Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Kristen Bennett, PhD

Kristen Bennett is a planetary scientist who studies the geology of the Moon and Mars using NASA spacecraft.

Kristen Bennett is a Research Space Scientist at the Astrogeology Science Center in Flagstaff, AZ. Her research focuses on volcanism on the Moon and the sedimentary history of Mars. To conduct this work Kristen is part of NASA missions that obtain remote sensing data at the Moon and Mars and she conducts field work at terrestrial analogs on Earth. She primarily uses thermal, near-infrared, and visible remote sensing datasets to investigate planetary surfaces. Kristen is currently the Deputy PI of the Diviner Lunar Radiometer Experiment on Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter. She led the Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity rover’s investigation in the clay-bearing Glen Torridon region, and she is a co-investigator on the Lunar-VISE payload suite that will land on the Moon to investigate a silicic volcanic feature in 2026. Previously Kristen has also worked on Mars Odyssey (THEMIS) and the Mars Exploration Rover (Opportunity). Kristen’s work on using terrestrial analogs to understand other planets includes field work in Iceland investigating glacial eskers to constrain the ancient Martian climate.

Professional Experience

  • 2018 – present Research Space Scientist (USGS)

  • 2016 – 2018 Postdoctoral Researcher (Northern Arizona University)

Education and Certifications

  • 2016 Ph.D. Geological Science, Arizona State University

  • 2011 B.S. Astrophysics, UCLA

Honors and Awards

  • 2021 NASA Planetary Science Early Career Award

  • 2021 Department of Interior Diversity Award

  • 2020 USGS Diversity Award

Science and Products