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Dr. Maria Banks

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Research Scientist

Currently resides in New York, NY
banks [at]
Areas of Expertise
Targets: Charon, Earth, Europa, Mars, Mercury, Moon, Phobos, Pluto, Venus
Disciplines/Techniques: Climate, Crater Counting, Education/Public Outreach, Field Work, Geology, Geomorphology, Impacts, Mapping, Radar, Remote sensing, Tectonics
Missions: LRO, MESSENGER, MRO, New Horizons, Phoenix Mars Lander
Mission Roles: Data archive, Data validation, Instrument operations, Mission operations, Mission science team, Science operations
Instruments: Cameras

Research Interests

Dr. Maria Banks' main research interests involve studying and understanding the geologic history and evolution of planetary bodies and moons due to processes that act on and near their surfaces. She specializes in quantitative geomorphology and the analysis of landforms and landscapes through spacecraft images. She is interested in combining these images with other data sets (i.e. altimetry data, thermal inertial data, spectral data) and in conducting research and fieldwork focused on understanding terrestrial analogues.


For more information about Dr. Maria Banks, her research projects, and photos, please visit her PSI Web Page:

Professional History

Dr. Banks received her PhD in Geosciences at the University of Arizona in 2009, studying glacial erosional and depositional morphologies in the Argyre Planitia in the southern hemisphere of Mars. She subsequently worked as a Science Technician on the West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS) Divide Ice Core Project and was a member of the science support team for NASA's Desert Research and Technology Studies (RATS). Prior to joining PSI in 2013, Dr. Banks was a Post-doctoral Fellow at the Smithsonian' Center for Earth and Planetary Studies at the National Air and Space Museum.

Honors and Awards

NASA Group Achievement Award for the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter HiRISE Science Team
University of Arizona Honors College
Golden Key International Honour Society
Creative Achievement Award: Outstanding contributions to an art form, the field, and service to the department, University of Arizona

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