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Sarah Deitrick is an early career Lunar Geoscientist on the Jacobs-JETS contract within the Astromaterials Research and Exploration Science (ARES) Division at NASA Johnson Space Center (JSC).

She manages JSC’s Simulant Development Lab where she leads the recipe development, production, analysis, and testing of planetary regolith simulants as well as distributes simulants for equipment and In-Situ Resource Utilization (ISRU) testing.

Our process to determine safety hazards on the lunar terrain includes creating slope maps to help determine the safest places to land and to place a base. We also use high-resolution visible imagery down to a half a meter per pixel (which is very high resolution) and for orbital imagery to manually count and locate boulders on the surface of the moon down to 50 centimeters in size. We do this to create rock distribution maps of specific sites on the moon. These maps help determine the best places to land that avoid large boulders because they can get up to 30 meters in diameter, which is very dangerous and you wouldn't want to land near those boulders.

Sarah Deitrick
Jacobs Lunar Geoscientist and Simulant Specialist

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tons of planetary regolith simulant she’s provided for various testing needs

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years of being fascinated by our Solar System and the Universe

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years of playing piano

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 articles published articles for NASA’s Earth Observatory highlighting astronaut photography

Sarah is an active member of JSC’s Lunar Response Team where she educates and advises various teams (xEMU, xEVA, 3D visualization, etc.) about the characteristics of the lunar surface. She also participates in lunar landing site selection and analysis for Artemis 3, human EVA and robotic traverse planning, surface hazard analysis, and site planning for a human lunar base, all of which require data analysis and manipulation using GIS software.

She received a B.S. in Planetary Geoscience from Arizona State University and is currently pursuing her M.S. in Space Resources from the Colorado School of Mines (CSM). For her graduate work at CSM she is conducting a landing site selection for Lockheed Martin’s McCandless Lunar Lander within a Permanently Shadowed Region at the lunar south pole and helping to create a model for automated landing site selection. The work that I have been involved in both at JSC and CSM have given me valuable collaboration, teamwork, and communication experience by successfully working with team members across the country and across the world.

Sarah is passionate about enabling human exploration of space and working at Jacobs is allowing her the opportunity to do just that. Through her time at Jacobs, she hopes to broaden her knowledge of science operations so she can better support and help make an impact on future exploration missions to the Moon and other deep space destinations.