Planetary Geology, Geophys & Geochem Lab

Marie Julia Barich Henderson


Marie Julia Barich Henderson's Contact Card & Information.
Org Code: 698
Mail Code 698
Greenbelt, MD 20771

Brief Bio

Dr. Marie Henderson (she/her) is a planetary scientist with the University of Maryland Baltimore County and NASA Goddard Space Flight Center since 2021. As a postdoctoral research associate, Dr. Henderson studies volcanic landscapes on the Moon and Mars using an orbit-to-outcrop research methodology. She employs orbital imagery from the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter and the Moon Mineralogy Mapper spectroscopic data. Previously, Dr. Henderson was employed in the private sector at Malin Space Science Systems, specializing in the processing and science dissemination of images taken by the MArs Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) camera on the Mars Science Laboratory Rover. Building from experience in strategic and tactical mission operations of the Curiosity Rover and analog operation tests (JETT5/RISE2), Dr. Henderson strives to prepare astronauts and robotic missions to explore and study volcanic deposits when they return to the Moon through leading analog field campaigns to study the textural and spectral properties of volcanic pyroclasts.

Current Projects

Goddard Instrument Field Team

FRozen Observations for Shadowed Terrain Imaging Experiments (FROSTIE), Principle Investigator

Structural control on gypsum bearing rocks in the Quebradas with implications for Mars, Co-Investigator

Lanzarote Spectral and Textural investigation of Erupted Products (L-STEP), Principle Investigator

Hawaiian Spectral and Textural investigation of Explosive Pyroclasts (HI-STEP): An Analog Study for Potential Lunar Landing Sites, Principle Investigator

Remote, In Situ, and Synchrotron Studies for Science and Exploration 2 (RISE 2)

Planetary Geology

Theme 2: Maximizing Exploration Opportunities: The next humans to set foot on the Moon will take on lofty goals and tight deadlines. To make the most of every moment on the lunar surface, the next generation of explorers will need the best tools and strategies the science community has to offer. RISE2 scientists field-test the geology gear that will empower future astronauts to succeed on the ground – wherever that ground may be.  

Heimdall Camera Co-Investigator

The Heimdall Camera System planned for flight on a future Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) mission. Heimdall is an instrument consisting of four 5-megapixel color CMOS cameras and DVR. Heimdall science objectives are: (1) map a lunar landing site at multiple scales and perspectives for contextual understanding of the geology; (2) characterize in-situ regolith morphology and other properties at the sub-mm scale; (3) characterize regolith/plume interaction during descent; and (4) provide ground-truth for and support development of autonomous navigation capabilities for future lunar surface missions.


Doctor of Philosophy in Planetary Science, Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences, Purdue University August 2021

Dissertation: Remote Sensing as a Window into Planetary Volcanic Eruption Styles

Bachelor of Science in Solar, Earth, and Planetary Sciences, Florida Institute of Technology, December 2013


Postdoctoral Research Associate

University of Maryland Baltimore County/CRESST/Goddard Space Flight Center - Greenbelt, MD

2021 - Present

Graduate Research and Teaching Associate

Purdue University - West Lafayette, IN

2015 - 2021

Assistant to MSL MAHLI camera Principal Investigator, Dr. Ken Edgett

Malin Space Science Systems - San Diego, CA

2014 - 2015

Goddard Space Flight Center Intern

NASA Goddard Space Flight Center - Greenbelt, Maryland

2011 - 2013


2011- 2013                  Student Researcher, Apollo ALSEP DTREM instrument data restoration

May-Aug 2013            Hidden Lunar Impact Basins Researcher

Jun-Aug 2011              NASA Lunar and Planetary Science Academy

Professional Service

NASA Goddard Planetary Science Director’s Council, 2023-Present

Lunar Surface Science Workshop: LSSW 21: Artemis Orbital Observation Science, Notetaker and Facilitator

NASA Specific Action Team: Analog Objectives for Artemis, Executive Secretary: 2022

NASA Specific Action Team: Analog Objectives for Artemis Addendum, Executive Secretary: 2023

NASA Review Panels: Executive Secretary: 2019a, 2019b, 2021, Panelist: 2022

NASA Planetary Data System (NASA PDS): Dataset Reviewer

Lunar Surface Science Workshop: LSSW 8: Structuring Real-Time Science Support of Artemis Crewed Operations: Facilitator

Other Professional Information

Mission and Operations Experience

Heimdall Camera System, Co-investigator, 2023-present

Joint EVA Test Team (JETT5), Science Evaluation Room Member, 2023-2024

Mars Science Laboratory Mission

                 Landing Science Operations Intern, July-December 2012

                 MAHLI camera team member, 2014-2015

                 Participating Scientist Collaborator, MAHLI and MARDI Payload Uplink Lead, 2016-2021

Field Experience

  • Identifying evidence of wet-based glaciation on Mars, Funded by NASA SSW, Assisting Field Scientist, Breiðamerkurjökull, Iceland, June 2023
  • Goddard Instrument Field Team, PI of L-STEP, Lanzarote, Canary Islands, Spain, May 2023
  • RISE2 SSERVI Field Team, Analog Astronaut, Kilbourne, Hole, NM, March 2023
  • Goddard Instrument Field Team, PI of Hi-STEP, Hawaii, September 2022
  • International Volcanology Field School in Kamchatka, Kamchatka, Russia, 2017 
  • Martian analog for chemical weathering in glacial volcanic environments, Funded by NASA SSW, aqueous geochemistry assistant, Three Sisters, OR, 2016 and 2017
  • Andes and Galapagos Volcanology Field Camp, Ecuador, 2016 
  • NASA Planetary Volcanology Workshop, Island of Hawai'i', 2016


2021 - Purdue Dept of Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences, Outstanding Graduate Student

2018 - LEAG Bernard Ray Hawke Next Lunar Generation Career Development Award

2017 - NASA Group Achievement Award - MSL Extended Mission Science & Operations Team

2017 - National Science Foundation, Graduate Research Fellowship Program

2017 - Amelia Earhart Fellowship

2017 - Indiana Space Grant Fellowship

2016 - Indiana Space Grant Fellowship

2016 - Lunar and Planetary Institute Career Development Award

2015 - Project appointed Expert Consultant to the MSL Science Team

2015 - NASA Group Achievement Award - MSL Prime Mission Science & Operations Team

2013 - NASA Group Achievement Award - MSL Science Operations Team

2013 - John Mather (Nobel Prize in Physics, 2006) Nobel Scholar



2024. "Constraining Formation Hypotheses for Irregular Mare Patches on the Moon With Orbital Reflectance Spectra." Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets 129 (2): [10.1029/2023je008108] [Journal Article/Letter]

2023. "Mineralogy of explosive and effusive volcanic edifices in the Marius Hills Volcanic Complex." Icarus 404 115628 [10.1016/j.icarus.2023.115628] [Journal Article/Letter]

2021. "Diagenesis Revealed by Fine‐Scale Features at Vera Rubin Ridge, Gale Crater, Mars." Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets 126 (5): [10.1029/2019je006311] [Journal Article/Letter]

2021. "Determining the Volcanic Eruption Style of Tephra Deposits From Infrared Spectroscopy." Earth and Space Science 8 (2): [10.1029/2019ea001013] [Journal Article/Letter]

2020. "Extraformational sediment recycling on Mars." Geosphere 16 (6): 1508-1537 [10.1130/ges02244.1] [Journal Article/Letter]

2019. "Evidence for plunging river plume deposits in the Pahrump Hills member of the Murray formation, Gale crater, Mars." Sedimentology 66 (5): 1768-1802 [10.1111/sed.12558] [Journal Article/Letter]

2016. "Characteristics of pebble and cobble-sized clasts along the Curiosity rover traverse from sol 100 to 750: Terrain types, potential sources, and transport mechanisms." Icarus 280 72-92 [10.1016/j.icarus.2016.03.001] [Journal Article/Letter]

2016. "Oxidation of manganese in an ancient aquifer, Kimberley formation, Gale crater, Mars." Geophysical Research Letters 43 (14): 7398-7407 [10.1002/2016gl069109] [Journal Article/Letter]

2016. "MAHLI on Mars: lessons learned operating a geoscience camera on a landed payload robotic arm." Geoscientific Instrumentation, Methods and Data Systems 5 (1): 205-217 [10.5194/gi-5-205-2016] [Journal Article/Letter]

2016. "Deconvolution of distinct lithology chemistry through oversampling with the Mars Science Laboratory Alpha Particle X‐Ray Spectrometer." X-Ray Spectrometry 45 (3): 155-161 [10.1002/xrs.2681] [Journal Article/Letter]

2015. "Deposition, exhumation, and paleoclimate of an ancient lake deposit, Gale crater, Mars." Science 350 (6257): [10.1126/science.aac7575] [Journal Article/Letter]

Special Experience


International Observe the Moon Night Volunteer

  • Goddard Space Flight Visitor Center October 23, 2023   

Death Valley Dark Sky Festival

  • Death Valley National Park, February 2023
  • Ubehebe Crater Field Trip Lead

Purdue 50th Anniversary of Apollo 11 Organization Team and EAPS Lead

  • A member of a university-wide action team that planned an event for over 5000 people to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11 on July 20, 2019
  • Prepared displays, activities (including procuring actual Apollo samples from NASA), and trained volunteers in preparation for the event  

Tiger Techs Robotics Team Mentor, Sharon Jr./Sr. High School, Sharon, PA, 2018-2019

  • Help three robotics teams identify problems in space exploration as well as projects to research and assist in preparing for regional and national competitions

School Presentations, 1-3 times a year, 2009-Present

  • Presenting talks and assemblies to K-12 and college students on: preparing for college, earning internships/jobs, and informal discussions about my research or space missions involvement

Oasis Indianapolis Class Leader – Non-profit organization for healthy aging

  • Lecture: 50 years of Lunar Science – July 10, 2019
  • Lecture: Roving Mars: NASA's search for life on the red planet – August 2, 2019

Retirement Community Speaker, Whispering Oaks, Hermitage, PA, June 2, 2018

Ionta Elementary School Speaker, Hermitage, PA

  • Mars Rover Assemblies for Kindergarten - 3rd-grade students, May 2018

Women in STEM Panelist, Cradle of Aviation Museum, Garden City, NY, March 12, 2018

  • Speaker on a panel of women in aviation and aerospace careers as a program for ~175 high-school-aged girls to encourage girls to enter STEM careers.

Hickory High School Career Day Panelist, Hermitage, PA, February 2018

  • Answered questions from about 200 10th grade students about careers and experiences with NASA and pursuing STEM fields

Wabash Area Lifetime Learning Association Instructor, October-November 2017

  • Taught a "Roving Mars" class for senior citizens in the Wabash River region of Indiana

Imagination Station Children's Museum, 2016-2019

  • Organizer and presenter for multiple events focused on planetary science and STEM fields to local children and summer camp groups, Planetary Lead - 2016

Purdue University, Dept of Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences Outreach, 2016-2019

  • Volunteer for multiple events focused on geosciences for local events and school groups

Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, February, 2016

  • During a space-themed concert, I created a booth displaying images from the Curiosity Rover mission and spoke to patrons about the mission and the science being conducted.

Purdue Engineering EPICS Project Reviewer, Spring 2016

  • Review and mentor student engineering projects being developed for museum displays or public events that have a Mars rover focus

Malin Space Science Systems Public Outreach Team, 2014-2015

  • Volunteering time to increase the presence and understanding of MSSS, NASA, and space exploration in the surrounding community.