Dr. Shannon Curry, new Principal Investigator of NASA’s Mars Atmosphere and Volatile EvolutioN, or MAVEN, mission. “She brings energy and ideas that will take MAVEN into new science and applications territories, bringing its many types of observations to the attention of new audiences,” said Janet Luhmann, a long-time colleague of Curry’s at UC Berkeley. Credits: UC Berkeley.

Dr. Shannon Curry, planetary scientist and the Deputy Assistant Director of Planetary Science at SSL, is now principal investigator of MAVEN, NASA’s first mission devoted to studying the Martian atmosphere. As of Aug. 31, she succeeds Dr. Bruce Jakosky, from the Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics (LASP) at the University of Colorado Boulder, who served as MAVEN’s PI from its inception through seven years of orbital operations.

Curry joined the MAVEN science team in 2013 after earning her Ph.D. in planetary physics from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. She has spent most of her career studying Mars. She explores how the Sun and changes in its activity contributed to the loss of the Martian atmosphere. “One of our biggest goals will be to study the Martian atmosphere under extreme conditions,” said Curry.

Curry is also excited to see early career scientists use the MAVEN data. “You see graduate students and postdocs get really excited about their discoveries. It’s sort of a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to get to work on data that no one else has ever seen from another planet and get to share that experience with others.”

Read the full NASA article.