Current members

Mike Sori, Principal Investigator/Assistant Professor

Mike is an assistant professor and planetary scientist at Purdue working on understanding the solid planets and moons of our Solar System through their geophysics and surface processes.  He earned his B.S. in Mathematics and B.A. in Physics from Duke University in 2008 and his Ph.D. in Planetary Science from MIT in 2014.  He uses numerical models and data from NASA spacecraft in his research, and has been involved with NASA missions such as GRAIL, Dawn, the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, and the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.  Aside from planetary science, Mike enjoys travel and playing with his black lab Apollo.

Kristel Izquierdo, Postdoctoral Researcher

Kristel joined Purdue in Spring 2021 as a postdoctoral researcher.  She is interested in the interior structure, origin, and evolution of the terrestrial planets and our Moon.  During her PhD at the University of Maryland, she used GRAIL data to constrain lunar density anomalies.  She is continuing investigations of the Moon focusing on how lunar gravity anomalies relate to surface and interior processes.  She is also working with Professor Ali Bramson on polar spiral troughs on Mars.  In her free time, she enjoys playing volleyball, eating good food, and playing with her two dogs Limon and Flor.

Stephanie Menten, Graduate Student

Stephanie joined Purdue in 2020 as a PhD student. She earned her B.S. in Geology from North Carolina State University in Spring 2020.  She is interested in planetary ices and volcanism, and her research is focused on understanding the mechanics of cryovolcanism on icy bodies in the outer solar system.  Stephanie is the recipient of Purdue University's Ross Fellowship, which recognizes academic excellence.  In her free time, Stephanie enjoys hiking, yoga, and reading a good book.

Hannah Gibson, Graduate Student

Hannah became a PhD student at Purdue in 2018. She earned her B.S. in Astronomy from the University of Kansas in 2018. She has interests in the connection of surface features on icy moons to their subsurface processes. She uses finite element modeling methods to study the formation of double ridges on Europa. Hannah is co-advised by Professor Brandon Johnson.  When not researching mysterious moons, Hannah plays mandolin and absorbs as many stories as possible.

Apollo, The Lab's Lab

Apollo received his training degree from PetSmart University in Tucson in 2015.  He is interested in testing the strength of planetary regolith with his paws, conducting sample return of launched objects, and exploration of nearby geological landscapes.  He is named after the program that sent humans to the Moon and is therefore very excited to be at Purdue University, Cradle of Astronauts.