NASA Logo Jet Propulsion Laboratory California Institute of Technology View the NASA Portal
NASA Banner
NASA Banner
NASA Banner
NASA Banner
JPL Science
JPL Science Division Home
Planetary Science Planetary Science
Planetary And Exoplanetary Atmospheres (3222)
Planetary Geosciences (3223)
Small Bodies (3224)
Astrobiology and Ocean Worlds (3225)
Planetary Interiors and Geophysics (3226)
Laboratory Studies (3227)
Astrophysics & Space Sciences Astrophysics & Space Sciences
Earth Science Earth Science
Directorate Science Affiliates Directorate Science Affiliates
Open Postdoc Positions Open Postdoc Positions
Brochures Brochures
Highlights Highlights
 Small Bodies (3224): People
Jason  Hofgartner's Picture
Jet Propulsion Laboratory
M/S 183-401
4800 Oak Grove Drive
Pasadena, CA 91109
Email Contact:
Curriculum Vitae:

Jason Hofgartner

Jason’s research is focused on understanding the physics of present-day active geologic processes in the outer solar system.  As a graduate student, he led the Cassini RADAR team in the first discovery and later confirmation of transient features in the hydrocarbon seas of Saturn’s moon Titan.  These enigmatic features, popularly known as “Titan’s Magic Islands” were determined to be waves, floating or suspended solids, or bubbles.  As a NASA Postdoctoral Program Fellow, Jason contributed to the first measurement of the Bond albedos of Pluto and Charon and led the New Horizons team in a search for temporal changes on Pluto and Charon.  Pluto was found to have terrains with extraordinarily different albedos and several enigmatic features, which are the focus of a new research project.  Jason’s current research includes resolving a decade-old apparent discrepancy between Arecibo Observatory and Cassini RADAR observations of Titan and thermal modeling of Kuiper belt object Eris to test the putative explanation of atmospheric freeze-out for its exceptionally high albedo.

  • 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, Active Geologic Processes in the Solar System, Titan, Triton, and Kuiper belt objects (especially Pluto and Charon, Eris, and Ultima Thule)

Professional Experience


Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology

  • Research Scientist, Jan. 2019 – present
  • NASA Postdoctoral Program Fellow, Jan. 2016 – Jan. 2019


Mission Experience

Cassini Solstice Mission, Cassini Radar Science Team, Associate Team Member, 2015 – present

New Horizons Mission, Geology and Geophysics Investigation, Affiliate Team Member, 2016 – present

Selected Awards

NASA NFDAP Grant, Science PI, 2019

NASA Group Achievement Award, Cassini Radar Science and Operations Team, 2018

NASA Group Achievement Award, New Horizons Team, 2017

NASA Postdoctoral Program Fellow, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, 2016 – 2019

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
  • B. J. Buratti, and 17 co-authors including J. D. Hofgartner, New Horizons Photometry of Pluto’s Moon Charon, The Astrophysical Journal Letters, accepted
  • S.M. MacKenzie, J. W. Barnes, J. D. Hofgartner, S. P. D. Birch, M. M. Hedman, A. Lucas, S. Rodriguez, E. P. Turtle, C. Sotin, Phantom lakes: evidence for surface changes at Titan's north pole, Nature Astronomy, accepted
  • J. D. Hofgartner, B. J. Buratti, P. O. Hayne, L. A. Young, Ongoing Resurfacing of KBO Eris by Volatile Transport in Local, Collisional, Sublimation Atmosphere Regime, Icarus, in press
  • S.P. D. Birch, A. G. Hayes, V. Poggiali, J. D. Hofgartner, J. I. Lunine, M. J. Malaska, S. Wall, R. M. C. Lopes, O. White, Raised Rims around Titan’s Sharp-Edged Depressions, Geophysical Research Letters, in press
  • S.P. D. Birch, A. G. Hayes, P. Corlies, E. R. Stofan, J. D. Hofgartner, R. M. C. Lopes, R. D. Lorenz, J. I. Lunine, S. M. MacKenzie, M. J. Malaska, C. A. Wood, and the Cassini RADAR Team, Morphological Evidence that Titan's Southern Hemisphere Basins are Paleoseas, Icarus, 310, 140-148, 2018
  • J.D. Hofgartner, B. J. Buratti, S. L. Devins, R. A. Beyer, P. Schenk, S. A. Stern, H. A. Weaver, C. B. Olkin, A. Cheng, K. Ennico, T. R. Lauer, J. Spencer, L. A. Young, the New Horizons Science Team, A search for temporal changes on Pluto and Charon, Icarus, 302, 273-284, 2018
  • S. Stern, J. Kammer, E. Barth, K. Singer, T. Lauer, J. D. Hofgartner, H. Weaver, K. Ennico, C. B. Olkin, L. Young, Evidence for Possible Clouds in Pluto's Present-day Atmosphere, The Astronomical Journal, 154, 43, 2017
  • C. Grima, M. Mastrogiuseppe, A. G. Hayes, S. D. Wall, R. D. Lorenz, J. D. Hofgartner, B. Stiles, C. Elachi, The Cassini Radar Team, Surface Roughness of Titan’s Hydrocarbon Seas, Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 474, 20-24, 2017
  • M. J. Malaska, R. Hodyss, J. I. Lunine, A. G. Hayes, J. D. Hofgartner, G. Hollyday, R. D. Lorenz, Laboratory measurements of nitrogen dissolution in Titan lake fluids, Icarus, 289, 94-105, 2017
  • 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
  • P.-A. Amaudruz, and 71 co-authors including J. Hofgartner, 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • M. Akashi-Ronquest, and 81 co-authors including J. Hofgartner, Improving photoelectron counting and particle identification in scintillation detectors with Bayesian techniques, Astroparticle Physics, 65, 40-54, 2015
  • 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
  • J. D. Hofgartner, J. I. Lunine, Does ice float in Titan’s lakes and seas? Icarus, 223, 628-631, 2013

Group Home Page
People in this Group
Group Projects

JPL Privacy Statement Sitemap Contact Site Manager