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Dr. Jean-Philippe Combe

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Senior Scientist

Currently resides in WA
jpcombe [at]

Targets: Asteroids, Ceres, Comets, Earth, Enceladus, Europa, Icy satellites, Mars, Moon, Phobos, Planetary rings, Titan, Vesta
Disciplines/Techniques: Education/Public Outreach (EPO), Field Work, Laboratory Spectroscopy, Mapping, Mineralogy, Numerical modeling, Photometry, Remote sensing, Space-based observing, Spectroscopy
Missions: Cassini, Chandrayaan 1 (India), Dawn, Mars Express (ESA), Rosetta
Mission Roles: Calibration/Test planning, Mission Co-Investigator, Mission science team
Instruments: Cameras, FTIR, Imaging spectrometers, Spectrometers, Thermal radiometers

Research Interests

General: Investigating the origin, formation and evolution of the solar system.

Targets: Identifying and mapping of the surface composition and physical properties of solid celestial objects of the solar system, such as planets, satellites, asteroids and comets.

Techniques: Visible and near-infrared spectroscopy with spaceborne, airborne, ground and laboratory measurements, including instrument calibration, development of spectral analysis techniques, and radiative transfer modelling.

Professional History

May 2021 – present: Senior Scientist at the Planetary Space Institute (PSI)

June 2006 – 2021: Research Scientist at the Bear Fight Institute (BFI) in Winthrop, WA

September 2001 – June 2006: Graduate Assistant at University of Nantes, France

September 2001 – October 2005:       Ph.D. student at University of Nantes, France

Research activities:

Surface composition and photometric properties of telluric objects of the solar system:

  • Development of spectral unmixing algorithms, absorption band identification, photometric corrections and thermal emission correction of reflectance data.
  • Member (2009-2014) and Co-Investigator (2014-2018) of the Dawn mission for studying the surface properties of Vesta and Ceres.
  • Composition and temporal variations of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko with the Visible and Infrared Thermal imaging Spectrometer on the Rosetta mission.
  • Surface composition of Saturn’s satellites and atmospheric spectrophotometric properties of Titan with the Cassini VIMS imaging spectrometer.
  • Mineralogy, photometry, and thermal emission of the Moon with Chandrayaan-1 Moon Mineralogy Mapper hyperspectral images, the Diviner Lunar Radiometer Experiment, and Clementine UVVIS + NIR multispectral images.
  • Mapping of mineralogical surface composition and geology of Mars with Mars Express OMEGA and HRSC, and Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter CRISM spectral data.
  • Identification of hydrated salts on Europa with the Galileo NIMS imaging spectrometer.
  • NASA proposal review panelist

Honors and Awards

• ESA Group Achievement Award to the VIRTIS/Rosetta Science Team, July 2017
• Asteroid 9152 Combe (1980 VZ2), July 12, 2014 for helping interpret the widespread presence of OH on the surface of asteroid (4) Vesta with the Dawn mission
• NASA Group Achievement Award to the Dawn Science Team, July 18, 2013
• ESA Group Achievement Award to Mars Express Science Team, September, 2013

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