Aster Cowart, Planetary Geologist

I am Aster Cowart, a Postdoctoral Researcher at the Planetary Science Institute. My primary research focus is learning about Martian geology using photography, which depending on the instrument can view the planet from the global scale all the way down to the micron-scale. My current research is characterizing the sedimentology of rocks in Gale Crater on the Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) on the Curiosity rover. I completed my Ph.D. in Geosciences at Stony Brook University in 2022, following a B.S. in Geology from Southern Illinois University Carbondale in 2013.

I particularly enjoy field geology and have been fortunate enough to explore many different field sites. As I flesh this site out more I hope to share my knowledge of these sites!

One of my hobbies is exploring archival photography from space missions. These records may supplement new scientific observations, but they are also fun to dig through! Many of these observations are just collecting dust, despite providing beautiful views of our Solar System. I try to discover these gems to continue to add value to the millions of human-hours that went into building and managing the probes that voyaged into deep space.

Occasionally I write. My work has been previously featured on the Planetary Society blog.