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Jason  Hofgartner's Picture
Jet Propulsion Laboratory
M/S 183-401
4800 Oak Grove Drive
Pasadena, CA 91109
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Curriculum Vitae:

Jason Hofgartner

Jason Hofgartner is interested in the geologic processes that are presently occurring in the outer solar system. During his doctoral studies, Jason was fortunate to become involved in the Cassini-Huygens mission. He regularly contributes to Cassini RADAR data analysis and observation planning and formally became an Associate Team Member in 2015. Jason led a team of researchers in the first discovery and later confirmation of transient features in Titan's seas.  These enigmatic features, popularly known as “Titan’s Magic Islands” were determined to be waves, floating or suspended solids, or bubbles.  As a postdoctoral researcher, Jason had the privilege to join the New Horizons mission in 2016. He led a study to search for temporal changes on Pluto and Charon. No variability that is strongly indicative of a temporal change was found on the surface or in the atmosphere of either Pluto or Charon. Jason plans to continue pursuing his research interest of active geologic processes that are occurring in the outer solar system by studying Titan and Pluto as two related geologically active outer solar system worlds.

  • Ph.D., 2016, Cornell University, Astronomy
  • M. S., 2014, Cornell University, Astronomy
  • B. S., 2011, University of Waterloo, Physics, Honours, Co-operative Program

Research Interests

Planetary Exploration, Liquid Environments in the Solar System, Titan, Pluto and Charon

Professional Experience


  • NASA Postdoctoral Program Fellow, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, (2016-present)
  • Graduate Research Assistant, Cornell University, Astronomy, (2011-2015)
  • Lead Teaching Assistant, Cornell University, Astronomy, (Spring 2013)
  • Teaching Assistant, Cornell University, Astronomy, (Fall 2012)


  • Cassini Solstice, Cassini Radar Science Team, Associate Team Member, (2015 – present)
  • New Horizons, Geology and Geophysics Investigation, Postdoctoral Team Member, (2016 – present)


  • Reviewer, NASA Review Panel (2 times), 2016
  • Referee, Icarus, 2015
  • Referee, Journal of Geophysical Research – Planets, 2014
  • Workshop Co-organizer, Titan Surface Workshop, Ithaca NY, 2014

Selected Awards
  • NASA Group Achievement Award, New Horizons Team, 2017
  • NASA Postdoctoral Program Fellow, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, (2016 – 2017)
  • Cranson and Edna B. Shelley Graduate Research Award, Cornell University, (2015)
  • American Geophysical Union Outstanding Student Paper Award, (2014)
  • Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada
    • Post Graduate Scholarship Doctoral, (2012 – 2015)
    • Post Graduate Scholarship Master’s, (2011 - 2012)

Selected Publications

12. M. J. Malaska, R. Hodyss, J. I. Lunine, A. G. Hyes, J. D. Hofgartner, G. Hollyday, R. D. Lorenz, Laboratory measurements of nitrogen dissolution in Titan lake fluids, in press, Icarus

11. B. J. Buratti, J. D. Hofgartner, M. D. Hicks, H. A. Weaver, S. A. Stern, T. Momary, J. A. Mosher, R. A. Beyer, A. J. Verbiscer, A. M. Zangari, L. A. Young, C. M. Lisse, K. Singer, A. Cheng, W. Grundy, K. Ennico, C. B. Olkin, Global Albedos of Pluto and Charon from LORRI New Horizons Observations, Icarus, 287, 207-217, 2017

10. P.-A. Amaudruz, M. Batygov, B. Beltran, J. Bonatt, K. Boudjemline, M.G. Boulay, B. Broerman, J.F. Bueno, A. Butcher, B.
Cai, T. Caldwell, M. Chen, R. Chouinard, B.T. Cleveland, D. Cranshaw, K. Dering, F. Duncan, N. Fatemighomi, R. Ford, R. Gagnon, P. Giampa, F. Giuliani, M. Gold, V.V. Golovko, P. Gorel, E. Grace, K. Graham, D.R. Grant, R. Hakobyan, A.L. Hallin, M. Hamstra, P. Harvey, C. Hearns, J. Hofgartner, C.J. Jillings, M. Kuźniak, I. Lawson, F. La Zia, O. Li, J.J. Lidgard, P. Liimatainen, W.H. Lippincott, R. Mathew, A.B. McDonald, T. McElroy, K. McFarlane, D.N. McKinsey, R. Mehdiyev, J. Monroe, A. Muir, C.
Nantais, K. Nicolics, J. Nikkel, A.J. Noble, E. O’Dwyer, K. Olsen, C. Ouellet, P. Pasuthip, S.J.M. Peeters, T. Pollmann, W. Rau, F. Retière, M. Ronquest, N. Seeburn, P. Skensved, B. Smith, T. Sonley, J. Tang, E. Vázquez-Jáuregui, L.
Veloce, J. Walding, M. Ward, Measurement of the scintillation time spectra and pulse-shape discrimination of low-energy beta and nuclear recoils in liquid argon with DEAP-1, Astroparticle Physics, 85, 1-23, 2016

9. S.P.D. Birch, A.G. Hayes, W. Dietrich, A.D. Howard, C. Bristow, M.J. Malaska, J. Moore, M. Mastrogiuseppe, J.D. Hofgartner, D.A. Williams, O. White, J. Soderblom, J.W. Barnes, E. Turtle, J.I. Lunine, C. Wood, C. Neish, R. Kirk, E. Stofan, R. Lorenz, R.M.C. Lopes, Geomorphologic mapping of Titan's polar terrains: Constraining Surface Processes and Landscape Evolution, Icarus, 282, 214-236, 2017

8. V. Poggiali, M. Mastrogiuseppe, A. G. Hayes, R. Seu, S. P. D. Birch, R. Lorenz, C. Grima, J. D. Hofgartner, Liquid-filled Canyons on Titan,Geophysical Research Letters, 43, 7887-7894, 2016

7. S.M. MacKenzie, T.E. Caswell, C.M. Phillips-Lander, E.N. Stravros, J.D. Hofgartner, V.Z. Sun, K.E. Powell, C.J. Steuer, J.G. O’Rourke, J.K. Dhaliwal, C.W.S. Leung, E.M. Petro, J.J. Wynne, S. Phan, M. Crismani, A. Krishnamurthy, K.K. John, K.
DeBruin, C.J. Budney, K.L. Mitchell, THEO Concept Mission: Testing the Habitability of Enceladus’s Ocean,Advances
in Space Science Research, 58, 1117-1137, 2016

6. M. Mastrogiuseppe, A. Hayes, V. Poggiali, R. Seu, J. Lunine, J. D. Hofgartner, Radar Sounding Using Cassini Altimeter: Waveform Modeling and Monte Carlo approach for Data Inversion of Observations of Titan Liquid Bodies,Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Transactions on Geoscience and Remote Sensing, 54, 5646-5656, 2016

5. J. D. Hofgartner,A. G. Hayes, J. I. Lunine, H. Zebker, R. D. Lorenz, M. J. Malaska, M. Mastrogiuseppe, C. Notarnicola, J. M. Soderblom, Titan’s Magic Islands: Transient Features in a Hydrocarbon Sea, Icarus, 271, 338-349, 2016

4. O. Mousis, J. I. Lunine, A. G. Hayes, J. D. Hofgartner, The fate of ethane in Titan’s hydrocarbon lakes and seas, Icarus,
270, 37-40, 2016

3. M. Akashi-Ronquest, P.-A. Amaudruz, M. Batygov, B. Beltran, M. Bodmer, M.G. Boulay, B. Broerman, B. Buck, A. Butcher, B. Cai, T. Caldwell, M. Chen, Y. Chen, B. Cleveland, K. Coakley, K. Dering, F.A. Duncan, J.A. Formaggio, R. Gagnon, D. Gastler, F. Giuliani, M. Gold, V.V. Golovko, P. Gorel, K. Graham, E. Grace, N. Guerrero, V. Guiseppe, A.L. Hallin, P. Harvey, C. Hearns, R. Henning, A. Hime, J. Hofgartner, S. Jaditz, C.J. Jillings, C. Kachulis, E. Kearns, J. Kelsey, J.R. Klein, M. Kuzniak, A.
LaTorre, I. Lawson, O. Li, J.J. Lidgard, P. Liimatainen, S. Linden, K. McFarlane, D.N. McKinsey, S. MacMullin, A. Mastbaum, R. Mathew, A.B. McDonald, D.-M. Mei, J. Monroe, A. Muir, C. Nantais, K. Nicolics, J.A. Nikkel, T. Noble, E. O'Dwyer, K. Olsen, G.D. Orebi Gann, C. Ouellet, K. Palladino, P. Pasuthip, G. Perumpilly, T. Pollmann, P. Rau, F. Retiere, K. Rielage, R. Schnee, S. Seibert,
P. Skensved, T. Sonley, E. Vazquez-Jauregui, L. Veloce, J. Walding, B. Wang, J. Wang, M. Ward, C. Zhang, Improving photoelectron counting and particle identification in scintillation detectors with Bayesian techniques,Astroparticle Physics, 65, 40-54, 2015

2. J. D. Hofgartner,A. G. Hayes, J. I. Lunine, H. Zebker,B. W. Stiles, C. Sotin, J. W. Barnes, E. P. Turtle, K. H. Baines, R. H. Brown, B. J. Buratti, R. N. Clark, P. Encrenaz, R. D. Kirk, A. Le Gall, R. M. Lopes, R. D. Lorenz, M. J. Malaska, K. L. Mitchell, P. D. Nicholson, P. Paillou, J. Radebaugh, S. D. Wall, C. Wood, The discovery of transient features in a Titan sea, Nature Geoscience, 7, 493-496, 2014

1. J. D. Hofgartner, J. I. Lunine, Does ice float in Titan’s lakes and seas? Icarus, 223, 628-631, 2013

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