At last month’s Drake Awards ceremony, the SETI Institute also had the privilege of recognizing Janice Bishop with the Carl Sagan Center (CSC) 2021 Director's Award. Bishop is a senior research scientist at the SETI Institute and Chair of its astrobiology group. She is a chemist and planetary scientist who explores Mars using spectroscopy.
The CSC Director’s Award honors scientists for outstanding achievements in astrobiology, technology, and exploration of life in the universe. Beyond excellence in science, the awardees must have demonstrated their commitment to mentoring and educating the next generation of scientists while sharing the excitement of exploration and discovery with the public.
“She’s a martian from the sky,” said Nathalie Cabrol, Director of the CSC at the SETI Institute. "She's working from orbiters. The excellence of her work is known internationally. But it's not only about excellence in science. It's also her excellence as a mentor. She's an exceptional scientist, but she's also an exceptional human being, and she's also a friend that I appreciate very much."
Bishop’s investigations of CRISM data of Mars are revealing clays and sulfates in the ancient rocks that provide information about the geochemical environment at the time the minerals formed. Bishop studies the spectral fingerprints of minerals and rocks in the lab to generate a spectral library to identify these in the Martian data. Her research also involves collecting and studying Mars analog rocks and soils at various locations, including volcanic islands, cold deserts, hydrothermal regions, acidic aqueous sites, and meteorites which are the only Martian samples available on Earth to date.
“I’m fortunate to have an exciting and interesting job with outstanding colleagues," said Bishop.
for excellence in remote sensing and geochemical analyses on Mars, mentoring numerous students through our REU program, and leadership on the Science Council.
for excellence in research on Dune formation and activity on planetary surfaces, initiating and leading a proposal review process at the SETI Institute, and leadership on the Science Council.
for excellence in developing spectroscopic instruments for planetary missions, innovative field activities with drones, and leadership in analog fieldwork for missions to icy bodies.
To learn more about science at the CSC, explore here.