Edwin Kite | Solar System and Exoplanet Habitability
University of Chicago
Assistant Professor. [cv]

People in the Lab:
David Mayer, Planetary GIS/Data Specialist.
Mohit Melwani Daswani, Postdoc. Jonathan Sneed, Mars Research Assistant.

Opportunities for prospective graduate students and postdocs

Planetary science and exoplanet research at the University of Chicago

Office: 467 Hinds Building
5734 S Ellis
University of Chicago
Chicago, IL 60637

Current projects on Mars, icy moons, and rocky exoplanets

  • Mars climate evolution model - including multiple possible orbital histories, carbonate formation, and spatially-resolved liquid water availability.

  • Turbulent dissipation in tiger stripes on Enceladus.

  • Mountain formation by climate change on Mars.

  • Reassessing the origin of volatile envelopes on small-radius exoplanets (how did super-Earths get their gas?)

  • Magma pools and the deep circulation of rocky extrasolar planets.


  • Kite, Sneed, Mayer, Michaels, Lewis, Hore, and Rafkin, Build-up of mountains on Mars via anticompensational stacking modulated by climate change, in prep. [ More]

  • Kite, Armstrong, Gao, Goldblatt, and others, Cadence and cause of lake-forming climates on Mars, in prep. [ More]

  • Kite and Mayer, How to use crater counts to constrain erosion rates on Mars, in prep. [ More]

  • Kite, Fegley, Schaefer, and Gaidos, Atmosphere-interior exchange on hot rocky exoplanets, minor revisions requested by ApJ. [ More] [pdf]

  • Kite and Rubin, Sustained eruptions on Enceladus explained by turbulent dissipation in tiger stripes, PNAS, 2016. [ More] [abstract]

  • Richter, Chaussidon, Mendybaev, and Kite, Reassessing the cooling rate and geologic setting of Martian nakhlite meteorites with special emphasis on MIL 03346 and NWA 817, Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, 2016. [ More] [paper]

  • Borlina, Ehlmann, and Kite, Modeling the thermal and physical evolution of Mount Sharp's sedimentary rocks, Gale Crater, Mars: implications for diagenesis on the MSL Curiosity Rover traverse, JGR-Planets, 2015. [ More] [pdf]

  • Kite, Howard, Lucas, and Lewis, Resolving the era of river-forming climates on Mars using stratigraphic logs of river-deposit dimensions, Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 2015. [ More] [pdf] [supplementary information]

  • Kite, Howard, Lucas, Armstrong, Aharonson, and Lamb, Stratigraphy of Aeolis Dorsa, Mars: stratigraphic context of the great river deposits, Icarus, 2015. [ More] [pdf] [supplementary information]

  • Kite, Williams, Lucas and Aharonson, Low palaeopressure of the martian atmosphere estimated from the size distribution of ancient craters, Nature Geoscience, 2014. [ More] [abstract] [regional data] [local data] [Nature News] [Wired] [BBC News]

  • Kite, Lewis, Lamb, Newman, and Richardson, Growth and form of the mound in Gale Crater, Mars: Slope-wind enhanced erosion and transport, Geology, 2013. [ More] [pdf] [supplementary information] [code] [Red Planet Report] [news coverage in Science] [news coverage in Nature] [New York Times]

  • Kite, Halevy, Kahre, Wolff, and Manga, Seasonal melting and the formation of sedimentary rocks on Mars, with predictions for the Gale Crater mound, Icarus, 2013. [ More] [pdf] [journal version] [astrobites] [Red Planet Report] [Planetary Society]

  • Kite, Lucas, and Fassett, Pacing Early Mars river activity: Embedded craters in the Aeolis Dorsa region imply river activity spanned ≥(1-20) Myr, Icarus, 2013. [ More] [pdf] [code] [supplementary table]

  • Šrámek, McDonough, Kite, Lekić, Dye, and Zhong, Geophysical and geochemical constraints on geoneutrino fluxes from Earth's mantle, Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 2013. [ More] [pdf] [supplementary information] ["Research Highlight" in Nature]

  • Kite and Howard, Commentary: Let's send the DoE to Alpha Centauri, Physics Today, September 2013. [pdf]
  • Rappaport, Levine, Chiang, El Mellah, Jenkins, Kalomeni, Kite, Kotson, Nelson, Rousseau-Nepton, and Tran, Possible disintegrating short-period Super-Mercury orbiting KIC 12557548, Astrophysical Journal, 2012. [ More] [pdf] [htm]

  • Kite, Gaidos and Manga, Climate instability on tidally locked exoplanets, Astrophysical Journal, 2011. [ More] [pdf] [htm] [Space.com]

  • Mangold, Kite, Kleinhans, Newsom, Ansan, Hauber, Kraal, Quantin-Nataf and Tanaka, The origin and timing of fluvial activity at Eberswalde Crater, Mars, Icarus, 2012. [ More] [pdf]

  • Kite, Michaels, Rafkin, Dietrich, and Manga, Chaos terrain, storms, and past climate on Mars, JGR-Planets, 2011.
    [ More] [pdf] [dynamic article] [Red Planet Report] ["Research Highlight" in Nature Geoscience]

  • Manga, Patel, Dufek and Kite, Wet surface and dense atmosphere on early Mars inferred from the bomb sag at Home Plate, Mars, Geophysical Research Letters, 2011. [ More] [pdf] [htm]

  • Kite, Rafkin, Michaels, Manga, and Dietrich, Localized precipitation and runoff on Mars, JGR-Planets, 2011. [ More] [pdf] [dynamic article] [as reported by "New Scientist"]

  • Kite, Manga and Gaidos, Geodynamics and rate of volcanism on massive Earth-like planets, Astrophysical Journal, 2009. [ More] [pdf] [htm]

  • Chiang, Kite, Kalas, Graham and Clampin, Fomalhaut's debris disk and planet: Constraining the mass of Fomalhaut b using disk morphology, Astrophysical Journal, 2009. [ More] [pdf]

  • Kite, Matsuyama, Manga, Perron and Mitrovica, True polar wander driven by late-stage volcanism and the distribution of paleopolar deposits on Mars, Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 2009. [ More] [pdf] [som]

  • Kalas, Graham, Chiang, Fitzgerald, Clampin, Kite, Stapelfeldt, Marois and Krist, Optical images of an exosolar planet 25 light years from Earth, Science, 2008 [ More] [abstract] [#2 Breakthrough of the Year]

  • Kite and Hindmarsh, Did ice streams shape the largest channels on Mars?, Geophysical Research Letters, 2007. [ More] [pdf]

Public HiRISE stereo DTMs


PhD thesis

Research interests

    Mars. Once you start thinking about the Early Mars climate problem it is hard to think about anything else. My main approach is to relate pre-modern, but still relatively young, geomorphic features to local inputs of water and energy. The hope is to provide insight into ancient features whose geological context is less clear. I am also interested in understanding the formation of intra-crater mountains and intra-canyon mountains on Mars, as well as reconstructing the sedimentary and diagenetic processes that shaped Mars' sedimentary basins.

    Europa and Enceladus. I am extremely interested in tectonics, surface-interior exchange, and potential habitability for these ice moons.

    Earth history & geobiology. Long-term climate stability. Geoneutrinos as a probe of deep-time thermal history. Planetary thermostats and planetary habitability.

    Extrasolar planets. Thermal evolution of rocky planets. Habitability of volatile-rich planets. Substellar magma ponds. Climate feedbacks on tidally-locked planets.