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Kristen Luchsinger

Kristen Luchsinger
Graduate Students

Contact Info
AY 209

Expertise: Lunar Volatiles, Planetary Science




I completed my BA at St. John’s College in 2015, following the Great Books liberal arts program unique to St. John’s. While at St. John’s, I completed an REU at NRAO in Charlottesville, VA, where I worked with Dr. Mark Lacy on classifying galaxies with microJansky radio emission. I published my first paper detailing that research in 2015.

I then attended Wesleyan University, which offers a terminal Master’s program in astronomy. While there, I switched focuses to exoplanet atmospheric research with Dr. Seth Redfield. I completed my Master’s thesis, which detailed my contributions to an ongoing research project attempting to use the HYDRA spectrometer on the WIYN 3.5 m telescope at Kitt Peak National Observatory to study Rayleigh scattering in exoplanet atmospheres. My contributions included taking, reducing, and analyzing spectra of three transiting planets.

At NMSU, I worked with Dr. Nancy Chanover on modeling the Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite (LCROSS) mission impact plume. I used a stratified lunar sediment model to replicate the imaging observations taken at Apache Point Observatory in 2009 and reduced using principal component analysis (PCA) techniques by Dr. Paul Strycker at Concordia University Wisconsin. The results of this project will be published in the near future. This work was published in 2021.

I am currently exploring the vertical migration of water ice within seasonally shadowed regions of the lunar poles. I am numerically modeling the thermal environment and the vertical distribution of water ice over time, with the goal of using comparisons between my model predictions and observations to constrain the vertical mixing rate of water ice in lunar polar conditions.


Meetings Attended

  • AAS 2015
  • AAS 2017
  • LPSC 2018
  • DPS 2018
  • LPSC 2019
  • NASA ESF 2019
  • LunGradCon 2019
  • NASA ESF 2020
  • LunGradCon 2020

Curriculum Vitae