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

People | Planetary science at UChicago | Opportunities
Proposals | Research statement

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


  • 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]

    • 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 Mars DTMs

    GEOS 38600

    GEOS 32060 (current iteration)

    GEOS 32060 (2016 iteration)

    PhD thesis

    Current projects on Mars, icy moons, and rocky exoplanets

    • Build a database of paleochannel widths and wavelengths for small catchments of known area and known age on Mars.

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

    • Habitability of waterworlds.

    • Use crosscutting relations between Noachian craters on Mars to determine the duration of Noachian surface liquid water.

    • Use the orientations of valleys feeding alluvial fans on Mars to test the hypothesis that the water source was snowmelt, not rainfall.

    • Libration shear heating of almost-global sub-ice oceans.

    • Mountain formation by climate change on Mars.

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

    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.

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