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Abigail Fraeman

Photo of Abigail Fraeman


4800 Oak Grove Drive
M/S 183-301

Pasadena, CA 91109



Curriculum Vitae:

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Member of:

Planetary Geosciences


Abigail Fraeman is broadly interested in the origin and evolution of terrestrial bodies in our solar system, and her work has concentrated on investigating how the complex geologic histories of Mars and its moons are preserved in their rock record.  She specialized in remote sensing with a focus on visible and short wavelength infrared reflectance spectroscopy.  Abigail received a PhD in Earth & Planetary Sciences from Washington University in St Louis and a BS in Physics and in Geology & Geophysics and  Yale University.


  • Ph.D., Earth and Planetary Sciences, Washington University in St. Louis, 2014
  • A.M., Earth and Planetary Sciences, Washington University in St Louis, 2011
  • B.S., Geology & Geophysics, Physics, Yale University, 2009

Professional Experience

  • JPL, research scientist, 2016 – present
  • Caltech, visiting associate in planetary science, 2016 – present
  • Deputy Project Scientist – Mars Science Laboratory, 2019 – present
  • JPL Discipline Program Manager, 2022 - present
  • Co-Investigator – Compact Reconnaissance Imaging Spectrometer for Mars, 2016 – 2023
  • Deputy Project Scientist – Mars Exploration Rover Mission, 2016 – 2019
  • Principal Investigator, Mars Moons eXplorer Participating Scientist Program, “Determining the Composition of Phobos with MMX Datasets,” 2023 - present
  • Keck Institute for Space Studies Workshop Co-Lead – “Revolutionizing Access to the Martian Surface,” 2021
  • Co-Investigator, NASA Habitable Worlds, “Habitability of saponite-rich hydrothermal systems of early Mars,” 2019 – 2022
  • Principal Investigator, NASA Development and Advancement of Lunar Instrumentation, “An Ultra-Compact Imaging Spectrometer for the Lunar Surface: Enabling Volatile Mapping and Unraveling the Moon’s Geologic History,” 2019-2022
  • Co-Investigator, NASA Planetary Data Analysis and Restoration Tools, “An archive of Mars Science Laboratory ChemCam passive visible/near-infrared surface spectra,” 2019-2021
  • Principal Investigator, NASA Mars Data Analysis Program, “Understanding the Geologic Setting and Depositional Environments of Sedimentary Iron Oxide Deposits on Mars,” 2017-2020
  • Co-Investigator, NASA Planetary Data Analysis and Restoration Tools, “Registered and modernized Europa NIMS Dataset,” 2017-2020
  • Principal Investigator, NASA Mars Science Laboratory Participating Scientist Program, “Understanding Iron Oxide Formation in Mt. Sharp & Implications for Past Habitable Environments,” 2016-2020,
  • Caltech, Texaco Prize Postdoctoral Scholar & Keck Institute for Space Studies Prize Postdoctoral Scholar, 2014 – 2016

Community Service

AGU, GSA Member. Reviewer for Icarus, JGR: Planets, Planetary and Space Sciences, and Astronomy & Astrophysics Letter, Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Planetary Science. National Academies Committee on Astrobiology and Planetary Science, Panel on Planetary Protection Classification of Sample Return Missions from Martian Moons. PDS Geosciences Node Advisory Committee. NASA review panel member and external reviewer. Organizing committee: COSPAR 2018, 9th International Conference on Mars Exploration, COSPAR 2022. Program committee: LPSC 2023. Numerous public outreach and engagement activities.

Research Interests

History and evolution of Mars, Phobos and Deimos, Reflectance spectroscopy from the macro- to micro-scale.

Selected Awards

  • NASA Early Career Award (2021)
  • JPL Voyager Award (3x Directorate, 2019)
  • JPL Voyager Award (4x Directorate, 2019)
  • JPL Discovery Award (6x Directorate, 2019)
  • NASA Early Career Public Achievement Medal (2018)
  • JPL Voyager Award (3x & 6x Directorate, 2018)
  • JPL Discovery Award (Mars Exploration Rover Mission, 2017)
  • Keck Institute for Space Students Prize Postdoctoral Fellowship (2014 – 2016)
  • Caltech Geological & Planetary Science Div. Prize Postdoctoral Fellowship (2014 – 2016)
  • NASA Group Achievement Awards (2013, 2015)
  • P.E.O. Scholar Award (2013)
  • Mr. and Mrs. Spencer T. Olin Fellowship for Women in Graduate Study (2012 – 2014)
  • American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting Outstanding Student Paper Award (2012)
  • National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship (2009 -2012)
  • Intel Science Talent Search Finalist (2005)

Selected Publications

  1. Sheppard, R.Y., M.T. Thorpe, A.A. Fraeman, V.K. Fox, and R.E. Milliken, 2021, Merging Perspectives on Secondary Minerals on Mars: A Review of Ancient Water-Rock Interactions in Gale Crater Inferred from Orbital and In-Situ Observations, Minerals, 11(9), doi:10.3390/min11090986."
  2. Bristow, T.F., J. P. Grotzinger, E. B. Rampe, J. Cuadros, S. J. Chipera, G. W. Downs, C. M. Fedo, J. Frydenvang, A. C. McAdam, R. V. Morris, C. N. Achilles, D. F. Blake, N. Castle, P. Craig, D. J. Des Marais, R. T. Downs, R. M. Hazen, D. W. Ming, S. M. Morrison, M. T. Thorpe, A. H. Treiman, V. Tu, D. T. Vaniman, A. S. Yen, R. Gellert, P. R. Mahaffy, R. C. Wiens, A. B. Bryk, K. A. Bennett, V. K. Fox, R. E. Millken, A. A. Fraeman, and A. R. Vasavada, 2021, Brine-driven destruction of clay minerals in Gale crater, Mars, Science, 373(6551), doi:10.1126/science.abg5449.
  3. Edgar, L.A., Fedo, C.M., Gupta, S., Banham, S.G., Fraeman, A.A., and 10 others, 2020. A Lacustrine Paleoenvironment Recorded at Vera Rubin Ridge, Gale Crater: Overview of the Sedimentology and Stratigraphy Observed by the Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity Rover, Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets, 125(3), e2019JE006307.
  4. Fraeman, A.A., and 41 others, 2020. Evidence for a Diagenetic Origin of Vera Rubin Ridge, Gale Crater, Mars: Summary and Synthesis of Curiosity's Exploration Campaign, Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets, in press and available online, doi: 10.1029/2020JE006527.
  5. Fraeman, A.A., and 14 others, 2020. Synergistic ground and orbital observations of iron oxides on Mt. Sharp and Vera Rubin ridge, Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets, in press and available online, doi: 10.1029/2019JE006294.
  6. Frydenvang, J., Mangold, N., Wiens, R., Fraeman, A.A., and 29 others, 2020. The chemostratigraphy of the Murray formation and role of diagenesis at Vera Rubin ridge in Gale crater, Mars, as observed by the ChemCam instrument, Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets, 125(9).
  7. Li, S., Lucey, P.G., Fraeman, A.A., Poppe, A.R., Sun, V.Z., Hurley, D.M., Schultz, P.H. 2020. Widespread hematite at high latitudes of the Moon," Science Advances, 6(36), eaba1940.
  8. L'Haridon, J., Mangold, N., Fraeman, A.A., and 19 others. 2020. "Iron Mobility during Diagenesis as Observed by ChemCam at Vera Rubin Ridge, Gale Crater, Mars," Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets, in press and available online, doi: 10.1029/2019JE006299.
  9. Rampe, E., and 28 others incl. Fraeman, A.A., 2020. Mineralogy of Vera Rubin Ridge from the Mars Science Laboratory CheMin Instrument, Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets, in press and available online, doi: 10.1029/2019JE006306.
  10. Rasmussen, B.P., Calvin, W.M., Ehlmann, B.L., Bristow, T.F., Lautze, N., Fraeman, A.A., DesOrmeau, J.W. 2020. Characterizing Low-Temperature Aqueous Alteration of Mars-Analog Basalts from Mauna Kea at Multiple Scales, American Mineralogist, 105(9).
  11. Haag, J.M., Gibson, M.S., Chen, W., McKinley, I.M., Fraeman, A.A., Mouroulis, P. 2020. Ultra-Compact Imaging Spectrometer Moon (UCIS-Moon) for lunar surface missions: Optical, optomechanical, and thermal design, Imaging Spectrometery XXIV: Applications, Sensors, and Processing, 1150403.
  12. Fraeman, A., 2018. Commentary: Unraveling the history of Meridiani Planum, Mars: New chemical clues from the rim of Endeavour Crater, JGR: Planets, 123, 3.
  13. Johnson, J., and 11 others inc. Fraeman, A., 2018. Bagnold Dunes campaign Phase 2: Visible/near-infrared reflectance spectroscopy of longitudinal ripple sands, GRL, 45, 18.
  14. McMahon, S., and 9 others inc. Fraeman, A., 2018. A Field Guide to Finding Fossils on Mars, JGR: Planets, 123, 5.
  15. Lapotre, M., and 7 others inc. Fraeman, A., 2017. Compositional Variations in Sands of the Bagnold Dunes at Gale Crater, Mars, from Visible-Shortwave Infrared Spectroscopy and Comparison to Ground-Truth form the Curiosity Rover, JGR: Planets, 122, 12.
  16. Ehlmann, B., and 39 others inc. Fraeman, A., 2017. Chemistry, mineralogy, and grain properties of Namib and High dunes, Bagnold dune field, Gale crater, Mars: A synthesis of Curiosity rover observations, JGR: Planets, 122, 12.
  17. Johnson, J., and 14 others inc. Fraeman, A., 2017. Visible/near-infrared spectral diversity from in situ observations of the Bagnold Dune Field sands in Gale Crater, Mars, JGR: Planets, 122, 12.
  18. Arvidson, R., and 13 others inc. Fraeman, A., 2017. Relating geologic units and mobility system kinematics contributing to Curiosity wheel damage at Gale Crater, Mars, Journal of Terramechanics, 73, SI.
  19. Wellington, D., and 9 others inc. Fraeman, A., 2016. Visible to Near-Infrared MSL/Mastcam Multispectral Imaging: Initial Results from Select High-Interest Science Targets with Gale Crater, Mars, American Mineralogist, 102, 6.
  20. Frydenvang, J., and 42 others inc. Fraeman, A., 2017. Diagenetic silica enrichment and late-stage groundwater activity in Gale Crater, Mars, GRL, 44, 10.
  21. Ehlmann, B., and 46 others inc. Fraeman, A., 2016. The Sustainability of Habitability on Terrestrial Planets: Insights, Questions, and Needed Measurements from Mars for Understanding the Evolution of Earth-like Worlds, JGR: Planets, 121, 10.
  22. Fraeman, A., et al., 2016. The Stratigraphy and Evolution of Lower Mt. Sharp from Spectral, Morphological, and Thermophysical Datasets, Journal of Geophysical Research, 121, 9.
  23. Lapotre, M., and 13 others inc. Fraeman, A., 2016. Large wind ripples on Mars: A record of atmospheric evolution, Science, doi: 10.1126/science.aaf3206.
  24. Arvidson, R., and 10 others inc. Fraeman, A., 2016. Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity Rover Megaripple Crossings up to Sol 710 in Gale Crater, Journal of Field Robotics, doi: 10.1002/rob.21647.
  25. Stack Morgan, K., and 14 others inc. Fraeman, A., 2016. Comparing orbiter and rover image-based mapping of an ancient sedimentary environment, Aeolis Palus, Gale crater, Mars, Icarus, doi:10.1016/j.icarus.2016.02.024.
  26. Greenberger, R., and 7 others inc. Fraeman, A., 2015. Imaging Spectroscopy of Geological Samples and Outcrops: Novel Insights from Microns to Meters, GSA Today, doi: 10.1130/GSATG252A.1.
  27. Seelos, K., and 7 others inc. Fraeman, A., 2014. Mineralogy of the MSL Curiosity landing site in Gale crater as observed by MRO/CRISM, Geophysical Research Letters, doi: 10.1002/2014GRL060310.
  28. Arvidson, R., and 25 others inc. Fraeman, A., 2014. Terrain physical properties derived from orbital data and the first 360 sols of Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity rover operations in Gale Crater, Journal Geophysical Research, doi: 10.1002/2013JE004605.
  29. Fraeman, A., et al 2014. Spectral absorptions on Phobos and Deimos in the visible/near infrared wavelengths and their compositional constraints, Icarus, doi: 10.1016/j.icarus.2013.11.021
  30. Grotzinger, J., and 72 others inc. Fraeman, A., 2013. A habitable fluvio-lacustrine environment at Yellowknife Bay, Gale Crater, Mars, Science, doi:10.1126/science.1242777.
  31. Fraeman, A., et al. 2013. A hematite-bearing layer in Gale Crater: mapping and implications for past aqueous conditions, GEOLOGY,doi:10.1130/G43613.1
  32. Fraeman, A., et al., 2012. Analysis of disk-resolved OMEGA and CRISM spectral observations of Phobos and Deimos, Journal of Geophysical Research, doi:10.1029/2012JE004137.
  33. Diniega, S., and 18 others inc. Fraeman, A., 2012. Mission to the Trojan Asteroids: lessons learned during a JPL Planetary Science Summer School mission design exercise, Planetary and Space Science, doi:10.1016/j.pss.2012.11.011.
  34. Ehlmann, B., and 7 others inc. Fraeman, A., 2011. Clay formation environments and potential habitats on early Mars, Nature, doi:10.1038/nature10582
  35. Fraeman, A. and Korenaga, J. 2010. The influence of mantle melting on the evolution of Mars, Icarus, doi:10.1016/j.icaurs.2010.06.030