Meet the Scientist

Caitlin Headshot.jpg

Pluto Manager at Arkansas Center for Space and Planetary Science

What scientific field do you work in?


Planetary Science

"I honestly just want to play in her lab for a day!"


Could you briefly explain what your job involves?


I manage the Pluto Experimental Simulation Laboratory. I can simulate Pluto surface conditions and mix ices. I then make hypotheses on what those mixtures could tell us about the geophysics on Pluto (like mountain building and glaciers).

Do you have any secret talents?


I host a weekly radio show on the local NPR station about the solar system!

When did you decide you wanted to work as a scientist?


Aged 9, when I joined a local astronomy club.

What's your favourite movie quote?


"We're gonna need a bigger boat!"


Have you taken part in any research? If yes, what was your most exciting project?

Absolutely! (I do work on Pluto, Mars, and Ceres…for now!)

My most exciting project (to date) would probably be my carbon monoxide ice mixtures! Carbon monoxide does some “cool” stuff on Pluto!

What's your favourite food?



What educational pathway did you take to get to where you are now?


2 B.S. degrees from West Virginia University: Physics/Astrophysics and Geology. Interned at the USGS Astrogeology Center in Flagstaff, AZ.

If you could be anyone in the world, for 24 hours, who would you be and why?


Probably Dr. Sarah Hörst, she does some awesome lab work for Titan and exoplanets (I honestly just want to play in her lab for a day!)

"If you are motivated and curious enough...self-learn!"


What was the best thing about your job?


Writing NASA proposals and collaborating with other scientists on ideas!

What was the worst thing about your job?


Writing NASA proposals. I’m kidding. Probably the constant lab maintenance.

"I can stimulate Pluto surface conditions..."

If you could take one thing with you to an island, what would it be and why?


My trumpet.


Do you have any advice for young people who are interested in your career path?


You don’t have to wait to go to college to start learning about what you are passionate about. If you are motivated and curious enough- go to your library or get cheap textbooks and self-learn!

Anything else you'd like to add?


I also do theoretical seismology on the side! That’s also really fun!

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