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 Planetary Chemistry and Astrobiology (3225): People
Jet Propulsion Laboratory
M/S 183-401
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Michael Poston

Michael J Poston is a Postdoctoral Scholar in the Europa Science Office making contributions to understanding Europa and Enceladus primarily through simulating likely surface and plume processes in controlled therm-vac experiments. Previously at Caltech/JPL, Dr. Poston conducted therm-vac experiments simulating a hypothesized common history of KBOs and Jupiter Trojan asteroids. Dr. Poston’s thesis work at Georgia Tech focused on detailed therm-vac measurements key to understanding the thermal stability of trace amounts of water on the lunar surface, with implications for lunar history and future in situ resource utilization.


PhD in Analytical Chemistry, Georgia Institute of Technology (2014)

BS in Chemistry, Wisconsin Lutheran College (2004)

Research Interests

Radiation and thermal processes (space weathering) on icy and rocky airless body surfaces including changes in spectra, physical structure, chemistry, and sputtering of the surface materials.

Gas adsorption processes and their relation to material and surface properties.

Implications of above processes for understanding the history of bodies, present-day surface processes, in situ resource utilization, and habitability.

Investigation development for planetary science flight projects.

Professional Experience

Postdoctoral Scholar in the Europa Science Office, JPL/Caltech (2016-Present)

Postdoctoral Associate, Geological and Planetary Sciences Division, Caltech (2014-2016)

Instrument Chair, Atmospheres Subgroup Lead, and Far/Mid-IR Instrument Lead, Planetary Science Summer School, Jet Propulsion Laboratory (2013)

Invited Participant, Keck Institute for Space Studies Workshop: New Approaches to Lunar Ice Detection and Mapping, CalTech (2013)

Graduate Student Researcher, Georgia Tech (2007-2014)

Laboratory Specialist, Micromeritics Analytical Services, Norcross, GA (2004-2007)

Community Service

Contributor, Roadmap to Ocean Worlds, 2016

Public Outreach Discussion, Center for Inquiry, Hollywood, CA April 2015

Executive Secretary, NASA Review Panel, ROSES FY14

Peer Reviewer, Journal Articles and NASA proposals, 2014-present

President, The Planetary Society at Georgia Tech (student chapter) 2011-2012

Treasurer, The Planetary Society at Georgia Tech (student chapter) 2012-2013

Guest Blog, April 2013

Session Chair, NASA Lunar Science Forum, Ames Research Center, July 2012

Organizer, Next Generation Lunar Scientists and Engineers, 2013

Moderator, Young Scientists for Planetary Exploration, 2013-present

Session Chair, Virtual Lunar Graduate Conference, July 2013

Peer Reviewer, Georgia Tech Presidential Undergraduate Research Award, 2010-2013

Selected Awards

Collaborator, Selected NASA LDAP with PI Josh Bandfield

Presidential Fellowship, Georgia Tech

Selected Publications
  1. Mahjoub, A. Poston, M. J., Hand, K.P., Brown, M., Hodyss, R., Blacksberg, J., Eiler, J., Carlson, R., Ehlmann, B.L., Choukroun, M. (2016) “Electron Irradiation and Thermal Processing of Mixed-Ices of Potential Relevance to Jupiter Trojans Asteroids,” ApJ, 820:141, 10.3847/0004-637X/820/2/141.
  2. Siegler, M. A., Miller, R. S., Keane, J. T., Laneuville, M., Paige, D. A., Matsuyama, I., Lawrence, D.J., Crotts, A., Poston, M. J. (2016), “Lunar True Polar Wander Inferred from Polar Hydrogen”, Nature, 531, 480, 10.1038/nature17166.
  3. Farrell, W. M., Hurley, D. H., Poston, M. J., Zimmerman, M. I., Orlando, T. M., Hibbitts, C. A., Killen, R. M. (2016) “The Gas-Surface Interaction of a Human-Occupied Spacecraft with a Near Earth Object,” Adv. Space Res.,10.1016/j.asr.2016.08.031.
  4. Young, C. L. Wray, J. J., Clark, R. N., Spencer, J. R., Jennings, D. E., Hand, K. P., Poston, M. J., Carlson, R. W. (2015) Silicates on Iapetus from Cassini’s CIRS. ApJ. Lett. 811, L27, 10.1088/2041-8205/811/2/L27.
  5. Poston, M. J., Grieves, G. A.,Alexandrov, A. B., Hibbitts, C. A., Dyar, M. D., Orlando, T. M., (2015) “Temperature programmed desorption studies of water interactions with Apollo lunar samples 12001 and 72501,” Icarus, 255, 24, doi:10.1016/j.icarus.2014.09.049.
  6. Poston, M. J., Alexandrov, A. B., Sabo, D. E., Zhang, Z. J., Orlando, T. M., (2014) “UV Photon-Induced Water Decomposition on Zirconia Nanoparticles,” J. Phys. Chem. C, 118(24), 12789, doi:10.1021/jp501135r.
  7. Poston, M. J., Alexandrov, A. B., Grieves, G. A., Hibbitts, C. A., Dyar, M. D., Orlando, T. M. (2013), “Water Interactions with Micronized Lunar Surrogates JSC-1A and Albite under Ultra-High Vacuum with Application to Lunar Observations,” JGR – Planets, 118, 105, doi: 10.1029/2012JE004283.
  8. Hibbitts, C. A., Grieves, G. A., Poston, M. J., Dyar, M. D., Alexandrov, A. B., Johnson, M. A., Orlando, T. M. (2011), “Thermal Stability of Water and Hydroxyl on the Surface of the Moon from Temperature-Programmed Desorption Measurements of Lunar Analog Materials,” Icarus, 213, 64, doi:10.1016/j.icarus.2011.02.015.
  9. Dutta, S., Lantukh, D., Kosh, J., Poston, M. (2012), "A Student Vision of the Future of U.S. Space Exploration," AIAA Space 2012 Conference & Exposition, AIAA 2012-5315, Pasadena, CA. doi: 10.2514/6.2012-5315.
  10. Beyer, K. D., Hansen, A. R., Poston, M. J. (2003), “The Search for Sulfuric Acid Octihydrate,” J. Phys. Chem. A, 107(12), 2025.

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