Principal Investigator

Alex HayesAlexander HayesAlexander Hayes
Research ID: www.researcherid.com/rid/P-2024-2014
B.A., M.Eng. Cornell (2003)
M.S, Ph.D., Caltech (2011)
hayes “at” astro.cornell.edu

Dr. Hayes is an Assistant Professor of Astronomy at Cornell University and Director of the Spacecraft Planetary Imaging Facility (SPIF). His research interests generally focus on the quantitative analysis and modeling of planetary surfaces using remote sensing data in the visible, infrared, and radar wavelengths.
Watch TEDx Talk by Dr. Alex Hayes: Ocean Worlds of the Outer Solar System

Selected Publications / Abstracts

Research Associate

Valerio_PoggialiValerio Poggiali Valerio Poggiali
Ph.D., Univ. of Rome La Sapienza (2016)
valerio.poggiali “at” uniroma1.it

Valerio’s studies concern the analysis of the Cassini radar altimeter data in order to derive the most accurate estimations of Titan’s surface dielectric parameters by means of a stochastic inversion approach based on Monte-Carlo simulations. After having worked for estimating equatorial dunes’ height, now Valerio matured a great interest for Titan’s liquid bodies, specifically he is characterizing rivers and canyons in the polar regions and assisting Marco Mastrogiuseppe in the determination of radar bathymetry and composition of Titan’s seas.

Selected Publications / Abstracts:
Poggiali, V., M. Mastrogiuseppe, A. G. Hayes, R. Seu, S. P. D. Birch, R. Lorenz, C. Grima, and J. D. Hofgartner (2016), Liquid-filled canyons on Titan, Geophys. Res. Lett., 43, 7887–7894, doi:10.1002/2016GL069679.


Rick KlineRick KlineRick Kline
A.A.S., EET, Corning Community College (1980)
rick.kline “at” cornell.edu
Rick was the Data Manager of SPIF for 35 years, but is now enjoying his retirement as a bassist for various bands in the Ithaca and Corning areas. Rick continues to support SPIF as a consultant.

SPIF Data Manager

Zoe Learner PonterioZoe Learner PonterioZoe Learner Ponterio
Zoe is the Data Manager of SPIF, duties include archiving hardcopy images from past planetary missions, planetary research support, and communicating science to the public.

Web Developer

Camilo Nascimento
B.F.A., UNC Charlotte (2000)
M.F.A., Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (2009)
camilo “at” camilographics.com
Camilo is the web developer for the Hayes Research Group and the Spacecraft Planetary Imaging Facility (SPIF). Duties include custom web design and content management solutions.

Graduate Students

Samuel Birch
B.A., UC Berkeley (2014)
Ph.D. Candidate, Cornell University (2014 – Present)
sb2222 “at” cornell.edu

Sam’s research is focused on understanding the evolution of the surfaces of planetary bodies. If we can understand the morphologies, by describing and quantifying the topographic shapes of a planet’s surface, we can build process-based models that explain their evolution through time. Beginning with qualitative observations of a surface through geomorphological mapping, we then build numerical models that match those observations. This methodology can apply to just select regions on planets like Mars, to the hydrologically active poles of an icy moon like Titan, to sedimentary worlds like Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. The surfaces of all these bodies are governed by the motions of individual particles, and so understanding the sediment transport pathways on these bodies helps us to understand the evolution of the landscape as a whole. When not exploring the solar system, Sam enjoys adventuring around the many outdoor environments of the Finger Lakes region.

Selected Publications / Abstracts:

[4] S.P.D. Birch, Y. Tang, A.G. Hayes, R.L. Kirk, D. Bodewits, H. Campins, Y. Fernandez, R. de Freitas Bart, N.W. Kutsop, H. Sierks, J.M. Soderblom, S.W. Squyres, and J-B. Vincent. Geomorphology of Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. MNRAS (2017).

[3] S.P.D. Birch, A.G. Hayes, W.E. Dietrich, A.D. Howard, C.S. Bristow, M.J. Malaska, J.M. Moore, M. Mastrogiuseppe, J.D. Hofgartner, D.A. Williams, O.L. White, J.M. Soderblom, J.W. Barnes, E.P. Turtle, J.I. Lunine, C.A. Wood, C.D. Neish, R.L. Kirk, E.R. Stofan, R.D. Lorenz, and R.M.C. Lopes. Geomorphologic Mapping of Titan’s polar terrains: Constraining Surface Processes and Landscape EvolutionIcarus 282, 214-236 (2017).

[2] S.P.D. Birch, A.G. Hayes, A.D. Howard J.M. Moore, and J. Radebaugh. Alluvial Fan Morphology, Distribution and Formation on Titan. Icarus 270, 238-247 (2016).

[1] S.P.D. Birch, M. Manga, B. Delbridge, and M. Chamberlain, Penetration of spherical projectiles into wet granular material, Phys. Rev. E 90, 032208 (2014).

Paul CorliesPaul Corlies
B.A., Univ. Pennsylvania (2013)
Ph.D. Student, Cornell Univ. (2013 – Present)
pmc232 “at” cornell.edu

Paul currently works on observing and studying clouds and atmospheric dynamics of Titan. Currently, he uses the SINFONI instrument on the VLT to make spectroscopic observations to monitor the presence and characteristics of clouds. He is additionally interested in various types of instrumentations, having worked on a variety of instruments to date including ACTPol, BLAST, NIRSPEC, a proposed near-IR spectrometer for the Mars 2020 Rover, and is currently designing an FTS for measurements in submillimeter wavelengths.

Selected Publications / Abstracts:
M. ‘Ad’amkovics, J.L. Mitchell, A.G. Hayes, P.M. Rojo, P. Corlies, J.W. Barnes, V. D. Ivanov, R.H. Brown, K.H. Baines, B.J. Buratti, R.N. Clark, P.D. Nicholson, C. Sotin. Meridional variation in tropospheric methane on Titan observed with AO spectroscopy at Keck and VLT. Icarus, 2015.

G.D. McDonald, P. Corlies, J.J. Wray, S.M. Hörst, J.D. Hofgartner, L.R. Liuzzo, J. Bu?o, A.G. Hayes. Altitude-Dependence of Titan’s Methane Transmission Windows: Informing Future Missions. LPSC 2015, The Woodland, TX.

Abhinav JindalAbhinav Jindal
B.Tech., Indian Institute of Technology Guwahati (2016)
Ph.D. Candidate, Cornell University (2016-Present)
asj59 “at” cornell.edu
Abhinav’s research focus is analyzing the lithospheric structure of Venus. The surface of Venus consists of some of the longest channels known in the Solar system. These channels, termed “Canali”, can be up to 6,800km in length and maintain almost constant width throughout their course. Abhinav’s project goal is to analyze deformation features along the flow of these Canali and then model their observed frequencies to predict the thickness of the Venusian lithosphere. Apart from Venus he is also interested in extrasolar planets and climate and photochemistry modelling for earth-like planets around various star types. When he is not working he loves playing squash, soccer and hiking.

Nicholas KutsopNicholas Kutsop
B.S., Northern Arizona University (2014)
Ph.D. Candidate, Cornell University (2014 – Present)
nwk25 “at” cornell.edu

Nic’s current research uses the RADAR aboard the Cassini satellite to study Titan altimetry, the measurement of altitude above the surface, and bathymetry, the measurement of depth of the lakes. In addition to Titan he is interested in Europa, Enceladus, Ganymede, Triton, and Mars. Specifically he wants to learn about these bodies’ geomorphology, crater morphology, topography, and surface and interior processes. Nic also has an interest in developing, designing, and building instrumentation to go to or study these places. Outside of his research, Nic has a passion for video games, space operas, anime and manga.

Selected Publications / Abstracts:
N.W. Kutsop, K.J. Mighell, L. Allen & M. Trueblood, Analysis of the Photometric Accuracy of the PhAst IDL Procedure, Northern Arizona University, 2015.

Undergraduate Students

Katherine GershfeldKatherine Gershfeld
B.S., Computer Science, Cornell Univ. (Anticipated 2020)
kg442 “at” cornell.edu

Katherine’s work includes assisting the SPIF Data Manager with data entry and daily operation of the facility.

James HaberJames Haber
B.A., Physics, Cornell Univ. (Anticipated 2018)
jth254 “at” cornell.edu

James is working on generating coverage maps using various possible trajectories for the upcoming Europa Clipper mission. He is a third-year undergraduate student studying physics, mechanical engineering, and astronomy.

John Kelland
B.S., Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, Minor in Astronomy, Cornell Univ. (Anticipated 2018)
jak374 “at” cornell.edu

John is currently using VIMS data to catalog the locations of clouds on Titan as well as analyze their dynamic and morphological characteristics. He is a third year undergraduate studying Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering.

Weigang LiangWeigang Liang
B.S., Physics and Astronomy, Cornell Univ. (Anticipated 2018)
wl463 “at” cornell.edu

Weigang’s work involves revising a mars photometry pipeline in Matlab (for processing image files from Curiosity and the MER rovers), and eventually combining it with VICAR software from NASA JPL.

Julia MillerJulia Miller
B.A., Science of Earth Systems and Astronomy, Cornell Univ. (Anticipated 2020)
jwm354 “at” cornell.edu

Julia is currently using radar images from Cassini to map channels on Titan.

Yuhui TangYuhui Tang (Harry)
B.A., Physics, Cornell Univ. (Anticipated 2018)
yt342 “at” cornell.edu

Harry is currently working on determining surface characteristics and processes of comets and other small body objects. He is a second year undergraduate studying Physics and Astronomy.

Previous Research Associates

Marco Mastrogiuseppe Marco Mastrogiuseppe Marco Mastrogiuseppe (10/2014 - 10/2016)
B.A., Univ. of Rome La Sapienza (2005)
M.S., Univ. of Rome La Sapienza (2008)
Ph.D., Univ. or Rome La Sapienza (2012)

Current Status:
Senior researcher at the University of Rome La Sapienza.

Previous Graduates

Bryne Hadnott

Bryné Hadnott
B.A., Washington University in St. Louis (2013)

Current Status:
Ph.D. Candidate, Johns Hopkins University

Jason Hofgartner Jason Hofgartner

Jason Hofgartner (01/2013 - 12/2015)
Ph.D. Astronomy, Cornell University (2016)
Research Topic: Titan, Liquid Environments

Current Status:
NASA Postdoctoral Program Fellow, Jet Propulsion Laboratory

Marica Raguso

Marica Raguso (10/2015 - 09/2016)
Ph.D. Student, Univ. of Rome, Sapienza
Research Topic: Cassini SAR processor and processes to "super-risolve" SAR images

Current Status:
Ph.D. Candidate, University of Rome La Sapienza

Zhimeng Zhang Zhimeng Zhang

Zhimeng Zhang (ZZ) (03/2013 - 12/2016)
B.A., Peking Univ. (2012)

Current Status:
NASA Postdoctoral Program Fellow, Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Postdoctoral Scholar, California Institute of Technology

Previous Undergraduates

Lea Bonnefoy

Lea Bonnefoy (01/2014 - 09/2015)
B.A., Physics, Cornell University (2015)
Research Topic: Titan's dunes

Current Status:
Ph.D. Candidate, University of Paris

Cansu Culha

Cansu Culha (09/2011 - 09/2013)
B.S. Geophysics, UC Berkeley (2015)
Research Topic:Europa

Current Status:
Ph.D. Candidate, Stanford

Ian Cullings

Ian Cullings (09/2016 - Present)
B.A., Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, Cornell Univ. (Anticipated 2020)
Research Topic: Mars Rover Missions

Current Status:
Undergraduate, Cornell University

Ryan de Freitas Bart

Ryan de Freitas Bart (09/2014 - 05/2017)
B.S., Electrical and Computer Engineering, Cornell Univ. (Anticipated 2018)
Research Topic: Mapping surface of comets and asteroids

Current Status:
Staff at Jet Propulsion Laboratory

Thomas Gautier

Thomas Gautier (05/2013 - 05/2015)
B.A., Physics, Cornell Univ. (2015)

Current Status:
Technical Staff, Syracuse Research Institute International

Jerica Huang

Jerica Huang
B.S. Computer Science, Cornell Univ. (2018)
Research Topic: Webmaster, Sagan Planet Walk

Current Status:
Undergraduate, Cornell University

Christian Klein

Christian Klein (06/2013 - 09/2013)
B.S. Physics, Regis University (2015)

Current Status:
Secondary Education

George D McDonald

George D. McDonald (02/2013 - 08/2014)
B.A. Physics, Cornell Univ. (2014)
Research Topic: Titan Dunes
Research Topic: Martian Atmosphere

Current Status:
Georgia Institute of Technology (PhD Candidate)


Roger Michaelides (10/2012 - 05/2015)
B.A., Physics and B.A, Science of Earth Systems, Cornell Univ. (2015)
Research Topic: Terrestrial Remote Sensing

Current Status:
Stanford University (PhD candidate)

Vinisha Mittal

Vinisha Mittal (01/2016 - 01/2017)
B.S., Computer Science, Cornell Univ. (Anticipated 2018)
Research Topic: webmaster for the Hayes Research Group and SPIF, working in conjunction with the Ithaca Sciencecenter on the website for the Carl Sagan Planet Walk.

Current Status:
Undergraduate, Cornell University

Joseph Mullen

Joseph Mullen (06/2015 – 09/2016)
B.S., Physics, Astronomy, Mathematics, Drake University (2016)
Research Topic: Titan's dunes

Current Status:

Previous High school Interns

Peter Dohn

Peter Dohn (07/2014 - 08/2014)
H.S.D., Corning Painted Post Area High School (2015)
Research Topic: SOCET Set DTMs

Current Status:
Undergraduate, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

Leslie VandeMark

Leslie VanDeMark
H.S.D., Ithaca High School (2015)
Research Topic: Mapping channels on Titan's south pole and analyzing their drainage patterns.

Current Status:
Undergraduate, University of Vermont

Rishi Verma

Rishi Verma (07/2014 - 08/2014)
H.S.D., Ithaca High School
Research Topic: SOCET Set DTMs

Current Status:

Previous Staff

Kylee Hereid

Kylee Hereid (06/2016 - 09 /2015)
B.A. Multimedia Journalism, English, Simpson College (2017)
IA., Simpson College
Research Topic: Summer employee, website designer

Current Status:
Undergraduate, Simpson College