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Shannon MacKenzie

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Planetary scientist; Physicist
  • PhD, Physics
    2017, University of Idaho
  • MSc, Physics
    2015, University of Idaho
  • BSc, Physics
    2012, University of Louisville

I am a planetary scientist interested in the creation and redistribution of sediments. My current research focuses on identifying and classifying sediments on the surface of Titan, Saturn's largest moon, using data from three Cassini instruments: RADAR, ISS, and VIMS. I'm also interested in scattering processes at work in Titan's atmosphere and the use of radiative transfer modeling to understand how they interfere with remote sensing data. The potentially habitable and inhabited environments of the icy satellites, particularly Titan and Enceladus, drive my interest in astrobiology, specifically how material availabilities affect what chemistries--be they abiotic, prebiotic, or biotic--are possible. Also, using data from the Earth satellite SMAP, I'm investigating the feasibilty of using microwave radiometers as volcanic event detectors at other bodies in the solar system (e.g. Venus, Titan, Pluto).

Notable Awards and Leadership

Year(s) Description
2018, 2020 DPS SOC
2014-2017 NASA Earth and Space Sciences Fellowship
2013 Idaho Space Grant Consortium Fellowship
2011 Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship
2019-current Network for Ocean Worlds Steering Committee
2020-current Network for Life Detection Steering Committee
2018-current NASA grant review panelist

Scholarly Publications

Selection and Characteristics of the Dragonfly Landing Site near Selk Crater, Titan

The Planetary Science Journal, 2021
Ralph D. Lorenz, Shannon M. MacKenzie, Catherine D. Neish, Alice Le Gall, Elizabeth P. Turtle, Jason W. Barnes, Melissa G. Trainer, Alyssa Werynski, Joshua Hedgepeth, Erich Karkoschka, (2021), Selection and Characteristics of the Dragonfly Landing Site near Selk Crater, Titan, The Planetary Science Journal , 2, 1, 24, https://doi.org/10.3847/psj/abd08f

Considering intergroup emotions to improve diversity and inclusion in the geosciences

Journal of Geoscience Education, 2021
Viranga Perera, Chris Mead, Katrien J. van der Hoeven Kraft, Sabine Stanley, Regupathi Angappan, Shannon MacKenzie, Ankit Barik, Sanlyn Buxner, (2021), Considering intergroup emotions to improve diversity and inclusion in the geosciences, Journal of Geoscience Education , 1--10, https://doi.org/10.1080/10899995.2021.1881863

Solving the Alhazen–Ptolemy Problem: Determining Specular Points on Spherical Surfaces for Radiative Transfer of Titan’s Seas

The Planetary Science Journal, 2021
William J. Miller, Jason W. Barnes, Shannon M. MacKenzie, (2021), Solving the AlhazentextendashPtolemy Problem: Determining Specular Points on Spherical Surfaces for Radiative Transfer of Titan's Seas, The Planetary Science Journal , 2, 2, 63, https://doi.org/10.3847/psj/abe4dd

The Enceladus Orbilander Mission Concept: Balancing Return and Resources in the Search for Life

The Planetary Science Journal, 2021
Shannon M. MacKenzie, Marc Neveu, Alfonso F. Davila, Jonathan I. Lunine, Kathleen L. Craft, Morgan L. Cable, Charity M. Phillips-Lander, Jason D. Hofgartner, Jennifer L. Eigenbrode, Jr. J. Hunter Waite, Christopher R. Glein, Robert Gold, Peter J. Greenauer, Karen Kirby, Christopher Bradburne, Samuel P. Kounaves, Michael J. Malaska, Frank Postberg, G. Wesley Patterson, Carolyn Porco, Jorge I. Núñez, Chris German, Julie A. Huber, Christopher P. McKay, Jean-Pierre de Vera, John Robert Brucato, Linda J. Spilker, (2021), The Enceladus Orbilander Mission Concept: Balancing Return and Resources in the Search for Life, The Planetary Science Journal

The root of anomalously specular reflections from solid surfaces on Saturn’s moon Titan

Nature Communications, 2020
Jason D. Hofgartner, Alexander G. Hayes, Donald B. Campbell, Jonathan I. Lunine, Gregory J. Black, Shannon M. MacKenzie, Samuel P. D. Birch, Charles Elachi, Randolph D. Kirk, Alice Le Gall, Ralph D. Lorenz, Stephen D. Wall, (2020), The root of anomalously specular reflections from solid surfaces on Saturn’s moon Titan, Nature Communications

Prospects for Detecting Volcanic Events with Microwave Radiometry

Remote Sensing, 2020
Shannon M. MacKenzie, Ralph D. Lorenz, (2020), Prospects for Detecting Volcanic Events with Microwave Radiometry, Remote Sensing , 12, 16, 2544, https://doi.org/10.3390/rs12162544

The case for seasonal surface changes at Titan’s lake district

Nature Astronomy, 2019
Shannon M. MacKenzie, Jason W. Barnes, Jason D. Hofgartner, Samuel P. D. Birch, Matthew M. Hedman, Antoine Lucas, Sebastien Rodriguez, Elizabeth P. Turtle, Christophe Sotin, (2019), The case for seasonal surface changes at Titan's lake district, Nature Astronomy , 3, 6, 506--510, https://doi.org/10.1038/s41550-018-0687-6

A Thermal Inertia Map of Titan

Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets, 2019
Shannon M. MacKenzie, Juan M. Lora, Ralph D. Lorenz, (2019), A Thermal Inertia Map of Titan, Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets , 124, 7, 1728--1742, https://doi.org/10.1029/2019je005930

Texture and Composition of Titan's Equatorial Sand Seas Inferred From Cassini SAR Data: Implications for Aeolian Transport and Dune Morphodynamics

Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets, 2019
A. Lucas, S. Rodriguez, F. Lemonnier, A. Le Gall, S. MacKenzie, C. Ferrari, P. Paillou, C. Narteau, (2019), Texture and Composition of Titan's Equatorial Sand Seas Inferred From Cassini SAR Data: Implications for Aeolian Transport and Dune Morphodynamics, Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets , https://doi.org/10.1029/2019je005965

Comparing Structure Stability between Earth and Subsurface Ocean on Titan using Molecular Dynamics Simulation

Biophysical Journal, 2018
Kyle Martins, Shannon MacKenzie, Jason Barnes, F. Marty Ytreberg, (2018), Comparing Structure Stability between Earth and Subsurface Ocean on Titan using Molecular Dynamics Simulation, Biophysical Journal, 114, 3, 528A

Morphological evidence that Titan's southern hemisphere basins are paleoseas

Icarus, 2018
S. P. D. Birch, A. G. Hayes, P. Corlies, E. R. Stofan, J. D. Hofgartner, R. M. C. Lopes, R. D. Lorenz, J. I. Lunine, S. M. MacKenzie, M. J. Malaska, C. A. Wood, Cassini RADAR Team, (2018), Morphological evidence that Titan's southern hemisphere basins are paleoseas, Icarus, 310, 140-148

Spherical Radiative Transfer in C plus plus (SRTC plus plus ): A Parallel Monte Carlo Radiative Transfer Model for Titan

Astronomical Journal, 2018
Jason W. Barnes, Shannon M. MacKenzie, Eliot F. Young, Laura E. Trouille, Sebastien Rodriguez, Thomas Cornet, Brian K. Jackson, Mate Adamkovics, Christophe Sotin, Jason M. Soderblom, (2018), Spherical Radiative Transfer in C plus plus (SRTC plus plus ): A Parallel Monte Carlo Radiative Transfer Model for Titan, Astronomical Journal, 155, 6

Titan's Meteorology Over the Cassini Mission: Evidence for Extensive Subsurface Methane Reservoirs

Geophysical Research Letters, 2018
E. P. Turtle, J. E. Perry, J. M. Barbara, A. D. Del Genio, S. Rodriguez, S. Le Mouelic, C. Sotin, J. M. Lora, S. Faulk, P. Corlies, J. Kelland, S. M. MacKenzie, R. A. West, A. S. McEwen, J. I. Lunine, J. Pitesky, T. L. Ray, M. Roy, (2018), Titan's Meteorology Over the Cassini Mission: Evidence for Extensive Subsurface Methane Reservoirs, Geophysical Research Letters, 45, 11, 5320-5328

COMPOSITIONAL SIMILARITIES AND DISTINCTIONS BETWEEN TITAN'S EVAPORITIC TERRAINS

Astrophysical Journal, 2016
S. M. MacKenzie, Jason W. Barnes, (2016), COMPOSITIONAL SIMILARITIES AND DISTINCTIONS BETWEEN TITAN'S EVAPORITIC TERRAINS, Astrophysical Journal, 821, 1

Structure of Titan's evaporites

Icarus, 2016
D. Cordier, T. Cornet, J. W. Barnes, S. M. MacKenzie, T. Le Bahers, D. Nna-Mvondo, P. Rannou, A. G. Ferreira, (2016), Structure of Titan's evaporites, Icarus, 270, 41-56

THEO concept mission: Testing the Habitability of Enceladus's Ocean

Advances in Space Research, 2016
Shannon M. MacKenzie, Tess E. Caswell, Charity M. Phillips-Lander, E. Natasha Stavros, Jason D. Hofgartner, Vivian Z. Sun, Kathryn E. Powell, Casey J. Steuer, Joseph G. O'Rourke, Jasmeet K. Dhaliwal, Cecilia W. S. Leung, Elaine M. Petro, J. Judson Wynne, Samson Phan, Matteo Crismani, Akshata Krishnamurthy, Kristen K. John, Kevin DeBruin, Charles J. Budney, Karl L. Mitchell, (2016), THEO concept mission: Testing the Habitability of Enceladus's Ocean, Advances in Space Research, 58, 6, 1117-1137

Possible temperate lakes on Titan

Icarus, 2015
Graham Vixie, Jason W. Barnes, Brian Jackson, Sebastien Rodriguez, Stephane Le Mouelic, Christophe Sotin, Shannon MacKenzie, Paul Wilson, (2015), Possible temperate lakes on Titan, Icarus, 257, 313-323

Spectral properties of Titan's impact craters imply chemical weathering of its surface

Geophysical Research Letters, 2015
C. D. Neish, J. W. Barnes, C. Sotin, S. MacKenzie, J. M. Soderblom, S. Le Mouelic, R. L. Kirk, B. W. Stiles, M. J. Malaska, A. Le Gall, R. H. Brown, K. H. Baines, B. Buratti, R. N. Clark, P. D. Nicholson, (2015), Spectral properties of Titan's impact craters imply chemical weathering of its surface, Geophysical Research Letters, 42, 10, 3746-3754

Evidence of Titan's climate history from evaporite distribution

Icarus, 2014
Shannon M. MacKenzie, Jason W. Barnes, Christophe Sotin, Jason M. Soderblom, Stephane Le Mouelic, Sebastien Rodriguez, Kevin H. Baines, Bonnie J. Buratti, Roger N. Clark, Phillip D. Nicholson, Thomas B. McCord, (2014), Evidence of Titan's climate history from evaporite distribution, Icarus, 243, 191-207