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Mohit Melwani Daswani

Photo of Mohit Melwani Daswani


4800 Oak Grove Drive
M/S 183-301

Pasadena, CA 91109



Curriculum Vitae:

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Member of:

Planetary Interiors and Geophysics


I am a geochemist and planetary scientist studying the composition of subsurface oceans within icy moons, including Europa, Enceladus and Titan.

I received my Joint M.Sc. in Geoinformation Science and Earth Observation at the Universities of Southampton, Lund, Warsaw and Twente, where I focused on remote sensing and mineralogical mapping of the surface of Mars. During my Ph.D. at the Open University (UK), I worked on a number of martian meteorites, including (the somewhat infamous) Allan Hills (ALH) 84001. In 2015, I became a Postdoc at the University of Chicago, where I characterized the composition of the ancient salty lakes of Mars and the hydrological and climatological conditions that led to their formation. I moved to JPL in 2018, where I now perform simulations of the interaction between rocks and fluids inside high-pressure vessels in the laboratory, and use thermodynamic and numerical models to study the physical and chemical conditions of ocean worlds.


  • M.Sc. Geoinformation Science and Earth Observation for Environmental Modelling and Management, University of Southampton, Lund University, University of Warsaw, ITC-University of Twente (2011)
  • Ph.D. Planetary Science, The Open University (2015)

Professional Experience

  • Research Scientist, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology (2020 – Present)
  • Europa Clipper Project Science Affiliate (2019 – 2020)
  • Postdoctoral Scholar, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology (2018 – 2020)
  • Postdoctoral Scholar, University of Chicago (2015 – 2017)

Community Service

Research Interests

  • The composition of subsurface oceans
  • Water-rock interaction in “rocky” planetary bodies, from asteroids to magma ocean exoplanets
  • Like his former postdoctoral and Ph.D. advisors, at the University of Chicago and the Open University, Mohit cannot stop thinking about the puzzles of early Mars

Selected Awards

  • NASA Planetary Science Early Career Award (2020)
  • Lunar and Planetary Institute Career Development Award (2014)
  • Mineralogical Society of Great Britain and Ireland Bursary (2014)
  • Royal Astronomical Society Grant (2012)

Selected Publications

  • Melwani Daswani, M. and Castillo-Rogez, J. C. (2022). Porosity-filling metamorphic brines explain Ceres’ low mantle density. Planet. Sci. J., 3, 21,
  • Castillo-Rogez, J. et al. incl. Melwani Daswani, M. (2022). Science Drivers for the Future Exploration of Ceres: From Solar System Evolution to Ocean World Science. Planet. Sci. J., 3(3), 64.
  • Melwani Daswani, M., Vance, S. D., Mayne, M. J., and Glein, C. R. (2021) A metamorphic origin for Europa’s ocean. Geophys. Res. Lett., 48, e2021GL094143.
  • Běhounková, M., Tobie, G., Choblet, G., Kervazo, M., Melwani Daswani, M., Dumoulin, C., and Vance S. D. (2021). Tidally-induced magmatic pulses on the oceanic floor of Jupiter’s moon Europa. Geophys. Res. Lett., 48, e2020GL090077. doi:10.1016/j.pss.2020.105078.
  • Perl, S. D. et al. incl. Melwani Daswani, M. (2021) A proposed geobiology-driven nomenclature for astrobiological in-situ observations and sample analyses. Astrobiology, Aug 2021, 954–967.
  • Morlok, A., Schiller B., Weber, I., Melwani Daswani, M., Stojic, A. N., Reitze, M. P., Gramse, T., Wolters, S. D., Grady, M. M., and Helbert, J. (2020). Mid-infrared reflectance spectroscopy of carbonaceous chondrites and calcium-aluminum-rich inclusions. Planet. Space Sci., 193: 105078. doi:10.1016/j.pss.2020.105078.
  • Vance, S. D., and Melwani Daswani, M. (2020). Serpentinite and the search for life beyond Earth. Philos. Trans. R. Soc. A, 378, 20180421.
  • Kite, E. S., and Melwani Daswani, M. (2019). Geochemistry constrains global hydrology on Early Mars. Earth. Planet. Sci. Lett., 524: 115718. doi:10.1016/j.epsl.2019.115718.
  • Melwani Daswani, M., and Kite, E. S. (2017). Paleohydrology constrained by mass balance and mineralogy of pre-Amazonian sodium chloride lakes on Mars. J. Geophys. Res. Planets, 122: 1802–1823. doi:10.1002/2017JE005319.
  • Melwani Daswani, M., Schwenzer, S. P., Reed, M. H., Wright, I. P., and Grady, M. M. (2016). Alteration minerals and fluids on early Mars: Predictions from 1D flow geochemical modelling of mineral assemblages in meteorite ALH 84001. Meteorit. Planet. Sci., 51(11): 2154–2174. doi:10.1111/maps12713.
  • Gross, J., Filiberto, J., Herd, C. D. K., Melwani Daswani, M., Schwenzer, S. P., and Treiman, A. H. (2013). Petrography, mineral chemistry, and crystallization history of olivine-phyric shergottite NWA 6234: A new melt composition. Meteorit. Planet. Sci., 48(5): 854—871. doi:10.1111/maps.12092.