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Erin Leonard

Photo of Erin Leonard


4800 Oak Grove Drive
M/S 183-301
Pasadena, CA 91109

Member of:

Planetary Geosciences


Erin Leonard graduated with a PhD in Planetary Geology at the University of California Los Angeles in Spring 2019. Her dissertation focuses on geomorphologic mapping of Europa and Enceladus, structural analysis of surface features on these bodies, and physical analogue experiments which replicate conditions on icy satellites. Currently, Erin is the lead author on the new global geologic map of Europa for the United States Geologic Survey (USGS) and is working closely with the Europa Clipper mission. She was also recently Project Manager for the NASA Planetary Science Summer Seminar in which she aided in designing and developing a New Frontiers style mission to Uranus to explore this unique “exoplanet in our backyard”. Erin’s research interests focus on the geology of icy moons in the outer solar system and relating these icy surfaces to the evolution of the body or system. She also has an interest in project development, science, systems, and management.


University of California, Los Angeles - PhD, Planetary Geology

September 2014 - May 2019

University of California, Berkeley - BS, Double Major: Astrophysics and Planetary Science

August 2010 – May 2014

Professional Experience

Project Manager of JPL’s Planetary Science Summer Seminar (PSSS), JPL. Summer 2018. Advisors: Charles Budney and Karl Mitchell

Science Expert for JPL Intern A-Team RPS Ocean/Ice Exploration Study, JPL. Summer 2017. Advisor: Randii Wessen.

Executive Secretary Grant Proposals, NASA. Fall 2016 and Fall 2018.

Planetary Interiors Short Course Scholar and Travel Awardee, International School of Space Science (ISSS), L’Aquila, Italy. Summer 2016.

Graduate Fellow (GF), Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology. Summer 2014, 2015, 2016, and 2017. Advisor: Robert Pappalardo

JPL Visiting Student Researcher (JVSRP), Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology. Fall 2014-Present. Advisor: Robert Pappalardo

Research Interests

Europa, Enceladus, icy satellites, planetary geology

Selected Awards

NASA Group Achievement Award, Europa Global Geologic Map - Awarded Fall 2019

EPSS Excellence in Academic Performance and Research Potential - Awarded Fall 2018

NASA Earth and Space Science Fellowship (Planetary Science) - Selected May 2017, awarded Sept. 2017 – June 2019

Excellence in Teaching Award - Awarded Fall 2016 and Fall 2017 by UCLA

NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Honorable Mention - Awarded Spring 2016

Selected Publications

  1. E. J. Leonard , D. A. Patthoff, and D. A. Senske (in review). The Europa Global Geologic Map. United States Geologic Survey.
  2. E. J. Leonard, R. T. Pappalardo, and A. Yin (2018). Structural analysis of very-high-resolution Galileo images of Europa: Implications for surface evolution. Icarus.
  3. E. J. Leonard, A. Yin, and R. T. Pappalardo (in review). Past thermal state of Enceladus inferred from ice-shell deformation in the Leading Hemisphere. EPSL.
  4. E. J. Leonard, Yin, A., and Pappalardo, R. T. (in review). Ridged Plains on Europa Reveal a Compressive Past. Icarus.
  5. Jarmak, E. J. Leonard, et al. (in review). QUEST: A Mission Concept for a New Frontiers Style Uranus Orbiter. Acta Astronautica.
  6. deJaeger, et al. (in review). The Berkeley sample of Type II supernovae: BVRI light curves and spectroscopy of 55 SNe II. MNRAS.
  7. B. E. Stahl, et al. (in review). Lick Observatory Supernova Search Follow-Up Program: Photometry Data Release of 83 Type Ia Supernovae. MNRAS.