Dr. Melissa Lane is a Senior Scientist at Fibernetics LLC (Lititz, PA), a Participating Scientist on NASA’s Mars Odyssey mission, and a Co-Investigator with NASA’s TREX SSERVI team. She was part of the 2010-2011 ANSMET team that hunted meteorites in Antarctica for the NASA/Smithsonian Institution collections, for which she received the Antarctic Service Medal of the United States.
Lane specializes in remote-sensing studies of Mars, airless moons, and asteroids by comparing their spectral properties to myriad minerals and meteorites she has measured over ultraviolet-visible/near-infrared/mid-infrared wavelengths in the lab at 1 atm as well as under vacuum over a range of temperatures to simulate the surface environments of airless planetary objects.
Her theoretical and experimental research is oriented toward understanding how crystal structure, other mineral properties, particle size, and thermal gradients affect spectral shape. Lane is identifying minerals on planetary bodies and studying their geologic setting in order to interpret their past and present formational environments and how planets/moons/asteroids evolve and weather.
Petrology is a field of science in which scientists study the compositions of rocks and minerals and interpret their geologic history. A common graph petrologists use is the “pyroxene quadrilateral.” These graphs, like photos of space, can reveal an understanding of the remotest parts of the solar system.