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Caitlin Ahrens

Dr. Caitlin Ahrens will join the Department on Wednesday, September 7, to give a talk titled Shedding Light on the Darkness: Diversity of Lunar PSRS.  Frozen volatile ices are the main objective for the upcoming lunar missions of NASA’s Artemis program. The morphology and origins of these permanently shadowed regions (PSRs) at the lunar poles are still being investigated. We will dive into the mysteries of these PSRs and just how different and challenging these cold regions can be for the Artemis program.

Dr. Caitlin Ahrens' research involves remote sensing of icy surfaces and volatile interactions, including permanently shadowed craters at the lunar poles, focusing on the composition and thermodynamics of ices. Dr. Ahrens' specific expertise focuses on modeling of thermal phases of ices, and applications to geomorphological and geophysical data on icy surfaces, including cryovolcanism. Dr. Ahrens also works on a number
of planetary volcanism projects, including lava flow morphology, caldera formation, and rheology, on Mars, Ceres, Titan, and Pluto. Dr. Ahrens is currently applying LRO Diviner data with a myriad of other remote sensing data to investigate the volatiles at the lunar surface and lunar volcanism.

Dr. Ahrens received her B.S. in Physics/Astrophysics and Geology from West Virginia University in 2015, and a Ph.D. in Space and Planetary Science at the University of Arkansas in 2020. Dr. Ahrens is currently a NASA Postdoctoral Program Fellow at the Goddard Space Flight Center, advised by Dr. Noah Petro. She is also a member of the Diviner Science Team. In 2018, Dr. Ahrens received the Ten Outstanding Young Americans award (presented by the Jaycees) for her efforts in science communication and outreach.