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Dr. Nicholas Castle

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Associate Research Scientist

Currently resides in FL
ncastle [at]
Areas of Expertise
Targets: Earth, Mars, Meteorites
Disciplines/Techniques: Electron Microscopy, Field Work, Geology, Mass spectrometry, Mineralogy, Optical Microscopy, Petrology, Scanning Electron Microscopy, Volcanism, X-Ray Diffraction
Missions: MSL
Mission Roles: Instrument operations, Mission science team, Science operations
Instruments: X-Ray Diffractometers, Mass spectrometers, Electron Microprobe

Research Interests

Dr. Nicholas Castle is interested in the origin and evolution of the solid bodies in the solar system. At present, Nicholas's expertise is centered on Mars, but he has experience examining a wide range of achondrite meteorites, especially including eucrites (asteroidal basalts). Projects range from understanding the origin and evolution of martian magmatism to in situ analysis of martian surface sediments. Mission experience focuses on the Chemistry and Mineralogy (CheMin) instrument on Mars Science Laboratory (MSL, Curiosity), where Nicholas has been active in instrument and science operations, and conducting an instrumental analysis research program focused on maximizing the value of returned science data. Laboratory experience includes high-temperature experimental petrology focusing on the role of oxygen fugacity (fO2) in igneous processes, mineralogical and compositional analysis using light (OM) and electron microscopes (EMPA/SEM) along side laser ablation sourced inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (LA-ICP-MS), and powder X-ray diffraction (P-XRD) with Rietveld refinement.

Professional History

Postdoctoral Research Fellow - Lunar and Planetary Institute, Houston, Texas, United States - 2017-2019

Worked under Dr. Allan Treiman as a member of the Mars Science Laboratory science team participating in science and operational activities. Focus was on X-ray diffraction, specifically related to the CheMin instrument, utilizing statistical analysis to enhance the value of returned science data. Additionally, participated in the LPI summer undergraduate internship program as a mentor and research adviser on a shergottite (martian basaltic meteorite) petrology project, resulting in a published manuscript.

Ph.D. - Earth and Atmospheric Sciences - University of Alberta, Alberta, Canada - 2017

Thesis: Basalt Genesis Across the Solar System: Observational and Experimental Studies of Shergottite and Eucrite Meteorites

Adviser: Christopher D. K. Herd

M.S. - Earth and Space Sciences - University of Washington, Seattle, Washington, United States - 2012

Thesis: Pyroxene Chemistry of the Polymict Eucrite Northwest Africa 6475: Contrasts with Juvinas, Stannern, and Igdi, and Evaluation of Models for Eucrite Magmatic Evolution

Advisers: Anthony J. Irving, Olivier Bachmann

B.S. - Geology - Lehigh University, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, United States - 2004

Thesis: Stress and Folding in the Martinsburg Formation at Lehigh Gap, Pennsylvania

Adviser: David J. Anastasio

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