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 Asteroids, Comets & Satellites (3224): People
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’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 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 NASA Postdoctoral Program Fellow at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, 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. 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’s current research includes resolving a decade-old apparent discrepancy between Arecibo Observatory and Cassini radar observations of Titan. Jason continues his research of presently active geologic processes in the outer solar system by studying Titan and Pluto as two related geologically active 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, Active Geologic Processes 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 Mission, Cassini Radar Science Team, Associate Team Member, 2015 – present

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



Reviewer, NASA Review Panel (3 times), 2016-2017

Referee, Journal of Geophysical Research – Planets, Icarus (2 times) 2014-2017

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 – 2018

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

15. 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

14. 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

13. 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

12. 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

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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