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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 – September 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

  • Hayabusa-2 Science Team award, for reviewing the PDS archive, December 2021
  • 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

List of peer-reviewed publications (2005–2022) by first author (Combe et al.)


Combe J.-Ph and Yamashita N., The Surface Composition of Vesta: Chapter 6 in "Ceres and Vesta: Insights from the Dawn Mission”, Cambridge University Press, edited by Simone Marchi, Carol Raymond and Chris Russell. Expected online publication date: April 2022. Online ISBN: 9781108856324.

Combe, J.-P. et al., The surface composition of Ceres' Ezinu quadrangle analyzed by the Dawn mission, Icarus, vol. 318, pp. 124–146, 2019. doi:10.1016/j.icarus.2017.12.039

Combe, J.-P. et al., Exposed H2O-rich areas detected on Ceres with the dawn visible and infrared mapping spectrometer, Icarus, vol. 318, pp. 22–41, 2019. doi:10.1016/j.icarus.2017.12.008.

Combe, J.-P. et al., Nature, distribution and origin of CO2 on Enceladus, Icarus, vol. 317, pp. 491–508, 2019. doi:10.1016/j.icarus.2018.08.007.

Combe, J.-P. et al., Detection of local H2O exposed at the surface of Ceres, Science, vol. 353, no. 6303, 2016. doi:10.1126/science.aaf3010.

Combe, J.-P. et al., Composition of the northern regions of Vesta analyzed by the Dawn mission, Icarus, vol. 259, pp. 53–71, 2015. doi:10.1016/j.icarus.2015.04.026.

Combe, J.-P. et al., Reflectance properties and hydrated material distribution on Vesta: Global investigation of variations and their relationship using improved calibration of Dawn VIR mapping spectrometer, Icarus, vol. 259, pp. 21–38, 2015. doi:10.1016/j.icarus.2015.07.034.

Combe, J.-P. and McCord, T. B., Investigation of the Mars Express HRSC color channel calibration, Advances in Space Research, vol. 43, no. 1, pp. 128–137, 2009. doi:10.1016/j.asr.2008.05.008.

Combe J.-Ph. et al., Analysis of OMEGA/Mars Express data hyperspectral data using a Multiple-Endmember Linear Spectral Unmixing Model (MELSUM): Methodology and first results, Planetary and Space Science, vol. 56, no. 7, pp. 951–975, 2008. doi:10.1016/j.pss.2007.12.007.

Combe, J.-P. et al., Mapping of an ophiolite complex by high-resolution visible-infrared spectrometry, Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems, vol. 7, no. 8, 2006. doi:10.1029/2005GC001214.

Combe, J. et al., Mapping microphytobenthos biomass by non-linear inversion of visible-infrared hyperspectral images, Remote Sensing of Environment, vol. 98, no. 4, pp. 371–387, 2005. doi:10.1016/j.rse.2005.07.010.

List of peer-reviewed publications (2005–2022) by co-author Jean-Philippe Combe


Le Mouélic, S. et al., Investigating Lunar Boulders at the Apollo 17 Landing Site Using Photogrammetry and Virtual Reality, Remote Sensing, vol. 12, no. 11, p. 1900, 2020. doi:10.3390/rs12111900.

Raponi, A. et al., Infrared detection of aliphatic organics on a cometary nucleus, Nature Astronomy, vol. 4, pp. 500–505, 2020. doi:10.1038/s41550-019-0992-8.

Tosi, F. et al., The changing temperature of the nucleus of comet 67P induced by morphological and seasonal effects, Nature Astronomy, vol. 3, pp. 649–658, 2019. doi:10.1038/s41550-019-0740-0.

Landis, M. E. et al., Water Vapor Contribution to Ceres' Exosphere From Observed Surface Ice and Postulated Ice-Exposing Impacts, Journal of Geophysical Research (Planets), vol. 124, no. 1, pp. 61–75, 2019. doi:10.1029/2018JE005780.

De Sanctis, M. C. et al., Ac-H-11 Sintana and Ac-H-12 Toharu quadrangles: Assessing the large and small scale heterogeneities of Ceres' surface, Icarus, vol. 318, pp. 230–240, 2019. doi:10.1016/j.icarus.2017.08.014.

Zambon, F. et al., Mineralogical analysis of quadrangle Ac-H-10 Rongo on the dwarf planet Ceres, Icarus, vol. 318, pp. 212–229, 2019. doi:10.1016/j.icarus.2017.09.021.

Carrozzo, F. G. et al., The mineralogy of Ceres' Nawish quadrangle, Icarus, vol. 318, pp. 195–204, 2019. doi:10.1016/j.icarus.2018.07.013.

Tosi, F. et al., Mineralogical analysis of the Ac-H-6 Haulani quadrangle of the dwarf planet Ceres, Icarus, vol. 318, pp. 170–187, 2019. doi:10.1016/j.icarus.2017.08.012.

Singh, S. et al., Mineralogy mapping of the Ac-H-5 Fejokoo quadrangle of Ceres, Icarus, vol. 318, pp. 147–169, 2019. doi:10.1016/j.icarus.2018.08.025.

Stephan, K. et al., Spectral investigation of quadrangle AC-H 3 of the dwarf planet Ceres - The region of impact crater Dantu, Icarus, vol. 318, pp. 111–123, 2019. doi:10.1016/j.icarus.2017.07.019.

Raponi, A. et al., Mineralogical mapping of Coniraya quadrangle of the dwarf planet Ceres, Icarus, vol. 318, pp. 99–110, 2019. doi:10.1016/j.icarus.2017.10.023.

Stephan, K. et al., Ceres' impact craters - Relationships between surface composition and geology, Icarus, vol. 318, pp. 56–74, 2019. doi:10.1016/j.icarus.2017.10.013.

Hughson, K. H. G. et al., The Ac-5 (Fejokoo) quadrangle of Ceres: Geologic map and geomorphological evidence for ground ice mediated surface processes, Icarus, vol. 316, pp. 63–83, 2018. doi:10.1016/j.icarus.2017.09.035.

Scully, J. E. C. et al., Ceres' Ezinu quadrangle: a heavily cratered region with evidence for localized subsurface water ice and the context of Occator crater, Icarus, vol. 316, pp. 46–62, 2018. doi:10.1016/j.icarus.2017.10.038.

Stephan, K. et al., Dantu's mineralogical properties - A view into the composition of Ceres' crust, Meteoritics and Planetary Science, vol. 53, no. 9, pp. 1866–1883, 2018. doi:10.1111/maps.13126.

Raponi, A. et al., Variations in the amount of water ice on Ceres' surface suggest a seasonal water cycle, Science Advances, vol. 4, no. 3, 2018. doi:10.1126/sciadv.aao3757.

Matson, D. L. et al., Enceladus' near-surface CO2 gas pockets and surface frost deposits, Icarus, vol. 302, pp. 18–26, 2018. doi:10.1016/j.icarus.2017.10.025.

Landis, M. E. et al., Conditions for Sublimating Water Ice to Supply Ceres' Exosphere, Journal of Geophysical Research (Planets), vol. 122, no. 10, pp. 1984–1995, 2017. doi:10.1002/2017JE005335.

Singh, G., Singh, S., Wagner, A., Chevrier, V. F., Combe, J.-P., and Gainor, M. et al., Experimental reflectance study of methane and ethane ice at Titan's surface conditions, Astrophysics and Space Science, vol. 362, no. 10, 2017. doi:10.1007/s10509-017-3166-0.

Scipioni, F. et al., Deciphering sub-micron ice particles on Enceladus surface, Icarus, vol. 290, pp. 183–200, 2017. doi:10.1016/j.icarus.2017.02.012.

Singh, S., Combe, J.-P., Cordier, D., Wagner, A., Chevrier, V. F., and McMahon, Z. et al., Experimental determination of acetylene and ethylene solubility in liquid methane and ethane: Implications to Titan's surface, Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, vol. 208, pp. 86–101, 2017. doi:10.1016/j.gca.2017.03.007.

Filacchione, G. et al., Seasonal exposure of carbon dioxide ice on the nucleus of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, Science, vol. 354, no. 6319, pp. 1563–1566, 2016. doi:10.1126/science.aag3161.

Platz, T. et al., Surface water-ice deposits in the northern shadowed regions of Ceres, Nature Astronomy, vol. 1, 2016. doi:10.1038/s41550-016-0007.

Ammannito, E. et al., Distribution of phyllosilicates on the surface of Ceres, Science, vol. 353, no. 6303, 2016. doi:10.1126/science.aaf4279.

Russell, C. T. et al., Dawn arrives at Ceres: Exploration of a small, volatile-rich world, Science, vol. 353, no. 6303, pp. 1008–1010, 2016. doi:10.1126/science.aaf4219.

Singh, S. et al., Acetylene on Titan’s Surface, The Astrophysical Journal, vol. 828, no. 1, 2016. doi:10.3847/0004-637X/828/1/55.

Singh, S. et al., Near-infrared spectra of liquid/solid acetylene under Titan relevant conditions and implications for Cassini/VIMS detections, Icarus, vol. 270, pp. 429–434, 2016. doi:10.1016/j.icarus.2015.11.002.

Filacchione, G. et al., Exposed water ice on the nucleus of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, Nature, vol. 529, no. 7586, pp. 368–372, 2016. doi:10.1038/nature16190.

de Sanctis, M. C. et al., Ammoniated phyllosilicates with a likely outer Solar System origin on (1) Ceres, Nature, vol. 528, no. 7581, pp. 241–244, 2015. doi:10.1038/nature16172.

Ammannito, E. et al., Compositional variations in the Vestan Rheasilvia basin, Icarus, vol. 259, pp. 194–202, 2015. doi:10.1016/j.icarus.2015.05.017.

Zambon, F. et al., Spectral analysis of the quadrangles Av-13 and Av-14 on Vesta, Icarus, vol. 259, pp. 181–193, 2015. doi:10.1016/j.icarus.2015.05.015.

Stephan, K. et al., The Sextilia-region on Asteroid 4Vesta - Stratigraphy and variegation, Icarus, vol. 259, pp. 162–180, 2015. doi:10.1016/j.icarus.2015.05.016.

McFadden, L. A. et al., Vesta's Pinaria region: Original basaltic achondrite material derived from mixing upper and lower crust, Icarus, vol. 259, pp. 150–161, 2015. doi:10.1016/j.icarus.2015.07.003.

Tosi, F. et al., Mineralogical analysis of the Oppia quadrangle of asteroid (4) Vesta: Evidence for occurrence of moderate-reflectance hydrated minerals, Icarus, vol. 259, pp. 129–149, 2015. doi:10.1016/j.icarus.2015.05.018.

Frigeri, A. et al., Mineralogic mapping of the Av-9 Numisia quadrangle of Vesta, Icarus, vol. 259, pp. 116–128, 2015. doi:10.1016/j.icarus.2015.07.029.

De Sanctis, M. C. et al., Eucritic crust remnants and the effect of in-falling hydrous carbonaceous chondrites characterizing the composition of Vesta's Marcia region, Icarus, vol. 259, pp. 91–115, 2015. doi:10.1016/j.icarus.2015.05.014.

Longobardo, A. et al., Mineralogical and spectral analysis of Vesta's Gegania and Lucaria quadrangles and comparative analysis of their key features, Icarus, vol. 259, pp. 72–90, 2015. doi:10.1016/j.icarus.2015.04.031.

Frigeri, A. et al., The spectral parameter maps of Vesta from VIR data, Icarus, vol. 259, pp. 10–20, 2015. doi:10.1016/j.icarus.2015.06.027.

De Sanctis, M. C. et al., The diurnal cycle of water ice on comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, Nature, vol. 525, no. 7570, pp. 500–503, 2015. doi:10.1038/nature14869.

Capaccioni, F. et al., The organic-rich surface of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko as seen by VIRTIS/Rosetta, Science, vol. 347, no. 6220, 2015. doi:10.1126/science.aaa0628.

Williams, D. A. et al., The geology of the Marcia quadrangle of asteroid Vesta: Assessing the effects of large, young craters, Icarus, vol. 244, pp. 74–88, 2014. doi:10.1016/j.icarus.2014.01.033.

Verpoorter, C., Carrère, V., and Combe, J.-P. et al., Visible, near-infrared spectrometry for simultaneous assessment of geophysical sediment properties (water and grain size) using the Spectral Derivative-Modified Gaussian Model, Journal of Geophysical Research (Earth Surface), vol. 119, no. 10, pp. 2098–2122, 2014. doi:10.1002/2013JF002969.

Turrini, D. et al., The contamination of the surface of Vesta by impacts and the delivery of the dark material, Icarus, vol. 240, pp. 86–102, 2014. doi:10.1016/j.icarus.2014.02.021.

Palomba, E. et al., Composition and mineralogy of dark material units on Vesta, Icarus, vol. 240, pp. 58–72, 2014. doi:10.1016/j.icarus.2014.04.040.

Tosi, F. et al., Thermal measurements of dark and bright surface features on Vesta as derived from Dawn/VIR, Icarus, vol. 240, pp. 36–57, 2014. doi:10.1016/j.icarus.2014.03.017.

Capria, M. T. et al., Vesta surface thermal properties map, Geophysical Research Letters, vol. 41, no. 5, pp. 1438–1443, 2014. doi:10.1002/2013GL059026.

Ammannito, E. et al., Vestan lithologies mapped by the visual and infrared spectrometer on Dawn, Meteoritics and Planetary Science, vol. 48, no. 11, pp. 2185–2198, 2013. doi:10.1111/maps.12192.

De Sanctis, M. C. et al., Vesta's mineralogical composition as revealed by the visible and infrared spectrometer on Dawn, Meteoritics and Planetary Science, vol. 48, no. 11, pp. 2166–2184, 2013. doi:10.1111/maps.12138.

Russell, C. T. et al., Dawn completes its mission at 4 Vesta, Meteoritics and Planetary Science, vol. 48, no. 11, pp. 2076–2089, 2013. doi:10.1111/maps.12091.

Reddy, V. et al., Corrigendum to “Delivery of dark material to Vesta via carbonaceous chondritic impacts” [Icarus 221 (2012) 544-559], Icarus, vol. 223, no. 1, pp. 632–632, 2013. doi:10.1016/j.icarus.2012.10.006.

Wu, Y. et al., Photometric correction and in-flight calibration of Chang' E-1 Interference Imaging Spectrometer (IIM) data, Icarus, vol. 222, no. 1, pp. 283–295, 2013. doi:10.1016/j.icarus.2012.11.010.

McCord, T. B. et al., Dark material on Vesta from the infall of carbonaceous volatile-rich material, Nature, vol. 491, no. 7422, pp. 83–86, 2012. doi:10.1038/nature11561.

Reddy, V. et al., Delivery of dark material to Vesta via carbonaceous chondritic impacts, Icarus, vol. 221, no. 2, pp. 544–559, 2012. doi:10.1016/j.icarus.2012.08.011.

De Sanctis, M. C. et al., Detection of Widespread Hydrated Materials on Vesta by the VIR Imaging Spectrometer on board the Dawn Mission, The Astrophysical Journal, vol. 758, no. 2, 2012. doi:10.1088/2041-8205/758/2/L36.

Green, R. O. et al., The Moon Mineralogy Mapper (M3) imaging spectrometer for lunar science: Instrument description, calibration, on-orbit measurements, science data calibration and on-orbit validation, Journal of Geophysical Research (Planets), vol. 116, 2011. doi:10.1029/2011JE003797.

Kramer, G. Y. et al., M3 spectral analysis of lunar swirls and the link between optical maturation and surface hydroxyl formation at magnetic anomalies, Journal of Geophysical Research (Planets), vol. 116, 2011. doi:10.1029/2010JE003729.

Mall, U., Bugiolacchi, R., Bhatt, M., Combe, J.-P., Bhattacharya, S., and McKenna-Lawlor, S. et al., Investigating Lunar Central Crater Peaks with the SIR-2 NIR Reflectance Spectrometer on CHANDRAYAAN-1, in Advances in Geosciences, Volume 25: Planetary Science (PS), 2011, vol. 25, pp. 87–108. doi:10.1142/9789814355377_0007.

Wendt, L. et al., Sulfates and iron oxides in Ophir Chasma, Mars, based on OMEGA and CRISM observations, Icarus, vol. 213, no. 1, pp. 86–103, 2011. doi:10.1016/j.icarus.2011.02.013.

Kramer, G. Y. et al., Characterization of lunar swirls at Mare Ingenii: A model for space weathering at magnetic anomalies, Journal of Geophysical Research (Planets), vol. 116, no. E4, 2011. doi:10.1029/2010JE003669.

Pieters, C. M. et al., Mg-spinel lithology: A new rock type on the lunar farside, Journal of Geophysical Research (Planets), vol. 116, 2011. doi:10.1029/2010JE003727.

McCord, T. B. et al., Sources and physical processes responsible for OH/H2O in the lunar soil as revealed by the Moon Mineralogy Mapper (M3), Journal of Geophysical Research (Planets), vol. 116, 2011. doi:10.1029/2010JE003711.

Kramer, G. Y. et al., Newer views of the Moon: Comparing spectra from Clementine and the Moon Mineralogy Mapper, Journal of Geophysical Research (Planets), vol. 116, 2011. doi:10.1029/2010JE003728.

Cheek, L. C. et al., Goldschmidt crater and the Moon's north polar region: Results from the Moon Mineralogy Mapper (M3), Journal of Geophysical Research (Planets), vol. 116, 2011. doi:10.1029/2010JE003702.

McCord, T. B., Hansen, G. B., Combe, J.-P., and Hayne, P. et al., Hydrated minerals on Europa’s surface: An improved look from the Galileo NIMS investigation, Icarus, vol. 209, no. 2, pp. 639–650, 2010. doi:10.1016/j.icarus.2010.05.026.

Williams, D. A. et al., Surface-compositional properties of the Malea Planum region of the Circum-Hellas Volcanic Province, Mars, Earth and Planetary Science Letters, vol. 294, no. 3, pp. 451–465, 2010. doi:10.1016/j.epsl.2009.11.019.

Pieters, C. M. et al., Character and Spatial Distribution of OH/H2O on the Surface of the Moon Seen by M3 on Chandrayaan-1, Science, vol. 326, no. 5952, p. 568, 2009. doi:10.1126/science.1178658.

Adams, J. B. et al., Salt tectonics and collapse of Hebes Chasma, Valles Marineris, Mars, Geology, vol. 37, no. 8, pp. 691–694, 2009. doi:10.1130/G30024A.1.

Williams, D. A. et al., The Circum-Hellas Volcanic Province, Mars: Overview, Planetary and Space Science, vol. 57, no. 8, pp. 895–916, 2009. doi:10.1016/j.pss.2008.08.010.

Le Corre, L. et al., Analysis of a cryolava flow-like feature on Titan, Planetary and Space Science, vol. 57, no. 7, pp. 870–879, 2009. doi:10.1016/j.pss.2009.03.005.

Massé, M. et al., Mineralogical composition, structure, morphology, and geological history of Aram Chaos crater fill on Mars derived from OMEGA Mars Express data, Journal of Geophysical Research (Planets), vol. 113, no. E12, 2008. doi:10.1029/2008JE003131.

Le Deit, L. et al., Ferric oxides in East Candor Chasma, Valles Marineris (Mars) inferred from analysis of OMEGA/Mars Express data: Identification and geological interpretation, Journal of Geophysical Research (Planets), vol. 113, no. E7, 2008. doi:10.1029/2007JE002950.

McCord, T. B. et al., Titan's surface: Search for spectral diversity and composition using the Cassini VIMS investigation, Icarus, vol. 194, no. 1, pp. 212–242, 2008. doi:10.1016/j.icarus.2007.08.039.

McCord, T. B. et al., Mars Express High Resolution Stereo Camera spectrophotometric data: Characteristics and science analysis, Journal of Geophysical Research (Planets), vol. 112, no. E6, 2007. doi:10.1029/2006JE002769.

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