Dr. Melissa Rice is an Associate Professor of Planetary Science at Western Washington University, where she has held a joint appointment in the Geology Department and the Physics & Astronomy Department since 2014. She received her Ph.D. from the Department of Astronomy at Cornell University in 2012, and was a NASA Astrobiology Institute Postdoctoral fellow at Caltech from 2012-2014. Her research focuses on the sedimentology, stratigraphy and mineralogy of Mars. She is a collaborator on the active Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity missions, a Participating Scientist on the Mars Science Laboratory rover mission, and a Co-Investigator for the Mastcam-Z investigation in development for the Mars2020 rover mission.

Ph.D. - Cornell University (2012)

B.A. - Wellesley College (2005)

Areas of Expertise

Planetary geology; remote sensing; robotic space exploration

Courses Taught

  • GEOL 211: Physical Geology
  • GEOL 445/545: Planetary Geology
  • GEOL 497H/597H: Remote Sensing of Earth and Planetary Surfaces
  • GEOL 497K/597K: Science Communication (cross-listed with PHYS 497: Science Communication)
  • ASTR 113: Stars, Moons and Planets
  • ASTR 315: The Solar System
  • HNRS 101: The Big Picture (co-taught with professors across the university)
  • ASTR 497: Classic Papers in Planetary Astrophysics (coming in Winter 2019!)

M.S. Rice, S. Gupta, A.H. Treiman, K.M. Stack, F. Calef, L.A. Edgar, J.P. Grotzinger, N. Lanza, L. Le Deit, J. Lasue, K.L. Siebach, A. Vasavada, R.C. Weins, J. Williams (2016), Geologic overview of the Mars Science Laboratory rover mission at the Kimberley, Gale crater, Mars, Journal of Geophysical Research Planets, 121, doi:10.1002/ 2016JE005200.

M.G.A. Lapotre, R.C. Ewing, M.P. Lamb, W.W. Fischer, J.P. Grotzinger, D.M. Rubin, K.W. Lewis, M.J. Ballard, M. Day, S. Gupta, S.G. Banham, N.T. Bridges, D.J. Des Marais, A.A. Fraeman, J.A. Grant, K. E. Herkenhoff, D.W. Ming, M.A. Mischna, M.S. Rice, D.Y. Sumner, A.R. Vasavada, R.A. Yingst (2016), Large wind ripples on Mars: A record of atmospheric evolution, Science, 353, 6294, doi:10.1126/science.aaf3206.

J.P. Grotzinger, S. Gupta, M.C. Malin, D.M. Rubin, J. Schieber, K. Siebach, D.Y. Sumner, K.M. Stack, A.R. Vasavada, R.E. Arvidson, F. Calef III, L. Edgar, W.F. Fischer, J.A. Grant, J. Griffes, L.C. Kah, M.P. Lamb, K.W. Lewis, N. Mangold, M.E. Minitti, M. Palucis, M.S. Rice, R.M.E. Williams, R.A. Yingst, D. Blake, D. Blaney, P. Conrad, J. Crisp, W. E. Dietrich, G. Dromart, K. S. Edgett, R. C. Ewing, R. Gellert, J.A. Hurowitz, G. Kocurek, P. Mahaffy, M. J. McBride, S.M. McLennan, M. Mischna, D. Ming, R. Milliken, H. Newsom, D. Oehler, T.J. Parker, D. Vaniman, R.C. Wiens, S.A. Wilson (2015), Deposition, Exhumation, and Paleoclimatology of an Ancient Lake Deposit, Gale Crater, Mars, Science, 350, 6257, aac7575, doi:10.1126/science.aac7575.

W.H. Farrand, J.R. Johnson, M.S. Rice, A. Wang, J.F. Bell III (2016), VNIR multispectral observations of aqueous alteration materials by the Pancams on the Spirit and Opportunity Mars Exploration, American Mineralogist, 101, 9, doi:10.2138/am-2016-5627.

D.F. Wellington, J.F. Bell III, J.R. Johnson, K.M. Kinch, M.S. Rice, A. Godber, B.L. Ehlmann, A.A. Fraeman, C. Hardgrove, MSL Science Team (2016), Visible to Near-Infrared MSL/Mastcam Multispectral Imaging: Initial Results from Select High-Interest Science Targets within Gale Crater, Mars, American Mineralogist, doi:10.2138/am-2017-5760CCBY.

full list of publications available here