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James Shirley's Picture
Jet Propulsion Laboratory
M/S 183-601
4800 Oak Grove Drive
Pasadena, CA 91109

James Shirley

  • M.S., Interdisciplinary Studies (Physics and Geosciences), California State University, Northridge (1995)

Research Interests
  • Remote sensing and compositional mapping of icy outer solar system satellites
  • Structure, composition and dynamics of the Mars atmosphere
  • Solar inertial motion, solar rotation, and solar activity
  • Lunar and terrestrial seismology
  • Concepts for small landers and in-situ science instrumentation


MRO - Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter Icon MRO - Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter
NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) launched in 2005 and is on a search for evidence that water persisted on the surface of Mars for a long period of time.

Professional Experience
  • NASA, Jet Propulsion Laboratory (1993-Present)
    • Co-Investigator, "Investigations into the Compositions of the Icy Galilean Satellites," NASA Outer Planets Research Program (2008-Present)
    • Science Manager, Mars Climate Sounder Experiment, Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter Mission (2005-present)
    • Science Co-Investigator, Jupiter Icy Moons Lander Study, Research and Technology Development Program (2003-2005)
    • Science Lead, Project Prometheus Small Radioisotope Power Systems Studies (2004-2005)
    • Science Lead for NASA Nuclear Science Initiative Jovian Icy Moons Tour Design Study (On-Orbit Assembly Option) (2002-2003)
    • Galileo Europa Mission and Galileo Millenium Mission NIMS Science Coordinator for Europa (1995-2002)
  • Principal Editor, Chapman & Hall Encyclopedia of Planetary Sciences (456 articles, 214 authors, 990 pages) (1991-1996)

Selected Awards
  • NASA Group Achievement Award MRO MCS Science Team (2011)
  • NASA Group Achievement Award, Mars Climate Sounder Team (2010)
  • NASA Group Achievement Award, Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter Mission Operations and Ground System Development Team (2006)
  • JPL Award for Technical Excellence, Galileo SPOT Team (2002)
  • Six NASA Group Achievement Awards, Galileo Flight Team (1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 2000, 2003)
  • Geological Society of America/Geoscience Information Society "Mary B. Ansari Best Reference Work Award," for the Encyclopedia of Planetary Sciences, with Rhodes W. Fairbridge (1999)

Selected Publications


  1. Cassidy, T. A., C. P. Paranicas, J. H. Shirley, J. B. Dalton III, B. D. Teolis, R. E. Johnson, L. Kamp, and A. R. Hendrix 2012. Magnetospheric ion sputtering and water ice grain size at Europa, Plan. Space Sci., (in press).
  2. Dalton, J. B. III, T. Cassidy, C. Paranicas, J. H. Shirley, L.M. Prockter, and L. Kamp 2012. Exogenic Controls on Sulfuric Acid Hydrate Production at the Surface of Europa, Plan. Space Sci., (in press).
  3. Dalton, III, J.B., Shirley, J.H., Kamp, L.W., 2012, Europa's Icy Bright Plains and Dark Linea: Exogenic and Endogenic Contributions to Composition and Surface Properties, Journal of Geophysical Research, Vol. 117, E03003, doc10.101029/201JE003909
  4. Shirley, J. H., J. B. Dalton, L. M. Prockter, and L. W. Kamp, 2010. Europa's Ridged Plains and Smooth Low Albedo Plains: Distinctive Compositions and Compositional Gradients at the Leading Side-Trailing Side Boundary. Icarus 210, 358-384, doi:10.1016/j.icarus.2010.06.018.
  5. Shirley, J. H., J. B. Dalton, L. M. Prockter, and L. W. Kamp 2010. Youthful geologic terrains with anomalous surface chemistry on Europa, Bull. Am. Astron. Soc. 42, 1013.
  6. Shirley, J. H., J. B. Dalton, L. M. Prockter, and L. W. Kamp, 2010. Signatures of the Radiolytic Sulfur Cycle on Europa: A New Tool for Integrated Compositional and Stratigraphic Investigations, LPSC 41st, #2395.
  7. Shirley, J. H., and R. Carlson, 2000. Water Ice Grain Size Variations on Europa. EOS Trans. Am. Geophys. Union 81, #48, F793.
  8. Shirley, J. H., A. C. Ocampo, and R. Carlson, 2000. Galileo NIMS Observations of Europa. Bull. Am. Astron. Soc. 32, #3, 1068.
  9. Fanale, F. P., J. C. Granahan, R. Greeley, R. Pappalardo, J. Head III, J. H. Shirley, et al., 2000. Tyre and Pwyll: Galileo orbital remote sensing of mineralogy versus morphology at two selected sites on Europa. J. Geophys. Res. 105, 22,647-22,655.
  10. McCord, T. B, G. B. Hansen, J. H. Shirley, and R. W. Carlson, 1999. Discussion of the 1.04-µm water ice absorption band in the Europa NIMS spectra and a new NIMS calibration. J. Geophys. Res. 104, 27,157-27,162.

Mars Atmosphere

  1. Shirley, J. H., T. H. McConnochie, A. Kleinböhl, J. T. Schofield, D. Kass, N. G. Heavens, J. Benson, and D. J. McCleese 2011. Interannual variability of dust and ice in the Mars atmosphere: Comparison of MRO Mars Climate Sounder retrievals with MGS-TES limb-sounding retrievals, EPSC-DPS Joint Meeting 2011 #1195.
  2. Heavens, N. G., M. I. Richardson, A. Kleinböhl, D. M. Kass, D. J. McCleese, W. Abdou, J. L. Benson, J. T. Schofield, J. H. Shirley, and P. M. Wolkenberg 2011, Vertical distribution of dust in the Martian atmosphere during northern spring and summer: High-altitude tropical dust maximum at northern summer solstice, J. Geophys. Res., 116, E01007, doi:10.1029/2010JE003692.
  3. Heavens, N. G.; Richardson, M. I.; Kleinböhl, A.; Kass, D. M.; McCleese, D. J.; Abdou, W.; Benson, J. L.; Schofield, J. T.; Shirley, J. H.; and Wolkenberg, P. M. (2011). The vertical distribution of dust in the Martian atmosphere during northern spring and summer: Observations by the Mars Climate Sounder and analysis of zonal average vertical dust profiles J. Geophys. Res., Vol. 116, No. E4, E04003, doi:10.1029/2010JE003691
  4. Shirley, J. H., J. T. Schofield, A. Kleinboehl, D. Kass, D. J. McCleese, J. Benson, and P. Wolkenberg 2011. Comparisons of MGS Radio Science Mean Temperature Profiles with Mars Climate Sounder Results, 4th International Workshop on the Mars Atmosphere, (Paris).
  5. Heavens, N. G., J. Benson, D. Kass, A. Kleinböhl, W. Abdou, D. J. McCleese, M. Richardson, J. T. Schofield, J. Shirley, and P. Wolkenberg 2010. Water ice clouds over the Martian tropics during northern summer, Geophys. Res. Lett. 37, L18202, doi:10.1029/2010GL044610.
  6. Heavens, N. G., M.I. Richardson, W.G. Lawson, C. Lee, D.J. McCleese, D.M. Kass, A. Kleinböhl, J.T. Schofield, W.A. Abdou, and J.H. Shirley, 2010. Convective instability in the Martian middle atmosphere. Icarus, 208, 574-589. doi:10.1016/j.icarus.2010.03.02
  7. McCleese, D. G., N.G. Heavens, J.T. Schofield, W.A. Abdou, J.L. Bandfield, S.B. Calcutt, P.G.J. Irwin, D.M. Kass, A. Kleinböhl, C.B. Leovy, S.R. Lewis, D.A. Paige, P.L. Read, M.I. Richardson, J.H. Shirley, F.W. Taylor, N. Teanby, and R.W. Zurek, 2010. The Structure and Dynamics of the Martian Lower and Middle Atmosphere as Observed by the Mars Climate Sounder: 1. Seasonal variations in zonal mean temperature, dust and water ice aerosols. J. Geophys. Res 115, E12016, doi:10.1029/2010JE003677.
  8. Kleinboehl, A., J. T. Schofield, D. M. Kass, W. A. Abdou, C. R. Backus, B. Sen, J. H. Shirley, W. G. Lawson, M. I. Richardson, F. W. Taylor, N. A. Teanby, and D. J. McCleese (2009), Mars Climate Sounder limb profile retrieval of atmospheric temperature, pressure, dust and water ice opacity, J. Geophys. Res. 114, E10006, doi:10.1029/2009JE003358.

Solar Physics

  1. Shirley, J. H. and S. Duhau, 2010. Solar Orbit-Spin Coupling and the Variability of Solar Meridional Flows, EOS Trans. AGU, Proceedings of 2010 Meeting of the Americas.
  2. Shirley, J. H., (2006). Axial rotation, orbital revolution, and solar spin-orbit coupling. Mon. Not. R. Astron. Soc. 368, 280-282.
  3. Shirley, J. H., K. R. Sperber, and R. W. Fairbridge (1990). Sun's Inertial Motion and Luminosity, Sol. Phys. 127, 379-392.
  4. Fairbridge, R.W., Shirley, J. H. (1987). Prolonged Minima and the 179-yr Cycle of the Solar Inertial Motion, Sol. Phys. 110, 191-210.


  1. Shirley, J. H. (2008). Strong Sunspot cycle Correlation of Large Shallow Earthquakes, Seismol. Res. Lett. 79, 293.
  2. Shirley, J. H. (2007). The Distribution of Great Earthquakes in Time. EOS Trans. AGU 88 (52), Fall Meet. Suppl. Abstract S33C-1473.
  3. Shirley, J. H. (1988). Lunar and Solar Periodicities of Large Earthquakes: Southern California and the Alaska-Aleutian Islands Seismic Regions, Geophys. J. Int. 92 403-420.
  4. Shirley, J. H. (1986a). Lunar Periodicity in Great Earthquakes, Gerl. Beitr. zur Geophysik 95 509-515.
  5. Shirley, J. H. (1986b). Shallow Moonquakes and Large Shallow Earthquakes: A Temporal Correlation, Earth. Plan. Sci. Lett. 76 241-253.

Mission and Instrument Development Studies

  1. Sabahi, D., T. Rivellini, E. Slimko, and J. Shirley, (2006). Europa Landers: Architectures and Options. JPL D-35345 (33 pps).
  2. Shirley, J. H., Carlson, R. W., Zimmerman, W. F., Rivellini, T. P., Sabahi, D., and Anderson, M. S. (2006). Challenges and Rewards of Landing on Europa. (Abscicon 2006). Astrobiology 6, Number 1, 134-135.
  3. Abelson, R., Balint, T., Coste, K., Elliott, J., Randolph, J., Schmidt, G., Schreiner, T., Shirley, J., and Spilker, T. (2005). Expanding Frontiers with Standard Radioisotope Power Systems. JPL D-28902 (PP-266 0332).
  4. Abelson, R. and Shirley, J. (2005). Exploring Europa with a Surface Lander Powered by a Small Radioisotope Power System. AIP Conf. Proc. 746, 303.
  5. Shirley, J. H., R. W. Carlson, W. F. Zimmerman, T. P. Rivellini, D. Sabahi, 2005. To Land on Europa. Lunar and Planetary Science Conference (LPSC) 36th, #2197.
  6. Abelson, R., Balint, T., Marshall, K., Noravian, H., Randolph, J., Satter, C., Schmidt, G., and Shirley, J. (2004). Enabling Exploration with Small Radioisotope Power Systems. JPL Pub 04-10.
  7. Shirley, J. H., W. F. Zimmerman, et al., 2003. Icy Satellites Impactor Probes for the Jovian Icy Moons Orbiter. In Forum on concepts and Approaches for Jupiter Icy Moons Orbiter, LPI Conference Abstracts, LPI Contribution 1163.

Planetary Science

  1. Shirley, J. H. and R. W. Fairbridge, Editors, 1997. The Encyclopedia of Planetary Sciences. Chapman & Hall, New York, 990 pps.

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