PS Planetary and Solar System Sciences
The 2024 Division Outstanding Early Career Scientist Award is awarded to Lucia Mandon for remarkable contributions to planetary science, specifically by characterising the mineralogy and alteration, with infrared spectroscopy, of the Jezero crater explored by the Mars2020 mission.
Lucia Mandon’s research includes a wide variety of topics related to the geological history and the mineralogy of Mars. Mandon’s research revolves around the analysis of Martian spectra, laboratory experiments and databases using images and data from space missions. Mandon’s scientific results such as the generation of maps of rock outcrops, hydrated minerals and carbonates, are important because they are being used for the guidance of the Perseverance rover that is currently active on Mars and the selection of Mars samples. Lately, Mandon’s work on imaging data has provided an alternative and novel scenario for the formation of olivine deposits on Nili Fossae/Jezero region attributing their origin to intense volcanic activity and determining the time formation of the deposits to 3.8 Gyr ago.
Mandon has also contributed to the characterisation and selection of the landing site of ExoMars, identifying outcrops of exobiological interest. Furthermore, Mandon as a recognised expert in the reflectance spectroscopy field and Martian geochemistry has already published at this stage of her career 23 papers, with 5 as first author, and 4 in prestigious journals, including important scientific discoveries such as the description of the alteration of the crater floor igneous materials on Mars and the association of these materials with water and their implication for the habitability of the Jezero crater.
Beyond these remarkable research achievements, Mandon has contributed greatly in teaching activities while also serving in NASA jury panels. Mandon has also been dedicated to serving the planetary science community by regularly participating in outreach programs in schools and in the media via press releases.
Lucia Mandon is a talented and aspiring planetary scientist and rightly deserves the Planetary and Solar System Sciences Division’s Outstanding Early Career Scientist Award.