Edwin KiteAssociate Professor

Research Focus:
Planetary science
HGS 467

Solar System and Exoplanet Habitability Research (

If you are interested in graduate study or postdoctoral research in planetary science, please contact me! Prospective students can apply to the Department of the Geophysical Sciences.

  • Early Mars. Mars is the only planet whose surface is known to have become uninhabitable. Once you start thinking about the Early Mars climate problem it is hard to think about anything else. What allowed rivers and lakes early in Mars history? How, when, and why did Mars dry out? How did loss of H2O, loss of CO2, and loss of non-CO2 greenhouse forcing interact with each other? What does the end of surface habitability on Mars teach us about habitability on planets in general? My approach combines the development of new proxies, geologic data analysis with existing proxies, and a hierarchy of numerical models.
  • Mars' near future. I am working on methods for warming Mars using engineered aerosol, in collaboration with the Mohseni nanophotonics group at Northwestern and the Ramirez planetary habitability group at UCF.
  • Rocky exoplanets. I care deeply about atmosphere-interior exchange and the physical and chemical processes underpinning habitability for rocky exoplanets. 
  • Europa and Enceladus. I maintain a secondary interest in tectonics, surface-interior exchange, and potential habitability for these ice moons.
  • Participating Scientist on the Mars Rover Curiosity. People in my group work in both day-to-day science operations and also science analysis.

Selected Publications (see for more)

  • Ansari, Kite, Ramirez, Steele, and Mohseni, Feasibility of keeping Mars warm with nanoparticles, Science Advances, in press, 2024 [pdf]
  • Warren, Wilson, Howard, Noblet, and Kite, Multiple Exit Breaches From Young Craters Require Surface Melting and Hundreds of Meters of Mid-Latitude Ice Late In Mars History, Planetary Science Journal, in press, 2024.
  • Kite and Conway, Geological evidence for multiple climate transitions on Early Mars, Nature Geoscience, 2024. [pdf]
  • Rapin, Dromart, Clark, Schieber, Kite, Kah, Thomson, Meslin, Gasnault, Gasda, and Lanza, Sustained Wet-Dry Cycling on Early Mars, Nature, 2023. [link]
  • Warren and KiteNarrow range of early habitable Venus scenarios
    permitted by modelling of oxygen loss and radiogenic argon degassing
    ,  PNAS, 2023. [paper]
  • Hu, Gaillard, and KiteNarrow loophole for H2-dominated atmospheres on habitable rocky planets around M dwarfs, Astrophysical Journal Letters, 2023. [paper]
  • Peterson, Benneke, Collins, Piaulet, Crossfield, Ali-Dib, Christiansen, Gagne, Faherty, Kite, and 58 others, A Temperate Earth-sized Planet With Tidal Heating Transiting an M6 Star, Nature, 2023. [link]
  • Brinkman, Weiss, Dai, Huber, Kite, et al., TOI-561 b: A low density ultra-short period "rocky" planet around a metal-poor star, Astronomical Journal, 2023. [paper]
  • Kite and Noblet, High and dry: billion-year trends in the aridity of river-forming climates on Mars, Geophysical Research Letters, 2022. [open access]
  • Kite, Mischna, Fan, Morgan, Wilson, and Richardson, Changing spatial distribution of water flow charts major change in Mars' greenhouse effect, Science Advances, 2022. [open access]
  • Li, Kite, and KeatingThe age and erosion rate of young sedimentary rock on Mars, Planetary Science Journal, 2022. [open access]
  • KiteSteele, Mischna, and Richardson, Warm early Mars surface enabled by high-altitude water ice clouds, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2021. [pdf]
  • Kite and Schaefer, Water on hot rocky exoplanets, Astrophysical Journal Letters, 2021. [pdf]
  • Kite, Kreidberg, Schaefer, Caracas, and Hirschmann, Strange new worlds define new planetary-materials challenges. [htm]
  • Z. Liu, Y. Liu, Pan, Zhao, Kite, Wu, and Zou, Inverted channel belts and floodplain clays to the East of Tempe Terra, Mars: implications for persistent fluvial activity on Early Mars, Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 2021. [pdf]
  • WarrenHoloKite, and Wilson, Overspilling small craters on a dry Mars: Insights from breach erosion modeling, Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 2021. [pdf]
  • Kite and BarnettExoplanet secondary atmosphere loss and revival, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2020. [pdf]
  • Kite, Fegley, Schaefer, and Ford, Atmosphere origins for exoplanet sub-Neptunes, Astrophysical Journal, 2020. [pdf] 
  • Heard and KiteA probabilistic case for a large missing carbon sink on Mars after 3.5 billion years ago, Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 2020. [pdf] 
  • Holo and KiteThe spatial signature of a changing impactor population for Mars, Icarus, 2020. [pdf] 
  • Archer, Kite, and Lusk, The ultimate cost of carbon, Climatic Change, 2020. [paper] 
  • Kite, Fegley, Schaefer, and Ford, Superabundance of exoplanet sub-Neptunes explained by fugacity crisis, Astrophysical Journal Letters, 2019. [pdf] 
  • Kite, Mayer, Wilson, Davis, Lucas, and Stucky de Quay, Persistence of intense, climate-driven runoff late in Mars history, Science Advances, 2019. [pdf] 
  • KiteGeologic constraints on Early Mars climate, Space Science Reviews, 2019. [pdf] 
  • Kite and Melwani DaswaniGeochemistry constrains global hydrology on Early Mars, Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 2019. [pdf]
  • WarrenKite, Williams, and Horgan, Through the thick and thin: New constraints on Martian paleopressure history 3.8-4 Ga from small exhumed craters, JGR-Planets, 2019.  [pdf] 
  • Stucky de QuayKite, and MayerProlonged fluvial activity from channel-fan systems on Mars, JGR-Planets, 2019.  [htm] 
  • MansfieldKite, et al., Identifying atmospheres on rocky exoplanets through inferred high albedo, Astrophysical Journal, 2019. [pdf]
  • de Kleer, Nimmo, and KiteVariability in Io's volcanism on timescales of periodic orbital changes, Geophysical Research Letters, 2019. [pdf] 
  • Kite and Ford, Habitability of exoplanet waterworlds, Astrophysical Journal, 2018. [pdf] 
  • HoloKite, and Robbins, Mars obliquity history constrained by elliptic crater orientations, Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 2018. [pdf] 
  • Seybold, Kite, and Kirchner, Branching geometry of valley networks on Mars and Earth and its implications for early Martian climate, Science Advances, 2018. [pdf] 
  • Kite, Gao, Goldblatt, Mischna, Mayer, and Yung, Methane bursts as a trigger for intermittent lake-forming climates on post-Noachian Mars, Nature Geoscience, 2017. [paper] 
  • Kite, Sneed, Mayer, and Wilson, Persistent or repeated surface habitability on Mars during the Late Hesperian - Amazonian, Geophysical Research Letters, 2017. [pdf] 
  • Kite and MayerMars sedimentary rock erosion rates constrained using crater counts, with applications to organic-matter preservation and to the global dust cycle, Icarus, 2017. [pdf]
  • Kite, Fegley, Schaefer, and Gaidos, Atmosphere-interior exchange on hot rocky exoplanets, Astrophysical Journal, 2016. [pdf]
  • Kite and Rubin, Sustained eruptions on Enceladus explained by turbulent dissipation in tiger stripes, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2016. [arxiv]
  • Kite, Sneed, Mayer, Lewis, Michaels, Hore, and Rafkin, Evolution of major sedimentary mounds on Mars, JGR-Planets, 2016. [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. [pdf]
  • Kite, Williams, Lucas, and Aharonson, Low paleopressure of the martian atmosphere estimated from the size distribution of ancient craters, Nature Geoscience, 2014. [paper] 
  • Kite, Lewis, Lamb, Newman, and Richardson, Growth and form of the mound in Gale Crater, Mars: Slope-wind enhanced erosion and transport, Geology, 2013. [pdf]
  • 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. [pdf]
  • Kite, Manga and Gaidos, Geodynamics and rate of volcanism on massive Earth-like planets, Astrophysical Journal, 2009. [pdf]