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Dr. Aster Cowart

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Postdoctoral Research Scientist

Currently resides in NY
jcowart [at]
Areas of Expertise
Targets: Earth, Mars
Disciplines/Techniques: Education/Public Outreach (EPO), Field Work, Geology, Geomorphology, Mapping, Remote sensing, Thermal Emission Spectroscopy
Missions: Mars Odyssey, MSL
Mission Roles: Science operations
Instruments: Cameras, Imaging spectrometers, Spectrometers

Research Interests

Justin Cowart is a Ph.D. Candidate advised by Dr. Deanne Rogers at Stony Brook University. Their Ph.D. work ties Martian surface composition to the planet's landscape using the Mars Global Surveyor Thermal Emission Spectrometer (TES), Mars Odyssey Thermal Emission Imaging System (THEMIS), and the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter HiRISE and CTX visible light cameras.

At PSI, they work with Dr. Aileen Yingst analyzing rock microtextures using the Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) instrument on the Curiosity rover to understand the history of sediment deposition within Gale Crater.

Justin also processes archival spacecraft imagery for public outreach. Their photos have appeared in Nature, National Geographic, and the New York Times, among other outlets.

Professional History

Justin Cowart received their BS in Geology from Southern Illinois University in 2013. They entered the Ph.D. program at Stony Brook University in 2016, with a planned defense date of May 2022.

Honors and Awards

In 2012, Justin's performance at the Southern Illinois University field camp led to their awarding a position in the USGS-NAGT student internship program. In 2017, Justin was the recipient of the Stony Brook Geoscience Department's David E. King field award, which was used to organize a field trip for the planetary sciences group to selected field analog sites in Utah.

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