Research & Bio

By day, I’m a planetary scientist by the name of Dr. Jamie Molaro. I’m a Research Scientist at the Planetary Science Institute, in affiliation with (and working physically from) the Caltech/Jet Propulsion Laboratory in southern California. I am also a Participating Scientist on NASA’s OSIRIS-REx mission to retrieve a sample from asteroid Bennu, and a member of the Project for Exploration Science Pathfinder Research for Enhancing Solar System Observations (Project ESPRESSO), a node of the Solar System Exploration Research Virtual Institute (SSERVI). I study the surfaces of rocky and icy airless bodies, like Earth’s Moon, asteroids, comets, and the icy moons of Jupiter and Saturn.

My work focuses on thermally driven weathering and metamorphism processes that drive landscape evolution on these objects. Specifically, I study the way that daily heating and cooling can cause fracture propagation in rocks, causing them to break down into dust over time. I also study the process of ice sintering, and how the microstructure of ice deposited on the surfaces like Europa and Enceladus changes over time. Understanding these processes is important for learning about the nature and history of these objects, as well as for characterizing the properties of their surfaces to develop landing and sampling technology for future exploration.

Contact:

  • Twitter: @spacejammie
  • Instagram: @dataarcana
  • Email: jmolaro (at) psi.edu

Recent Interviews: (on science & art)

Select Recent Publications:

VIEW MY PROFESSIONAL CV