Meenakshi Wadhwa is a planetary scientist and cosmochemist at Arizona State University. She completed her B.S. and M.S. from the Center for Advanced Studies in Geology at Panjab University in India, and a Ph.D. in Earth and Planetary Sciences from Washington University in St. Louis. She did her postdoctoral work at the University of California at San Diego. Thereafter, she was Curator in the Department of Geology at the Field Museum before being appointed as a Professor in the School of Earth and Space Exploration at Arizona State University. At ASU, she was director of the Center for Meteorite from 2006 to 2019 and has served as director of the School of Earth and Space Exploration since 2019. She is also a Distinguished Visiting Scientist and Mars Sample Return Principal Scientist at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. She was awarded the NASA Exceptional Public Service Medal in 2022 for her leadership of the Science Committee of the NASA Advisory Council. She is a recipient of the J. Lawrence Smith medal of the National Academy of Sciences, the Fulbright-Nehru Academic and Professional Excellence Award, the Guggenheim Fellowship, and the Nier Prize of the Meteoritical Society. She is a Fellow of the American Geophysical Union, a Geochemistry Fellow of the Geochemical Society and the European Association of Geochemistry, and a member of the National Academy of Sciences. Asteroid 8356 has been named 8356 Wadhwa in recognition of her contributions to meteoritics and planetary science.

Research Interests

Professor Wadhwa’s research is focused on understanding the timescales and processes involved in the formation and evolution of the Solar System and planets. Her research group is known for developing novel methodologies for the analyses of a variety of stable and radiogenic isotope systems and the application of high resolution chronometers (such as the Al-Mg and Mn-Cr extinct chronometers) for understanding the timescales of accretion and differentiation of planetesimals and the terrestrial planets; processes in the solar protoplanetary disk and on planetesimals; and the abundance and origin of water and other volatiles on rocky bodies in the Solar System. She utilizes a variety of extraterrestrial and terrestrial samples for this research, including asteroidal, lunar, and martian meteorites, as well as samples returned by spacecraft missions (such as NASA’s Apollo and Genesis missions and JAXA’s Hayabusa2 mission).

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Primary Section

Section 15: Geology

Secondary Section

Section 16: Geophysics