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Kathleen Craft

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Planetary Scientist; Geophysicist; Astrobiologist
240-228-4962
  • PhD, Geophysics
    2013, Virginia Tech
  • MS, Geophysics
    2008, Georgia Tech
  • MS, Aerospace Engineering
    2006, U. of Maryland College Park
  • BS, Aerospace Engineering
    2001, Virginia Tech

A main focus of my current work is helping to develop NASA's mission to Jupiter's icy moon Europa, Europa Clipper, which will investigate the moon's geology, activity, and habitability. I'm working with the instrument teams and project to develop the science measurement requirements for the mission and am assisting with science-related project activities. I'm also part of the study team for a landed mission on Europa. My research interests include modeling fluid intrusions and fracture mechanics on Ocean Worlds and Ceres and hydrothermal systems on Mars. I'm also interested in biosignatures and determining habitability in different environments. Currently, I'm working to develop a microfluidics sample preparation device for in situ purification of amino acids, DNA/RNA, and other biosignatures and protecting them from salts and other inhibitors for follow-on detections and characterizations. I am the PI for development of a communication capability for a subsurface Europa cryobot. I pursue field work to validate my models and provide insight into the physics of geologic and biological processes both on Earth and that are likely occuring on other worlds. Outside of work, I enjoy running, soccer, flying airplanes, outreach, and fun activities with my 3 kids and husband.

Notable Awards and Leadership

Year(s) Description
2017 - Present DPS/AAS
2017-present Internal Research and Development grants on astrobiological microfluidics sample preparation
2012 - Present GSA
2008 - Present AGU
2016 NAI/APS Lewis and Clark Fund in Astrobiology - Iceland Field Work
2015-2016 JHU APL Innovation Combustion Grant, $50K
2013 Lunar and Planetary Institute Career Development Award
2009-2010, 2010-2011 Virginia Space Grant Awards

Scholarly Publications

Assessing stereophotoclinometry by modeling a physical wall representing asteroid Bennu

Planetary and Space Science, 2020
, (2020), Assessing stereophotoclinometry by modeling a physical wall representing asteroid Bennu, Planetary and Space Science

Compass Final Report: Europa Tunnelbot

NASA, 2019
Oleson, Steven, J. Michael Newman, Andrew Dombard, D'Arcy Meyer-Dombard, Kate Craft, James Sterbentz, Anthony Colozza et al. "Compass Final Report: Europa Tunnelbot." NASA/TP—2019-220054. (2019).

Digital terrain mapping by the OSIRIS-REx mission

Planetary and Space Science, 2019
, (2019), Digital terrain mapping by the OSIRIS-REx mission, Planetary and Space Science

Recovery of Fatty Acids from Mineralogic Mars Analogs by TMAH Thermochemolysis for the Sample Analysis at Mars Wet Chemistry Experiment on the Curiosity Rover

Astrobiology, 2019
, (2019), Recovery of Fatty Acids from Mineralogic Mars Analogs by TMAH Thermochemolysis for the Sample Analysis at Mars Wet Chemistry Experiment on the Curiosity Rover, Astrobiology

Fracturing and flow: Investigations on the formation of shallow water sills on Europa

Icarus, 2016
Kathleen L. Craft, G. Wes Patterson, Robert P. Lowell, Leonid Germanovich, (2016), Fracturing and flow: Investigations on the formation of shallow water sills on Europa, Icarus

Mathematical modeling of diffuse flow in seafloor hydrothermal systems: The potential extent of the subsurface biosphere at mid-ocean ridges

Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 2015
C.D. Meile, B.I. Larson, K.L. Craft, A. Farough, J.L. Houghton, R.P. Lowell, (2015), Mathematical modeling of diffuse flow in seafloor hydrothermal systems: The potential extent of the subsurface biosphere at mid-ocean ridges, Earth and Planetary Science Letters

Boundary layer models of hydrothermal circulation on Mars and its relationship to geomorphic features

Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets, 2012
Robert P. Lowell, Kathleen L. Craft, (2012), Boundary layer models of hydrothermal circulation on Mars and its relationship to geomorphic features, Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets

A boundary layer model for submarine hydrothermal heat flows at on-axis and near-axis regions

Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems, 2009
Kathleen L. Craft, Robert P. Lowell, (2009), A boundary layer model for submarine hydrothermal heat flows at on-axis and near-axis regions, Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems

Galfenol tactile sensor array and visual mapping system

Proceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering, 2006
Alison Flatau, Kathleen Hale, (2006), Galfenol tactile sensor array and visual mapping system, Proceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering