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Meet the Team

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Kirsten Fristad
Headshot of Kirsten Fristad

What is your role in the SAM project?
I am studying the organics found in Mars Analogue rocks and I organized the SAM Team contribution to AMASE 06. 

What about SAM do you find most interesting? Most challenging?
The most interesting and most challenging part of my involvement with SAM is understanding the organic geochemistry of rocks on Earth and on Mars.  I have had to learn a lot of organic chemistry and it can be very difficult to make sense of our complex data.

Have you worked on other missions or flight instruments? If so which ones?
This is my first mission!  I hope I will get the chance to work on others.

What kind/level of education do you have?
B.A. in Geology and Physics & Astronomy from Macalester College

What are your favorite things to do outside of work?
I enjoy having dinner parties with my friends, backpacking in extreme parts of the world and going for leisurely drives in the country.

Kirsten Fristad here again. I'm privileged and excited to be back writing Notes from the Field on AMASE 07. I am a planetary scientist working in the Sample Analysis on Mars (SAM) Lab at the Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland where I have been for the last year and a half. I graduated from Macalester College in 2005 with a major in geology and core in astronomy knowing I wanted to pursue a research career in planetary science. Through summer internships with several planetary scientists, I developed a background in analyzing martian and lunar planetary remote sensing data and Mars analog field work in Alaska. Over the last year I have continued to organize the Goddard/SAM Team contribution to AMASE, conducted organic analyses of AMASE samples, designed and built new field hardware and participated in two other expeditions in Utah and the Mojave.

Following AMASE 07, I will be staying on in Norway as a Fulbright Scholar to begin graduate work at the University of Oslo. I am very much looking forward to exploring more of this beautiful country, reconnecting with the country of my ancestors and filling up on pickled herring and lefse!

Kirsten Fristad
NASA Goddard Space Flight Center