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Dr. Michelle Thompson

Associate Professor Dr. Michelle Thompson
Curriculum Vitae
Associated website(s):

Google Scholar , Lab Website , Planetary Sciences


  • 2016  PhD, Planetary Sciences, University of Arizona
  • 2013  MS, Planetary Sciences, University of Arizona
  • 2011  BS, Geological Engineering, first class honors, Queen's University
  • 2011  BS, Biology, with distinctions, Queen's University

Research Interests
I am interested in understanding the alteration of planetary materials after their formation, specifically the evolution of airless body surfaces. I study these phenomena using a combination of experimental techniques and returned sample analyses. I use advanced transmission electron microscopy methods, including experimental in situ techniques to answer my research questions. This work is directly applicable to samples already returned by the Apollo and Hayabusa missions, and is relevant for the upcoming OSIRIS-REx and Hayabusa2 missions.

Selected Honors

  • 2017 NASA Early Career Fellowship
  • 2016   Geological Society of America Dwornik Student Paper Award, Lunar and Planetary Science Conference
  • 2016   Joseph Goldstein Scholar Award from the Microanalysis Society
  • 2014   Lunar and Planetary Institute Career Development Award


  • Thompson, M.S. , Keller, L.P., Christofferson, R., Loeffler, M.J., Morris, R.V., and Rahman, Z. 2018. Spectral and chemical effects of simulated space weathering of the Murchison CM2 carbonaceous chondrite. Icarus (in preparation)
  • Miller, K.E., Lauretta, D.S., Berger, E.L., Thompson, M.S. , Zega, T.J., and Jackson, K. 2018. Formation of Copper Sulfides in the R Chondrites. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta (in preparation).
  • Thompson, M.S. , Zega, T.J., and Howe, J.Y. 2017. In situ experimental formation and growth of Fe nanoparticles and vesicles in lunar soil. Meteoritics and Planetary Science . 52 : 413-427 (Cover).
  • Thompson, M.S. , Zega, T.J., Becerra, P., Keane, J.T., and Byrne, S. 2016a. The Oxidation State of Nanophase Fe Particles in Lunar Soil: Implications for Space Weathering. Meteoritics and Planetary Science 51 : 1082-1095.
  • Bolser, D., Zega, T.J., Asaduzzaman, A., Bringuier, S., Simon, S., Grossman, L., Thompson, M.S., and Domanik, K.J. 2016. Microstructural analysis of Wark-Lovering Rims in the Allende and Axtell CV3 chondrites: Implications for high-temperature nebular processes. Meteoritics and Planetary Science 51 : 743-756.
  • Thompson, M.S., Christofferson, R., Zega, T.J., and Keller, L.P. 2014. Microchemical and structural evidence for space weathering in soils from asteroid Itokawa. Earth, Planets and Space 66 :89.

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