Paul B. Niles, Planetary Scientist
Geochemistry and Planetary Geology
NASA Employee / KR
PhD Arizona State University 2005
BA Northwestern University 1997
Dr. PAUL B. NILES is a planetary geologist and analytical geochemist at Johnson Space Center (JSC). He is mainly interested in interpreting the geologic conditions of past aqueous environments on Earth, Mars, and meteorite parent bodies. He seeks to answer questions regarding the temperatures, time scales, nature of water-rock interaction, and chemical characteristics of these ancient aqueous systems with the final goal of assessing their suitability for sustaining life. He researches these questions through high resolution chemical and stable isotopic measurements of secondary minerals using a variety of instruments including the ion microprobe (SIMS). In addition, he uses laboratory experiments to simulate the ancient aqueous environments in order to better understand the complex micro-scale relationships found in the rock record.
Niles P. B., Boynton W. V., Hoffman J. H., Ming D. W., and Hamara D. (2010) Stable Isotope Measurements of Martian Atmospheric CO2 at the Phoenix Landing Site. Science 329 (5997), 1334-1337. (PDF available to everyone)
Michalski J. R. and Niles P. B. (2010) Deep crustal carbonate rocks exposed by meteor impact on Mars. Nature Geoscience 3(11), 751-755.
Niles P. B., Zolotov M. Y., and Leshin L. A. (2009) Insights into the formation of Fe- and Mg-rich aqueous solutions on early Mars provided by the ALH 84001 carbonates. Earth and Planetary Science Letters 286, 122-130.
Boynton W. V., Ming D. W., Kounaves S. P., Young S. M. M., Arvidson R. E., Hecht M. H., Hoffman J., Niles P. B., Hamara D. K., Quinn R. C., Smith P. H., Sutter B., Catling D. C., and Morris R. V. (2009) Evidence for Calcium Carbonate at the Mars Phoenix Landing Site. Science325(5936), 61-64.
Niles P. B. and Michalski J. (2009) Meridiani Planum sediments on Mars formed through weathering in massive ice deposits. Nature Geoscience 2(3), 215-220.
Michalski J. R., Reynolds S. J., Niles P. B., Sharp T. G., and Christensen P. R. (2007) Alteration mineralogy in detachment zones: Insights from Swansea, Arizona. Geosphere 3(4), 184-198.
Niles P. B., Leshin L. A., and Guan Y. (2005) Microscale carbon isotope variability in ALH84001 carbonates and a discussion of possible formation environments. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 69(11), 2931-2944
Deep Crustal Carbonates on Mars
Isotopic Composition of Mars Atmosphere
Meridiani Ice Hypothesis
- Space.com article
Mars Phoenix Lander
- Houston radio KUHF piece