Research

Our research group uses remote sensing techniques, statistical methods, laboratory spectroscopy and thermal modeling to investigate planetary surface processes. Presently our research activities can be divided into three broad themes: 1) spacecraft data analysis, presently with a focus on Mars and asteroids, 2) laboratory and remote/field studies of planetary analog surfaces/materials, and 3) environmental remote sensing.

Characterizing Planetary Surfaces Using Spacecraft Data

Example topics of interest include:

  • The early climate history of Mars
  • Regolith development and evolution
  • Mechanisms and relative roles of resurfacing processes on early Mars
  • Martian crustal stratigraphy and evolution
  • The role of giant impact basins on igneous evolution and hydrothermal activity in the Martian crust
  • Mars landing site characterization
  • Physical and mineralogical characteristics of lunar and asteroid surfaces

    Laboratory and Field Studies

    To enhance interpretation of remotely acquired spectral and temperature measurements from planetary surfaces, we are characterizing the spectral and thermophysical properties of rocks and minerals of interest in the laboratory and conducting combined satellite-based/field-based studies of planetary analog terrains. Example recent/ongoing projects include:

  • Formation, stability and spectral properties of amorphous salts
  • Basalt/glass alteration processes (acid weathering, hydrothermal)
  • Field-based spectroscopic measurements in planetary analog terrains
  • Development of quantitative methods for interpreting mineralogy from spectral measurements
  • Thermal conductivity measurements of planetary analog materials

    Environmental Remote Sensing

    Topics of interest include:

  • Submarine groundwater discharge flux measurements using remote sensing techniques
  • Characterization of mineral aerosol flux and spatial heterogeneity
  • Dust emissions from desert surfaces

    Example (right):We are using aerial thermal imaging to locate potential regions of submarine groundwater discharge (SGD) into Long Island's near-shore environments. SGD brings nitrates and other nutrients into harbor waters, which feeds harmful algal blooms and disrupts natural ecosystems. In the image to the right, warm plumes represent groundwater discharging into cooler harbor waters. Aided by this imagery, Stony Brook collaborators and graduate students can better target locations to sample the chemistry and flux of groundwater discharge.

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