Ryan Hendrickson

Planetary Protection Engineer

Office: 818-354-4114


Ryan received his Bachelor’s Degree is Microbiology from California Polytechnic University San Luis Obispo in 2011 and his Masters in Science Education at California State University in 2014. He is currently completing his MBA at Indiana University. Ryan has worked on the Mars 2020 mission and was the Planetary Protection lead for the InSight Mission. Ryan is currently the Planetary Protection lead for Europa Clipper.

Research Interests

  • Planetary Protection

  • Astrobiology

  • Spacecraft associated microbial populations.

Professional Experience

October 2015 – Present, Planetary Protection Engineer, Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

August 2015-October 2015, Research Associate II, Roka Bioscience, San Diego, CA.

January 2015-August 2015, Lab Support Assistant, Cibus, San Diego, CA.

September 2014-January 2015, Laboratory Assistant, Valicor Nutraceuticals, San Marcos, CA.

June 2014-August 2014, STEM Teacher and Research (STAR) Intern, JPL.

June 2013-August 2013, STEM Teacher and Research (STAR) Intern, JPL.

August 2011-December 2011, Research Assistant, Department of Microbiology, University of Hawaii Manoa.

October 2008-June 2011, Research Assistant, Department of Biology, California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo.

June 2010-June 2011, Research Assistant, Department of Biology, California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo.

May 2010-January 2011, Intern, San Luis Obispo Public Health Lab.

January 2009-June 2009, Research Assistant, Department of Biology, California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo.


2022 (expected), M.B.A., Indiana University

2014, M.A. Science Education, California Statue University, Northridge

2011, B.S. Microbiology, California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo.

Selected Awards

JPL Team Award - COVID Surface Testing Team Award, For significant effort to implement a bio-analytical method for the identification and quantitative determination of COVID-19 virus on various surfaces, Aug 2020

Voyager Award, For outstanding leadership of the Europa Clipper Planetary Protection team in developing hardware specific Planetary Protection Implementation Plans, Jun 2020

Explorer Award, For exceptional achievement in system level Planetary Protection implementation and management during InSight's ATLO 2.0 at Lockheed Martin, Aug 2019

Group Achievement Award - InSight Planetary Protection Implementation Team, For outstanding Planetary Protection execution of InSight ATLO 2.0 and launch operations, Aug 2019

Team Bonus Award - InSight Planetary Protection 2.0 Launch Operations, Successful Completion of InSight 2.0 Planetary Protection Launch Operations Campaign, Aug 2019

Team Bonus Award, For successfully devising and generating a destructive assay technique for verifying the bioburden for the Mars 2020 Fairing Acoustic Panel, April 2017

Team Bonus Award - M2020 Planetary Protection Barcode Analysis Team, For an outstanding process improvement by devising a methodology to incorporate bioburden assays in real-time in the PPEL, Apr 2017

Selected Publications

Clement, B. G., Benardini, J. N., Hendrickson, R. C., Klonicki, E. F., & II, A. L. S. (2021). Planetary Protection Conventions for Landed Missions to Ocean Worlds. Bulletin of the AAS, 53(4). https://doi.org/10.3847/25c2cfeb.078bd352

Hendrickson, R. Stott, K. Klonicki, E. Cruz, S., Clement, B. Ballarotto, M. Lalime, E. Dooley, J. “Europa Clipper Planetary Protection Status.” 43rd COSPAR Scientific Assembly; Sydney/Virtual. January 28, 2021.

Parker CW, Singh N, Tighe S, Blachowicz A, Wood JM, Seuylemezian A,Vaishampayan P, Urbaniak C, Hendrickson R, Laaguiby P, Clark K, Clement BG, O’Hara NB,Couto-Rodriguez M, Bezdan D, Mason CE, Venkateswaran K. 2020. End-to-end protocol for the detection of SARS-CoV-2 from built environments. mSystems 5:e00771-20.https://doi.org/10.1128/mSystems.00771-20

Hendrickson, R. Kazarians, G. Yearicks, S. Guan, L. Seuylemezian, A. Matthias, L.L. Schrepel, T. Benardini III, J.N. Planetary Protection Implementation of the InSight Mission Launch Vehicle and Associated Ground Support Hardware. Astrobiology. Oct 2020.1158-1167. http://doi.org/10.1089/ast.2019.2099

Hendrickson R, Kazarians G, Benardini III JN. Planetary Protection Implementation on the Interior Exploration Using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport Mission. Astrobiology. 2020 Oct;20(10):1151-1157. doi: 10.1089/ast.2019.2098. Epub 2020 Jun 18. PMID: 32551882.

Hendrickson R, Witte J, Kazarians G, Benardini NB, Bevins P, Guan L, Seuylemezian A, Cruz S, Shirey B, Chen F, Vaishampayan P, Willis J. “InSight Planetary Protection Status at Launch.” 42nd COSPAR Scientific Assembly; Pasadena, CA July 16, 2018.

Minich, Jeremiah J., Q. Zhu, S. Janssen, R. Hendrickson, A. Amir, R. Vetter, J. Hyde, M. M. Doty, K. Stillwell, J. Benardini, J. Kim, E. E. Allen, K. Venkateswaran, and R. Knight. “KatharoSeq enables high-throughput microbiome analysis from low-biomass samples.” mSystems (2018) 3(3): e00218-17.

Hendrickson, Ryan, C. Urbaniak, G. B., Malli Mohan, H. Aronson, and K. Venkateswaran. (2017). Final report of the “Ratio of Spore to Viable Organisms” Task: A case study of the JPL – SAF cleanroom, JPL Publication JPL PUB 17-3. Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA.

Hendrickson, Ryan, P. Lundgren, G. B. Malli Mohan, C. Urbaniak, J. Benardini, and K. Venkateswaran. (2017). “Comprehensive Measurement of Microbial Burden in Nutrient-Deprived Cleanrooms”. 47th International Conference on Environmental Systems, Conference Proceedings: ICES-2017-177:14.

G. B. Malli Mohan, J. Benardini, R. Hendrickson, K. Venkateswaran, and M Stricker. (2017). “Characterization of Biological Fallout Particles of Cleanrooms to Measure Spacecraft Cleanliness.” 47th International Conference on Environmental Systems, Conference Proceedings: ICES-2017-159:9.

CL#: 17-1953, 18-1585

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