Janice Bishop

Janice Bishop
Senior Research Scientist, Chair of the Astrobiology group
PhD Chemistry; MS Remote Sensing (Earth Science)
Curriculum Vitae: 
Planetary Geology, Spectroscopy, Mineralogy
Curiosity about how life might have evolved on Mars could help reveal more about our own planet.

Major Awards:

  • 2016- Jackson Award in Clay Science
  • 2015- Humboldt Visiting Scientist Award
  • 2013- Helmholtz International Fellow Award.
  • 2011- Public Service Group Achievement Award to the MRO CRISM Instrument Team for developing the highly capable CRISM instrument, significantly advancing our understanding of the Martian surface, its composition and evolution.
  • 2010- Characterization of “Water on Mars” by the MRO Team selected as one of Science Magazine’s Top Ten Insights of the Decade.
  • 2010- Featured Scientist, “A Day in the Life of an Astronomer” Astronomy Magazine, March issue.
  • 2009- Best Paper Award, IEEE Whispers conference "Hyperspectral Image and Signal Processing: Evolution in Remote Sensing" (co-author), Grenoble, France.
  • 2008- Kavli Fellow; invited to 18th Kavli Frontiers of Science Symposium, Irvine, CA.

Janice Bishop

Dr. Janice Bishop is a chemist and planetary scientist who explores the planet Mars using spectroscopy. Her investigations of CRISM data of Mars are revealing clays and sulfates in the ancient rocks that provide information about the geochemical environment at the time the minerals formed. Dr. Bishop studies the spectral fingerprints of minerals and rocks in the lab in order to generate a spectral library for identification of these in the Martian data. Her research also involves collecting and studying Mars analog rocks and soils at a variety of locations including volcanic islands, cold deserts, hydrothermal regions, acidic aqueous sites, and meteorites which are the only Martian samples available on Earth to date.

Another component of Dr. Bishop’s research is collecting spectra under Mars-like conditions. Spectra of many hydrated minerals change depending on the moisture level in the air and the amount of water molecules adsorbed on the surface or bound in the mineral structure. Understanding the spectral properties of mineral mixtures in the lab is also important for identifying minerals on Mars and Dr. Bishop’s group is preparing and characterizing the spectral properties of several mixture suites.

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Characterization of Martian Surface Mineralogy and Habitability

Characterization of the Martian surface via orbit and landed investigations is proposed here. We will be analyzing data collected by the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) that is currently in orbit at Mars. We are also performing lab analyses that provide ground truthing for the MRO-CRISM data.

Low temperature characterization of hydrohalite and related salts essential to life in the Atacama

We propose to extend an existing project funded by the Astrobiology: Exobiology and Evolutionary Biology program to study cyanobacteria inside Atacama halite pinnacles that will enable characterization of these potential habitats on other planetary bodies.

Investigating the Origin of Layered Outcrops in the Mawrth Vallis Region

The Mawrth Vallis region contains one of the largest outcrops of layered material, largely dominated by phyllosilicate-bearing rocks and adorned by discordant layering and unusual textures. The goal of this project is to determine the origins of these layered outcrops and test whether sedimentary processes may have contributed to their formation.

Investigating the mineralogy at Libya Montes, Mars, determining if carbonates are present, and characterizing the geologic history of the Isidis Planitia region

This project includes five coordinated tasks designed to investigate the composition, character and stratigraphy of the aqueous mineralogy at Libya Montes and revise our understanding of the valley networks along the southern edge of Isidis Basin and the dominant geologic processes that have governed the Isidis Planitia region.