Research & Bio

By day, I’m a planetary scientist by the name of Dr. Jamie Molaro. I’m a Research Scientist at the Planetary Science Institute, in affiliation with (and working physically from) the Caltech/Jet Propulsion Laboratory in southern California. I am also a Participating Scientist on NASA’s OSIRIS-REx mission to retrieve a sample from asteroid Bennu, and a member of Project ESPRESSO, a node of NASA’s Solar System Exploration Research Virtual Institute (SSERVI). I study the surfaces of rocky and icy airless bodies, like Earth’s Moon, asteroids, comets, and the icy moons of Jupiter and Saturn.

My work focuses on thermally driven weathering and metamorphism processes that drive landscape evolution on these objects. Specifically, I study the way that daily heating and cooling can cause fracture propagation in rocks, causing them to break down into dust over time. I also study the process of ice sintering, and how the microstructure of ice deposited on the surfaces like Europa and Enceladus changes over time. Understanding these processes tells us about the nature and history of these objects, and allows us to characterize the properties of their surfaces to develop technology for future exploration. Because of my contribution to the field of asteroid science, I have an asteroid named in honor of my research (asteroid 30379 Molaro).

Outreach and service are also important parts of my career. I am the founder and the director of both The Art of Planetary Science, a public engagement effort to help people connect to science through art shows and workshops, and DAIS (Disabled for Accessibility In Space), a peer networking and support organization for disabled scientists.


  • Twitter: @spacejammie
  • Instagram: @dataarcana
  • Email: jmolaro (at)

Recent Interviews: (both science & art)

Select Publications: