Sciences and Exploration Directorate

Christine A Knudson


Christine A Knudson's Contact Card & Information.
Phone: 301.614.6585
Org Code: 699
Mail Code 699
Greenbelt, MD 20771

Brief Bio

Christine Knudson is a geologist with a background in geochemistry and volcanology working on site in the mineralogy and geochemical laboratories in the Planetary Environments Laboratory group at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center. She works primarily on tasks related to the Sample Analysis at Mars instrument on the Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity Rover and she is also involved in field work which in part supports Mars related analog studies.

Current Projects

Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) on the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) Curiosity Rover





Sr. Faculty Specialist

University of Maryland / CRESST - NASA Goddard Space Flight Center Greenbelt, Maryland

February 2015 - Present

Teaching Assistant, Department of Geology and Environmental Geosciences

Northern Illinois Univeristy - DeKalb, IL

August 2012 - May 2014


  • M.S. Geology, 2014, Northern Illinois Univeristy, DeKalb, IL
  • Thesis: Magmatic water content of Pacaya Volcano, Guatemala, determined from a thermodynamic model for the plagioclase – liquid hygrometer
  • Advisor: Dr. James Walker
  • B.S. Geology and Environmental Geosciences, 2012, Northern Illinois Univeristy, DeKalb, IL

Selected Publications


2024. "Environmental Changes Recorded in Sedimentary Rocks in the Clay-Sulfate Transition Region in Gale Crater, Mars: Results from the Sample Analysis at Mars-Evolved Gas Analysis Instrument onboard the Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity Rover." Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets [Journal Article/Letter]

2023. "Spectroscopic comparisons of two different terrestrial basaltic environments: Exploring the correlation between nitrogen compounds and biomolecular signatures." Icarus 402 115626 [10.1016/j.icarus.2023.115626] [Journal Article/Letter]

2022. "Life Underground: Investigating Microbial Communities and Their Biomarkers in Mars‐Analog Lava Tubes at Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve." Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets 127 (11): [10.1029/2022je007268] [Journal Article/Letter]

2022. "Diagnostic biosignature transformation under simulated martian radiation in organic-rich sedimentary rocks." Frontiers in Astronomy and Space Sciences 9 [10.3389/fspas.2022.919828] [Journal Article/Letter]

2022. "Evolved gas analyses of sedimentary rocks from the Glen Torridon Clay-Bearing Unit, Gale crater, Mars: Results from the Mars Science Laboratory Sample Analysis at Mars Instrument Suite." Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets 127 (9): e2022JE007179 [10.1029/2022JE007179] [Journal Article/Letter]

2021. "Pyrolysis of Oxalate, Acetate, and Perchlorate Mixtures and the Implications for Organic Salts on Mars." Journal of Geophysical Research - Planets [Full Text] [10.1029/2020JE006803] [Journal Article/Letter]

2020. "Solubility of CO2 in Sodium Silicate Melts." ACS Earth and Space Chemistry 4 (11): 2113-2120 [10.1021/acsearthspacechem.0c00223] [Journal Article/Letter]

2020. "Accuracies and detection limits of major, minor, and trace element quantification in rocks by portable laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy." Spectrochimica Acta Part B: Atomic Spectroscopy 171 [10.1016/j.sab.2020.105946] [Journal Article/Letter]

2020. "Benzoic Acid as the Preferred Precursor for the Chlorobenzene Detected on Mars: Insights from the Unique Cumberland Analog Investigation." The Planetary Science Journal 1 (2): 41 [10.3847/psj/aba690] [Journal Article/Letter]

2020. "Detection of reduced sulfur on Vera Rubin ridge by quadratic discriminant analysis of volatiles observed during evolved gas analysis." Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets 125 (8): e2019JE006304 [Full Text] [10.1029/2019JE006304] [Journal Article/Letter]

2020. "Constraints on the Mineralogy and Geochemistry of the Vera Rubin ridge, Gale Crater, Mars, from Mars Science Laboratory Sample Analysis at Mars Evolved Gas Analyses." Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets [Full Text] [10.1029/2019JE006309] [Journal Article/Letter]

2020. "Indigenous and exogenous organics and surface-atmosphere cycling inferred from carbon and oxygen isotopes at Gale crater." Nature Astronomy [Full Text] [10.1038/s41550-019-0990-x] [Journal Article/Letter]

2020. "Lipid Biomarkers in Ephemeral Acid Salt Lake Mudflat/Sandflat Sediments: Implications for Mars." Astrobiology 20 (2): 167-178 [10.1089/ast.2017.1812] [Journal Article/Letter]

2019. "Recovery of Fatty Acids from Mineralogic Mars Analogs by TMAH Thermochemolysis for the Sample Analysis at Mars Wet Chemistry Experiment on the Curiosity Rover." Astrobiology 19 (4): [Full Text] [10.1089/ast.2018.1819] [Journal Article/Letter]

2018. "The Incorporation of Field Portable Instrumentation Into Human Planetary Surface Exploration." Earth and Space Science 5 24 [10.1029/2018ea000378] [Journal Article/Letter]

2018. "Major Volatiles Evolved From Eolian Materials in Gale Crater." Geophysical Research Letters [Full Text] [10.1029/2018gl079059] [Journal Article/Letter]

2017. "Large sulfur isotope fractionations in Martian sediments at Gale crater." Nature Geoscience [10.1038/ngeo3002] [Journal Article/Letter]


2020. "Building Safer and More Inclusive Field Experiences in Support of Planetary Science." 2023–2032 NAS Planetary Science and Astrobiology Decadal Survey [Journal Article/Letter]

2017. "The Preservation and Detection of Organic Matter within Jarosite." AGU Fall Meeting [Full Text] [Proceedings]

Professional Societies

Geological Society of America

2012 - Present

Professional Service

NASA Goddard Association of Postdoctoral Scholars (NGAPS+) Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Subcommittee Member (2021)


2017    NASA Group Achievement Award – MSL Extended Mission-1 Science and Operations Team

Selected Public Outreach

USA Science & Engineering Fest

May 2018 - May 2018

Explore @ NASA Goddard Event

October 2015 - October 2015


September 2021 - September 2021

Women’s History Month: @NASAEarth Instagram, X, and Facebook

April 2024 - April 2024

Christine Knudson (699/CRESST/UMD) is one of the scientists featured in a social media post on @NASAEarth accounts (Instagram, X, and Facebook) for Women's History Month (#WHM). The post features examples of GIFT and RISE2 fieldwork. Sofie Bates (130/eMITS) and Jocelyn Argueta (JPL) are the @NASAEarth account leads, and Caela Barry (690/ADNET) helped to put the content together.

@NASAGoddard, NASA Experts Answer Instagram Post

September 2022 - September 2022

Christine Knudson (699/CRESST/UMD) was featured in a social media post on the @NASAGoddard Instagram account celebrating the 10 year anniversary of the Curiosity rover landing on Mars. Christine responded to questions from the public in the comments.