Print this page

Stephen Wood's Profile Picture

Stephen Wood
Research Assistant Professor
Office: JHN-247
Phone: 206-543-0090
Fax: 206-543-0489 (shared)
Email: [javascript protected email address]
Interests: Planetary surface processes; Mars polar caps, ground ice, and climate evolution; Icy satellite surface evolution; Microphysics of heat and mass transfer; Spacecraft and laboratory
Research Groups: Planetary Sciences, Planetary Surfaces

Ph.D., Geophysics & Space Physics, University of California, Los Angeles (1999)
B.S., Physics, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (1990)
Current Research:
In the broadest terms, my research concerns the interactive andevolving relationships between planetary surfaces, volatiles, andenvironmental conditions. By "surfaces" I mean not just the visibleupper surface, but the entire regolith - the porous outer layercovering the bedrock of a planet or moon. By "volatiles" I mean any compoundswhich can exist in vapor and condensed phases over the range ofsurface temperatures and pressures on the planet, such as H2O onEarth, CO2 on Mars, or N2 on Triton. And "environmentalconditions" include factors such as the planet's orbital parameters.These three components form a strongly coupled system that evolvesthrough time, driven by changes in external forcing such as the solaror geothermal flux.

Much of my work is focused on understanding themicrophysical processes that govern the internal response and feedbackmechanisms in these coupled systems. My primary objective isto develop mechanistic models - guided by observations and tested byexperiment - that can predict the thermodynamic phase, physicalproperties, fluxes, and spatial distribution of volatiles for anygiven set of regolith properties and environmental conditions.

Current projects include:
  • Science planning and data analysis for the Phoenix Mars Lander mission
  • Interpretation of data from the Mars Climate Sounder, an instrument on the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter
  • Laboratory studies of heat and mass transfer in icy soils using a Mars environmental simulation chamber
  • Development of a coupled, non-steady-state, 1-D numerical model for heat and mass transfer in icy soils
  • Development of a 3-D landscape evolution model for the icy satellites of Jupiter and Saturn