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Dr. Rachel Sheppard

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Research Scientist

Currently resides in France
rsheppard [at]
Areas of Expertise
Targets: Asteroids, Earth, Icy satellites, Mars
Disciplines/Techniques: Field Work, Geochemistry, Geology, Laboratory Spectroscopy, Mapping, Mineralogy, Remote sensing, Spectroscopy, X-Ray Diffraction
Missions: MSL
Mission Roles: Mission science team, Science operations
Instruments: FTIR, Imaging spectrometers, Spectrometers, X-Ray Diffractometers

Research Interests

  • Mars sulfates 
  • reflectance and Raman spectroscopy
  • chemical and physical weathering within lacustrine basins
  • deposition and diagenesis
  • subsurface habitability and astrobiology
  • statistics, machine learning, and causal inference

Professional History

  • August 2022-present                Research Scientist, Planetary Science Institute.
  • August 2020-September 2022   Postdoctoral Fellow, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Caltech.

  • 2020   Ph.D., Brown University, Earth, Environmental & Planetary Sciences.

    • Spatial and temporal variations in the chemistry and mineralogy of mafic lacustrine systems on Earth and Mars. Advisor: Ralph Milliken.

  • 2017   M.Sc., Brown University, Earth, Environmental & Planetary Sciences.

    • Spectroscopic analysis of iron cycling in a terrestrial ultramafic lake and its implications for martian sedimentary systems. Advisor: Ralph Milliken.

  • 2013   B.A., Columbia University, Earth Science.

    • Extractable organic molecules are an effective thermometer of both naturally and artificially heated fault rocks. Advisors: Pratigya Polissar & Heather Savage.

Honors and Awards

•2022 Seal of Excellence, European Commission Marie Sklodowska-Curie Actions.

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