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Jeffrey Plaut's Picture
Jet Propulsion Laboratory
M/S 183-601
4800 Oak Grove Drive
Pasadena, CA 91109
Email Contact:

Jeffrey Plaut
Mars Odyssey Project Scientist

  • A.B. in Music. Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island. (1980)
  • Ph.D. in Earth and Planetary Sciences, Washington University, St. Louis, Missouri. (1991)

Research Interests
  • Geologic evolution of planetary surfaces
  • Remote sensing for geologic information
  • Volcanism and impact cratering processes


Mars Odyssey Icon Mars Odyssey
In its extended mission, Mars Odyssey continues to map chemical elements and minerals on the surface of Mars and to monitor changes at the surface for another Mars year.

MARSIS is a radar sounder on the Mars Express orbiter that is probing the subsurface and studying the ionosphere.

Professional Experience

Jet Propulsion Laboratory (1991 - present)

  • Senior Research Scientist, Geophysics and Planetary Geosciences Group
  • Project Scientist, 2001 Mars Odyssey (2002 - present)
  • Deputy Project Scientist, 2001 Mars Odyssey (1999 - 2002)
  • Co-Principal Investigator on RIME, Jupiter Icy Moon Explorer Radar Sounder (2013 - present)
  • Associate Deputy Principal Investigator on REASON, Europa Mission Radar Sounder (2015 - present)
  • Co-Principal Investigator on MARSIS, Mars Express Radar Sounder (1998 - present)
  • Experiment Scientist for Space Shuttle radar missions (Spaceborne Imaging Radar, SIR-C/X-SAR; Shuttle Radar   Topography Mission, SRTM (1994-2000)
  • Geology Experiment Representative, SIR-C/X-SAR (1993 - 1994)
  • Research Associate, Magellan Science Team (1991 - 1993)

Selected Awards
  • NASA Group Achievement Award, MSL Relay Operations Team (2013)
  • NASA Group Achievement Award MRO SHARAD Science Team (2011)
  • NASA Exceptional Achievement Medal, for science leadership on the MARSIS radar sounder on ESA's Mars Express mission (2007)
  • NASA Exceptional Achievement Medal, for science leadership on the 2001 Mars Odyssey mission (2005)
  • National Research Council Research Associateship Post-Doctoral Award, NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory (1991-93)
  • Council of Graduate Schools/University Microfilms Distinguished Dissertation Nomination, Washington University (1991)
  • NASA Graduate Student Researchers Program (1987-90)
  • McDonnell Fellowship, McDonnell Center for the Space Sciences, Washington University, St. Louis (1985-87)

Selected Publications
  1. Plaut, J.J., A. Safaeinili, J.W. Holt, R.J. Phillips, J.W. Head, R. Seu, N.E. Putzig, A. Frigeri, 2009, Radar evidence for ice in lobate debris aprons in the mid-northern latitudes of Mars, Geophys. Res. Lett., doi:10.1029/ 2008GL036379.
  2. Plaut, J.J., G. Picardi, A. Safaeinili, A.B. Ivanov, S.M. Milkovich, A. Cicchetti, W. Kofman, J. Mouginot, W.M. Farrell, R.J. Phillips, S.M.Clifford, A. Frigeri, R. Orosei, C. Federico, I.P. Williams, D.A. Gurnett, E. Nielsen, T. Hagfors, E. Heggy, E.R. Stofan, D. Plettemeier, T.R. Watters, C.J. Leuschen, P. Edenhofer, 2007a, Subsurface radar sounding of the south polar layered deposits of Mars, Science 315, doi: 10.1126/science.1139672.
  3. Plaut, J.J., S.W. Anderson, S.W., D.A. Crown, E.R. Stofan and J.J. van Zyl, 2004, The unique radar properties of silicic lava domes, J. Geophys. Res. 109, E03001, doi: 10.1029/2002JE002017.
  4. Plaut, J.J., B. Rivard and M.A. D’Iorio, 1999, Radar: Sensors and case studies, in Remote Sensing for the Earth Sciences, Manual of Remote Sensing, 3rd Ed., Vol. 3, A. Rencz, ed., John Wiley and Sons, New York.
  5. Plaut, J.J., 1997, Foreword to the special section on results from SIR-C/X-SAR, J. Geophys. Res. 101, 23,061.
  6. Plaut, J.J. and R.E. Arvidson, 1992, Comparison of Goldstone and Magellan radar data in the equatorial plains of Venus, J. Geophys. Res. 97, 16,279-16,291.
  7. Plaut, J.J., R.E. Arvidson and R.F. Jurgens, 1990, Radar characteristics of the equatorial plains of Venus from Goldstone observations: Implications for interpretation of Magellan data, Geophys. Res. Lett. 17, 1357-1360.
  8. Plaut, J.J., R. Kahn, E.A. Guinness and R.E. Arvidson, 1988, Accumulation of sedimentary debris in the south polar region of Mars and implications for climate history, Icarus 76, 357-377.
  9. Plaut, J.J. and R.E. Arvidson, 1988, Comment on "Impact craters of Venus: A continuation of the analysis of data from the Venera 15 and 16 spacecraft" by A.T. Basilevsky et al., J. Geophys. Res. 93, 15,339-15,340.
  10. Anderson, S.W., E.R. Stofan, J.J. Plaut and D.A. Crown, 1998, Block size distributions on silicic lava flow surfaces: Implications for emplacement conditions, GSA Bull. 110, 1268-1280.
  11. Bramson, A. M., S. Byrne, N.E. Putzig, S. Sutton, J.J. Plaut, T.C. Brothers, and J.W. Holt, 2015, Widespread excess ice in Arcadia Planitia, Mars. Geophys. Res. Lett., 42, 6566–6574, doi:10.1002/2015GL064844.
  12. Campbell, B.A., L. Carter, R. Phillips, J. Plaut, N. Putzig, A. Safaeinili, R. Seu, D. Biccari, A. Egan, and R. Orosei, 2008, SHARAD radar sounding of the Vastitas Borealis Formation in Amazonis Planitia, J. Geophys. Res., 113, E12010, doi:10.1029/2008JE003177.
  13. Campbell, B.A., N.E. Putzig, L.M. Carter, G.A. Morgan, R.J. Phillips, and J.J. Plaut, 2013, Roughness and near-surface density of Mars from SHARAD radar echoes, J. Geophys. Res. Planets, 118, 436–450, doi:10.1002/ jgre.20050.
  14. Carter, L. M., B. A. Campbell, T. R. Watters, R. J. Phillips, N. E. Putzig, A. Safaeinili, J. J. Plaut, C. H. Okubo, A. F. Egan, R. Seu, D. Biccari, R. Orosei, 2009, Shallow radar (SHARAD) sounding observations of the Medusae Fossae Formation, Mars, Icarus 199, 295–302, doi:10.1016/j.icarus.2008.10.007.
  15. Feldman, W.C., T.H. Prettyman, S. Maurice, J.J. Plaut, D.L. Bish, D.T. Vaniman, M.T. Mellon, A.E. Metzger, S.W. Squyres, S. Karunatillake, W.V. Boynton, R.C. Elphic, H.O. Funsten, D.J. Lawrence, and R.L. Tokar, 2004, Global distribution of near-surface hydrogen on Mars, J. Geophys. Res. 106, E09006, doi:10.1029/2003JE002160.
  16. Gurnett, D. A., D. L. Kirchner, R. L. Huff, D. D. Morgan, A. M. Persoon, T. F. Averkamp, F. Duru, E. Nielsen, A. Safaeinili and J. J. Plaut, and G. Picardi, 2005, Radar soundings of the ionosphere of Mars, Science 310, 1929–1933.
  17. Gurnett, D.A., D.D. Morgan, A.M. Persoon, L.J. Granroth, A.J. Kopf, J.J. Plaut, J.L. Green, 2015, An ionized layer in the upper atmosphere of Mars caused by dust impacts from comet Siding Spring, Geophys. Res. Lett., 42 4745-4751.
  18. Herkenhoff, K.E. and J.J. Plaut, 2000, Surface ages and resurfacing rates of the polar layered deposits on Mars, Icarus 144, 243-253.
  19. Holt, J.W., A. Safaeinili, J.J. Plaut, J.W. Head, R.J. Phillips, R. Seu, S.D. Kempf, P. Choudhary, D.A. Young, N.E. Putzig, D. Biccari, and Y. Gim, 2008, Radar sounding evidence for buried glaciers in the southern mid-latitudes of Mars, Science 322, 1235. doi:10.1126/science.1164246.
  20. Jordan, R., G. Picardi, J. Plaut, K. Wheeler, D. Kirchner, A. Safaeinili, W. Johnson, R. Seu, D. Calabrese, E. Zampolini, A. Cicchetti, R. Huff, D. Gurnett, A. Ivanov, W. Kofman, R. Orosei, T. Thompson, P. Edenhofer, O. Bombaci, 2009, The Mars Express MARSIS sounder instrument, Planet. and Space Sci. 57 1975–1986.
  21. Milkovich S. M. and J. J. Plaut, 2008, Martian South Polar Layered Deposit stratigraphy and implications for accumulation history, J. Geophys. Res., 113, E06007, doi:10.1029/2007JE002987.
  22. Milkovich, S. M., J. J. Plaut, A. Safaenili, G. Picardi, R. Seu, and R. J. Phillips, 2009, Stratigraphy of Promethei Lingula, south polar layered deposits, Mars, in radar and imaging data sets, J. Geophys. Res., doi:10.1029/2008JE003162.
  23. Morgan, D. D., D. A. Gurnett, D. L. Kirchner, R. L. Huff, D. A. Brain, W. V. Boynton, M. H. Acuña, J. J. Plaut, and G. Picardi, 2006, Solar control of radar wave absorption by the Martian ionosphere, Geophys. Res. Lett., 33, L13202, doi:10.1029/2006GL026637.
  24. Morgan, G.A., B.A. Campbell, L.M. Carter, and J.J. Plaut, 2015, Evidence for the Episodic Erosion of the Medusae Fossae Formation Preserved within the Youngest Volcanic Province on Mars, Geophys. Res. Lett, 42, 7336–7342, doi:10.1002/2015GL065017.
  25. Mouginot, J., Pommerol, A., Kofman, W., Beck, P., Schmitt, B., Herique, A., Grima, C., Safaeinili, A., Plaut, J. J. 2010. The 3-5 MHz global reflectivity map of Mars by MARSIS/Mars Express: Implications for the current inventory of subsurface H2O. Icarus 210, 612-625.
  26. Orosei, R., and 15 others, 2014, Mars Advanced Radar for Subsurface and Ionospheric Sounding (MARSIS) after nine years of operation: A summary, Planetary and Space Science (2014), doi:10.1016/j.pss.2014.07.010.
  27. Phillips, R.J. et al. 2008, Mars north polar deposits: Stratigraphy, age, and geodynamical response, Science 320, 1182. doi:10.1126/science.1157546.
  28. Phillips RJ, and 17 others, 2011.  Massive CO₂ ice deposits sequestered in the south polar layered deposits of Mars. Science 332 (6031), 838-41. doi:10.1126/science.1203091.
  29. Picardi, G., J.J. Plaut, D. Biccari, O. Bombaci, Diego Calabrese, M. Cartacci, A. Cicchetti, S.M. Clifford, P. Edenhofer, W.M. Farrell, C. Federico, A. Frigeri, D.A. Gurnett, T. Hagfors, E. Heggy, A. Herique, R.L. Huff, A.B. Ivanov, W.T.K. Johnson, R.L. Jordan, D.L. Kirchner, W. Kofman, C.J. Leuschen, E. Nielsen, R. Orosei, E. Pettinelli, R.J. Phillips, D. Plettemeier, A. Safaeinili, R. Seu, E.R. Stofan, G. Vannaroni, T.R. Watters, E. Zampolini, 2005, Radar soundings of the subsurface of Mars, Science 310, 1925–1928.
  30. Putzig, N.E., R.J. Phillips, B.A. Campbell, J.W. Holt, J.J. Plaut, L.M. Carter, A.F. Egan, F. Bernardini, A. Safaeinili, R. Seu, 2009, Subsurface structure of Planum Boreum from Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter Shallow Radar soundings, Icarus 204, 443-457, doi: 10.1016/j.icarus.2009.07.03.
  31. Restano, M., J.J. Plaut, B.A. Campbell, Y. Gim, D. Nunes, F. Bernardini, A. Egan, R. Seu, R.J. Phillips, 2015, Effects of the passage of Comet C/2013 A1 (Siding Spring) observed by the Shallow Radar (SHARAD) on Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, Geophys. Res. Lett, 42 4663-4669.
  32. Safaeinili, A., W. Kofman, J. Mouginot, Y. Gim, A. Herique, A.B. Ivanov, J.J. Plaut, G. Picardi, 2007, Estimation of the total electron content of the Martian ionosphere using radar sounder surface echoes, Geophys. Res. Lett. 34, L23204, doi:10.1029/2007GL032154.
  33. Selvans, M. M.,  J. J. Plaut, O. Aharonson and A. Safaeinili, 2010, Internal structure of Planum Boreum, from Mars Advanced Radar for Subsurface and Ionospheric Sounding data, JGR-Planets, 115, 9003.
  34. Seu, R. et al., 2007, Accumulation and erosion of Mars' south polar layered deposits. Science 317, 1715, doi: 10.1126/science.1144120.
  35. Shepard, M.K., B.A. Campbell, T.G. Farr, L.R. Gaddis and J.J. Plaut, 2001, The roughness of natural terrain. A planetary and remote sensing perspective, J. Geophys. Res. – Planets 106, 32,777-32,795.
  36. Watters, T.R., B.A. Campbell, L. Carter, C.J. Leuschen, J.J. Plaut, G. Picardi, A. Safaeinili, S.M. Clifford, W.M. Farrell, A.B. Ivanov, R.J. Phillips and E.R. Stofan, 2007, Radar sounding of the Medusae Fossae Formation  Mars: Equatorial ice or dry, low-density deposits?, Science 318, 1125-1128, doi: 10.1126/ science.1148112.
  37. Witasse, O., and many others, 2014, Mars Express investigations of Phobos and Deimos, Planetary and Space Science 102, 1 November 2014, 18–34 doi:10.1016/j.pss.2013.08.002
  38. Zuber, M.T.,  R.J. Phillips, J.C. Andrews-Hanna,S.W. Asmar, A.S. Konopliv, F.G. Lemoine, J.J. Plaut, D.E. Smith, S.E. Smrekar, 2007, Density of Mars' South Polar Layered Deposits, Science 317, 1718 – 1719.

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