CRISM (Compact Reconnaissance Imaging Spectrometer for Mars)
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The Team

Dawn Turney | Education and Public Outreach

Where did you grow up?
Laurel, Maryland

How did you get interested in space exploration?
I grew up in a relatively well lit suburban area, so space exploration wasn’t a main interest of mine until I became a middle school teacher and started learning more about space as a part of the curriculum. The more I learned, the more incredible it was to me and the more I wanted to know!

What’s your educational background?
I have a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Delaware; College of Earth, Oceans, and Environment. I’m currently working on a Master’s of Science degree in Science Education from Montana State University.

What are your hobbies?
Hiking or doing anything outside in nature is what I love most.  I also enjoy road trips, checking out local music or cultural events, and trying out new recipes and restaurants.

What’s your job on CRISM?
I’m an Education/Public Outreach Specialist. My passion in my work is helping people to understand how increasingly important space exploration is to our daily lives here on the ground, and seeing people become excited and curious about knowing more about our amazing universe.

What excites you about exploring Mars?  
I think the exploration and discovery aspects themselves are the most exciting for me.  I love mysteries, and to me there couldn’t be a more exciting or rewarding  detective story than planetary exploration.  It amazes me that we can build and send robots to into harsh and exotic places like Mars. When I look at some of the high resolution close up pictures of the Martian dunes, cliffs, and gullies, it blows me away that we have the capability to take pictures like these of another world! We can do things like find out what minerals make up the surface and what the atmosphere is like, discover clues to the planet’s possible Earth-like past, and collect information that may allow us to visit such an exotic place one day.

What advice would you give to someone like you who wants to get involved in space exploration?
Get started! Everyone can be involved in space exploration. Now more than ever NASA needs citizen scientists. To start exploring the possibilities, check out NASA’s citizen science page: