Sciences and Exploration Directorate

Christine A Knudson



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


Weng, M. M., E. Zaikova, M. Millan, et al. A. J. Williams, A. C. McAdam, C. A. Knudson, S. R. Fuqua, N. Y. Wagner, K. Craft, S. Kobs Nawotniak, A. Shields, J. Bevilacqua, Y. Bai, S. S. Hughes, W. B. Garry, J. L. Heldmann, D. S. Lim, D. Buckner, P. Gant, and S. S. Johnson. 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]

Roussel, A., A. C. McAdam, H. V. Graham, et al. A. A. Pavlov, C. N. Achilles, C. A. Knudson, A. Steele, D. I. Foustoukos, and S. S. Johnson. 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]

Mcadam, A. C., B. Sutter, P. D. Archer, et al. H. B. Franz, G. M. Wong, J. M. Lewis, J. V. Clark, M. Millan, A. J. Williams, J. L. Eigenbrode, C. A. Knudson, C. Freissinet, D. P. Glavin, J. C. Stern, R. Navarro-González, C. N. Achilles, D. Ming, R. V. Morris, T. F. Bristow, E. B. Rampe, M. T. Thorpe, C. H. House, S. Andrejkovičová, A. B. Byrk, V. K. Fox, K. A. Bennett, S. S. Johnson, P. R. Mahaffy, and C. A. Malespin. 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]

Lewis, J. M., J. L. Eigenbrode, G. Wong, et al. A. C. Mcadam, P. D. Archer, B. Sutter, M. Millan, R. H. Williams, M. Guzman, A. Das, E. Rampe, C. N. Achilles, H. B. Franz, S. Andrejkovicova, C. A. Knudson, and P. R. Mahaffy. 2021. Pyrolysis of Oxalate, Acetate, and Perchlorate Mixtures and the Implications for Organic Salts on Mars Journal of Geophysical Research - Planets [10.1029/2020JE006803]

Jacobson, N. S., B. Fegley, A. C. McAdam, and C. A. Knudson. 2020. Solubility of CO2 in Sodium Silicate Melts ACS Earth and Space Chemistry 4 (11): 2113-2120 [10.1021/acsearthspacechem.0c00223]

Ytsma, C. R., C. A. Knudson, M. D. Dyar, et al. A. C. McAdam, D. D. Michaud, and L. M. Rollosson. 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]

Freissinet, C., C. A. Knudson, H. V. Graham, et al. J. M. Lewis, J. Lasue, A. C. McAdam, S. Teinturier, C. Szopa, E. Dehouck, R. V. Morris, C. A. Malespin, and P. R. Mahaffy. 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]

Wong, G., J. M. Lewis, C. A. Knudson, et al. M. Millan, A. C. Mcadam, J. L. Eigenbrode, S. Andrejkovičová, F. Gómez, R. Navarro-González, and C. House. 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 [10.1029/2019JE006304]

Mcadam, A. C., B. Sutter, P. D. Archer, et al. H. B. Franz, G. Wong, J. M. Lewis, J. L. Eigenbrode, J. C. Stern, C. A. Knudson, J. Clark, S. Andrejkovicova, D. Ming, R. Morris, C. N. Achilles, E. Rampe, T. Bristow, R. Navarro-Gonzalez, P. R. Mahaffy, L. Thompson, R. Gellert, A. Williams, C. House, and S. Johnson. 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 [10.1029/2019JE006309]

Franz, H. B., P. R. Mahaffy, C. R. Webster, et al. G. J. Flesch, E. Raaen, C. Freissinet, S. K. Atreya, C. House, A. C. Mcadam, C. A. Knudson, P. D. Archer, J. C. Stern, A. Steele, B. Sutter, J. L. Eigenbrode, D. P. Glavin, J. M. Lewis, C. A. Malespin, M. Millan, D. W. Ming, R. Navarro-González, and R. E. Summons. 2020. Indigenous and exogenous organics and surface-atmosphere cycling inferred from carbon and oxygen isotopes at Gale crater Nature Astronomy [10.1038/s41550-019-0990-x]

Johnson, S. S., M. Millan, H. Graham, et al. K. C. Benison, A. J. Williams, A. McAdam, C. A. Knudson, S. Andrejkovičová, and C. Achilles. 2020. Lipid Biomarkers in Ephemeral Acid Salt Lake Mudflat/Sandflat Sediments: Implications for Mars Astrobiology 20 (2): 167-178 [10.1089/ast.2017.1812]

Williams, A. J., J. L. Eigenbrode, M. A. Floyd, et al. M. Wilhelm, S. O’Reilly, S. S. Johnson, K. L. Craft, C. A. Knudson, S. Andrejkovičová, J. M. Lewis, A. Buch, D. P. Glavin, C. Freissinet, R. H. Williams, R. Summons, A. C. Mcadam, K. Benison, R. Navarro-González, C. A. Malespin, and P. Mahaffy. 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): [10.1089/ast.2018.1819]

Young, K. E., J. E. Bleacher, A. D. Rogers, et al. H. H. Schmitt, A. C. McAdam, W. B. Garry, P. L. Whelley, S. P. Scheidt, G. Ito, C. A. Knudson, T. G. Graff, L. V. Bleacher, N. Whelley, C. A. Evans, J. M. Hurtado, and T. D. Glotch. 2018. The Incorporation of Field Portable Instrumentation Into Human Planetary Surface Exploration Earth and Space Science 5 24 [10.1029/2018ea000378]

Stern, J. C., B. Sutter, P. D. Archer, et al. J. L. Eigenbrode, A. C. Mcadam, H. B. Franz, C. Knudson, D. W. Ming, G. Wong, C. Freissinet, C. A. Malespin, R. Navarro-Gonzalez, C. Szopa, and P. Mahaffy. 2018. Major Volatiles Evolved From Eolian Materials in Gale Crater Geophysical Research Letters [10.1029/2018gl079059]

Franz, H. B., A. C. McAdam, D. W. Ming, et al. C. Freissinet, P. R. Mahaffy, D. L. Eldridge, W. W. Fischer, J. P. Grotzinger, C. H. House, J. A. Hurowitz, S. M. McLennan, S. P. Schwenzer, D. T. Vaniman, P. D. Archer Jr, S. K. Atreya, P. G. Conrad, J. W. Dottin III, J. L. Eigenbrode, K. A. Farley, D. P. Glavin, S. S. Johnson, C. A. Knudson, R. V. Morris, R. Navarro-González, A. A. Pavlov, R. Plummer, E. B. Rampe, J. C. Stern, A. Steele, R. E. Summons, and B. Sutter. 2017. Large sulfur isotope fractionations in Martian sediments at Gale crater Nature Geoscience [10.1038/ngeo3002]


Richardson, J. A., N. L. Whelley, P. L. Whelley, et al. M. Milazzo, C. A. Knudson, R. Romo, and S. Kobs Nawotniak. 2020. Building Safer and More Inclusive Field Experiences in Support of Planetary Science 2023–2032 NAS Planetary Science and Astrobiology Decadal Survey

Lewis, J. M., J. L. Eigenbrode, A. C. Mcadam, et al. S. Andrejkovicova, C. Knudson, G. Wong, M. Millan, C. Freissinet, C. Szopa, X. Li, and D. M. Bower. 2017. The Preservation and Detection of Organic Matter within Jarosite AGU Fall Meeting

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