mare Nectaris. J. Geophys. Res., 113, E01002, doi:10.1029/2006JE002860
  • Neal, C. R. & Kramer, G. Y. (2006) The Petrogenesis of the Apollo 14 High-Al Mare Basalts. American Mineralogist, 91, p.1521-1535

Honors and Awards

[2017] San Jacinto College “Outstanding performance and contribution”
[2017] NASA “Excellence in the category of Group/Team”
[2013] Icarus “Excellence in reviewing”

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