John Moores

Associate Professor of Space Engineering

Petrie 203



I am an Associate Professor in the Department of Earth and Space Science and Engineering at York University (with a graduate appointment in the Earth and Space Science and Physics and Astronomy Departments) and a Participating Scientist on the Mars Science Laboratory Mission, popularly known as the Curiosity Rover. After training on MER in 2004, I contributed to the 2005 Huygens Mission to Saturn’s Moon Titan and the 2008 Phoenix Mission to the Martian Arctic. My work has been included in 49 peer-reviewed papers and 119 conference proceedings. I am the Deputy Director of the Technologies for Exo/Planetary Science NSERC CREATE Program and a member of the Canadian Space Agency’s Planetary Exploration Consultation Committee.

I am currently developing planetary simulation facilities at York University as part of the Planetary Volatile Laboratory and am supporting Surface Operations on the Mars Science Laboratory Rover. Previously, I have led experimental studies into interactions of volatiles with the martian surface and polar caps. I have also participated in the development of the Surface Stereo Imager for the Phoenix Lander and have been involved in several conceptual space mission design studies and analogue planetary missions. I have experience modeling scattering in the atmospheres of Earth and of Mars from the ultraviolet into the near infra-red and dynamical modeling of the Martian atmosphere. Recently, my work has led to the first direct detection of fog on Mars and to estimates of the methane content of the martian atmosphere from exogenous sources.

Research Interests

  • Numerical Modeling of volatile processes on planetary bodies
  • Laboratory Simulation of planetary bodies
  • Space Mission Operations, Experiment Design & Data Analysis
  • Planetary instrument design and development & Space Mission Design
  • Planetary Science, Space Exploration & instrumentation
  • Atmospheric Science
  • Exoplanets
  • Geophysics

Selected Publications

Moores, J.E., Smith, C.L., Toigo, A. and Guzewich, S. (2017) Penitentes as the origin of the bladed terrain of Tartarus Dorsa on Pluto. Nature. 541 p. 188-190 Doi: 10.1038/nature20779.

Smith, C.L., B.A. Cooper and J.E. Moores (2016) Possible ground fog detection from SLI imagery of Titan. Icarus. In Press. Doi: 10.1016/j.icarus.2016.02.002.

Moores, J.E. (2016a) Lunar water migration in the interval between large impacts: Heterogeneous delivery to Permanently Shadowed Regions, fractionation, and diffusive barriers. In Press. J. Geophys Res. Planets. 121 (1) p. 46- Doi: 10.1002/2015JE004929

Moores, J.E. and 14 co-authors including C.A. Moore (2016b) Transient Atmospheric Effects of the Landing of the Mars Science Laboratory Rover: The Emission and Dissipation of Dust and Carbazic Acid. Advances in Space Research. 58 pp. 1066-1092 Doi: 10.1016/j.asr.2016.05.051

Kloos, J.L, Moores, J.E. et al. (2016) The First Year of Atmospheric Monitoring Movies from Mars Science Laboratory (Sol 0-800). Advances in Space Research. 57 (5) pp. 1223 – 1240, doi: 10.1016/j.asr.2015.12.040

Moores, J.E. and 25 co-authors including R. Francis and E. McCullough (2015c) Atmospheric movies acquired at the Mars Science Laboratory landing site: Cloud Morphology, Frequency and Significance to the Gale Crater Water Cycle and Phoenix Mission Results. Advances in Space Research. 55 (9) pp 2217-2238 Doi: 10.1016/j.asr.2015.02.007

Moores, J.E. and 25 co-authors including R. Francis and E. McCullough (2015a) Observational evidence of a suppressed planetary boundary layer in northern Gale Crater, Mars as seen by the Navcam instrument onboard the Mars Science Laboratory rover. Icarus v. 249 pp.129-142 Doi: 10.1016/j.icarus.2014.09.020

Webster, C.R. and 29 co-authors including J.E. Moores (2015) Mars methane detection and variability at Gale crater. Science. 347 (6220) pp. 415-417 doi: 10.1126/science.1261713

Moores, J.E., K.A. Carroll, I. DeSouza, K. Sathiyanathan, B. Stoute, J. Shan, R.S. Lee and B. Quine (2014b) The Small Reconnaissance of Atmospheres (SMARA) Mission Platform Concept, Part I: Motivations and Outline for a Swarm of Scientific Microprobes to the Clouds of Jupiter in 2030. Int. J. of Space Science and Engineering. v 2 (4) pp. 327-344 doi: 10.1504/IJSPACESE.2014.06696

Moores, J.E., T.H. Mcconnochie, D.W. Ming, P.D. Archer, Jr. and A.C. Schuerger (2014a) The Siding Spring Cometary Encounter with Mars: A Natural Experiment for the Martian Atmosphere? Geophysical Research Letters 41 (12) 4109-4117 doi: 10.1002/2014GL060610

Meslin, P.-Y. and 47 co-authors including J.E. Moores (2013) Soil diversity and hydration as observed by ChemCam at Gale Crater, Mars. Science 341 (6153) doi: 10.1126/science.1238670

Moores, J.E., R. Francis, M. Mader, G.R. Osinski and the ILSR Team (2012b) A Mission Control Architecture for Lunar Sample Return as Field Tested in an Analogue Deployment to the Sudbury Impact Structure. Advances in Space Research. 50 (12) p.1666-1686 doi: 10.1016/j.asr.2012.05.008

Moores, J.E. and A.C. Schuerger (2012c) UV degradation of accreted organics on Mars: IDP longevity, surface reservoir of organics, and relevance to the detection of methane in the atmosphere. JGR-Planets. 117 (E8) CiteID E08008 doi: 10.1029/2012JE004060

Moores, J.E., L. Komguem, J.A. Whiteway, M.T. Lemmon, C. Dickinson and F. Daerden (2011b) Observations of Near-Surface Fog at the Phoenix Mars Landing Site. Geophys. Res. Lett. 38(4) L04203 doi: 10.1029/2010GL046315.

Whiteway, J., Komguem, L., Dickinson, C., Cook,, C., Seabrook, J., Popovici, V., Duck, T., Davy, R., Taylor, P., Pathak, J., Fisher, D., Carswell, A., Daly, M., Hipkin, V., Tamppari, L., Renno, N., Smith, P.H. Moores, J. and Lemmon, M.T. (2009) Mars Water Ice Clouds and Precipitation. Science vol 325, Issue 5936 pp. 68- doi: 10.1126/science.1172344.

Tomasko, M.G., Smith, P.H. , Moores, J.E. and 37 co-authors (2005) Rain, winds and haze during the Huygens probe’s descent to Titan’s surface. Nature vol 438 n°7069 pp 765-778.