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 Planetary Interiors and Geophysics: People
Jeffrey  Plaut's Picture
Jet Propulsion Laboratory
M/S 183-601
4800 Oak Grove Drive
Pasadena, CA 91109

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 and interiors
  • 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.

RIME, the Radar for Icy Moon Exploration, is a radar sounder designed to probe the icy crusts of Jupiter's satellites.

Professional Experience

Jet Propulsion Laboratory (1991 - present)

  • Senior Research Scientist, Planetary Interiors and Geophysics 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 Exceptional Public Service Medal, for impact on the exploration of the Solar System using radar (2017)
    JPL Explorer Award, for 2001 Mars Odyssey extended mission accomplishments (2017)
  • 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
  • Plaut, J.J., 2019, Radar Remote Sensing of Planetary Bodies, in: Remote Compositional Analysis: Techniques for Understanding Spectroscopy, Mineralogy, and Geochemistry of Planetary Surfaces (J.L. Bishop, J.F. Bell III & J.E. Moersch, eds). Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK (in press).
  • Sánchez–Cano, B., O. Witasse, M. Lester, A. Rahmati, R. Ambrosi, Lillis, F. Leblanc, P. Blelly, M. Costa, S.W.H. Cowley, J.R. Espley, S.E. Milan, J.J. Plaut, C. Lee, D. Larson, 2018, Energetic particle showers over Mars from Comet C/2013 A1 Siding‐Spring J. Geophys. Res. Space Physics, 123 8778-8796,
  • Cicchetti, A., C. Nenna, J. Plaut, D. Plettemeier, R. Noschese, M. Cartacci, R. Orosei, 2017, Observations of Phobos by the Mars Express radar MARSIS: Description of the detection techniques and preliminary results, Advances in Space Research 60, 2289-2302,
  • Watters, T. R., C. J. Leuschen,B. A. Campbell, G. A. Morgan,A. Cicchetti, J. A. Grant, R. J. Phillips,and J. Plaut, 2017, Radar sounder evidence of thick, porous sediments in Meridiani Planum and implications for ice-filled deposits on Mars. Geophys. Res.Lett., 44, 9208–9215, doi:10.1002/2017GL074431
  • Bramson, A. M., S. Byrne, N.E. Putzig, S. Sutton, 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.
  • Gurnett, D.A., D.D. Morgan, A.M. Persoon, L.J. Granroth, A.J. Kopf, 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
  • Morgan, G.A., B.A. Campbell, L.M. Carter, and J. Plaut, 2015, Evidence for the episodic erosion of the Medusae Fossae Formation preserved within the youngest volcanic rrovince on Mars, Geophys. Res. Lett, 42,7336–7342, doi:10.1002/2015GL065017.
  • Orosei, R., R.L. Jordan, D.D. Morgan, M. Cartacci, A. Cicchetti, F. Duru, D.A. Gurnett, E. Heggy, D.L. Kirchner, R. Noschese, W. Kofman, A. Masdea, J. Plaut, R. Seu, T.R. Watters, G. Picardi, 2015, Mars Advanced Radar for Subsurface and Ionospheric Sounding (MARSIS) after nine years of operation: A summary. Planetary and Space Science 112, 98-114,
  • Restano, M., 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.
  • Morgan, D. D., C. Diéval, D.A. Gurnett, F. Duru, E.M. Dubinin, M. Fränz, D.J. Andrews, H.J. Opgenoorth, D. Uluşen, I. Mitrofanov, and J. Plaut, 2014, Effects of a strong ICME on the Martian ionosphere as detected by Mars Express and Mars Odyssey, J. Geophys. Res. Space Physics, 119, 5891–5908, doi:10.1002/2013JA019522.
  • Bruzzone, L., J. Plaut, and 14 others, 2013, RIME: Radar for Icy Moon Exploration, IEEE International Geoscience and Remote Sensing Symposium (IGARSS 2013).
  • Campbell, B.A., N.E. Putzig, L.M. Carter, G.A. Morgan, R.J. Phillips, and 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.
  • Morgan, G.A., B.A. Campbell, L.M. Carter, J. Plaut, and R.J. Phillips, 2013, 3D Reconstruction of the source and scale of buried young flood channels on Mars, Science 340 (6132), 607-610, doi:10.1126/science.1234787.
  • 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.
  • Mouginot, J., Pommerol, A., Kofman, W., Beck, P., Schmitt, B., Herique, A., Grima, C., Safaeinili, A., Plaut, J. J. 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.
  • Selvans, M. M., 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.
  • Plaut, J.J., 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.
  • Holt, J.W., A. Safaeinili, 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.
  • Milkovich S. M. and J. Plaut, 2008, Martian South Polar Layered Deposit stratigraphy and implications for accumulation history, J. Geophys. Res., 113, E06007, doi:10.1029/2007JE002987.
  • Plaut, J.J., 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, 2007, Subsurface radar sounding of the south polar layered deposits of Mars, Science 315, doi: 10.1126/science.1139672.
  • Picardi, G., 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.
  • 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.
  • Feldman, W.C., T.H. Prettyman, S. Maurice, 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.
  • Shepard, M.K., B.A. Campbell, T.G. Farr, L.R. Gaddis and J. Plaut, 2001, The roughness of natural terrain. A planetary and remote sensing perspective, J. Geophys. Res. – Planets 106, 32,777-32,795.
  • Herkenhoff, K.E. and J. Plaut, 2000, Surface ages and resurfacing rates of the polar layered deposits on Mars, Icarus 144, 243-253.
  • Plaut, J.J., 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.
  • Plaut, J.J., 1997, Foreword to the special section on results from SIR-C/X-SAR, J. Geophys. Res. 101, 23,061.
  • 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.
  • Plaut, J.J., 1991, Radar scattering as a source of geological information on Venus and Earth, (Ph.D. thesis), Washington University, St. Louis.
  • Plaut, J.J., 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.
  • Plaut, J.J., 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.
  • 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.


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