Planetary Science Institute Senior Scientist Candice J. Hansen has been named the 2023 G.K. Gilbert Award winner by the Geological Society of America’s Planetary Geology Division.
The Gilbert award recognizes outstanding contributions to the solution of a fundamental problem of planetary geology in its broadest sense, including planetary geology, geochemistry, mineralogy, petrology, and tectonics, geophysics, and the field of meteoritics. Such contributions may consist either of a single outstanding publication, or a series of publications that have had great influence on the field.
Hansen’s research focuses on seasonal processes on Mars, plumes across the Solar System, and science and art from Juno’s JunoCam visible imager.
“I am so honored to be recognized by my planetary science colleagues,” Hansen said. “I have had the privilege of working in this field for almost 50 years, beginning at the dawn of exploration of our Solar System.”
GSA’s citation said Hansen was honored for “being an excellent mentor, scientist, and human. Community consensus has lauded Candy as a straight talker who puts exceptional effort into encouragement and development of the next generation of scientists and is a terrific leader in public outreach. For all of her scientific achievements, leadership in exploration, advocacy, friendship and mentorship, Candy has been selected as this year’s G. K. Gilbert awardee.”
The citation noted her distinguished career in robotic exploration that began when she joined the Voyager science team straight out of college, where her work includes a pivotal paper describing the discovery of plumes on Neptune’s moon Triton. She was a member of the Cassini UVIS team at Saturn where she contributed to a long list of papers characterizing the composition, structure, and dynamics of Enceladus’s plume.
Her work as Deputy-PI for the High-Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) on the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter focused on smaller-scale seasonal changes which has significantly contributed to the shifting perspective of Mars being a quiescent to a currently active planet. In addition to HiRISE, Hansen contributed to the planning and building instruments for the Mars Polar Lander, the ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter, the Europa Clipper, as well as leading myriad proposals to continue exploring the outer Solar System.
Hansen has served the planetary community by being a constant advocate for the exploration of the outer Solar System with her service as the chair of the NASA’s Outer Planets Assessment Group, Chair of the American Astronomical Society’s Division of Planetary Sciences, along with many other efforts to advocate for ongoing exploration in the outer reaches of our Solar System.
The award is named for G. K. Gilbert, who over 100 years ago clearly recognized the importance of a planetary perspective in solving terrestrial geological problems.
The award consists of an engraved plaque and an appropriate certificate.
Earlier Gilbert award recipients from PSI are M. Darby Dyar, Carle Pieters, William K. Hartmann.
Hansen will be honored at the 2023 GSA meeting with session “T120. Planetary Geology Division’s G.K. Gilbert Award Session in Honor of Dr. Candy Hansen: Planetary Plumes, Volatiles, and Atmospheres” and at the annual PGD banquet.