Meet the Planet Four Team: Candy Hansen

Today we have the next installment of our Meet the Planet Four Team series, featuring Candy Hansen, principal investigator (PI) of Planet Four.

Image Credit: Planetary Science Institute

Image Credit: Planetary Science Institute

Name: Candice (“Candy”) Hansen-Koharcheck

What is your current position and where/institution?

I’m a Senior Scientist at the Planetary Science Institute

Where are you originally from/where did you grow up?

I was born in Pasadena CA, and grew up near there in Pomona CA.  I got my B.A. in Physics from California State University, Fullerton and my Ph.D. from the University of California, Los Angeles.

What are your research interests/what do you work on?

I work on climate and seasonal processes – on Mars, Triton and Pluto.  I also study the plumes of Enceladus.

In 3 lines explain your PhD thesis?

My PhD thesis was to model the climates of Pluto and Triton.  With my model I can predict when and where the polar caps will form, how warm the surface will be, and what the atmospheric pressure is as a function of time.  These predictions can be compared to observations, to learn about the physical properties of the surface and ices.

Why are you interested in Mars?

I love studying the polar caps of Mars – they are made out of dry ice, and when the ice evaporates in the spring there is lots of action!

 What do you do as Deputy Principal Investigator for HiRISE?

Early in the project I worked a lot on our processes for operating the camera. Now that is all very routine, and I focus on understanding seasonal processes.

What other NASA missions have you been involved in?

I have worked on Voyager, Cassini, Mars Polar Lander and Juno.

What is your favorite movie?

Star Wars of course, because I love science fiction.  Maybe not so obvious – French Kiss, The Dish, and Serenity.

What is your favorite book?

Heinlein’s “Time Enough for Love” is my all-time favorite, but I also like books by Carl Hiassen and John Grisham.

What is the song you currently can’t get out of your head?

Cyndi Lauper’s ‘Girls just wanna have fun’

What three albums would you bring with you to a desert island?

Fleetwood Mac, Linda Ronstadt, and …

Favorite cocktail or beverage?

Corona beer



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