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John Mustard


  • Program Co-Director
  • Earth 4D: Subsurface Science & Exploration




John Mustard’s interdisciplinary research seeks to understand the processes that modify and shape the surface of the Earth and other planetary bodies.

In Earth-related studies the focus has been coupled natural-human systems. For planets such as Mars and the Moon, the focus is the study of crustal composition, surface composition, the role of water and surface processes.

He has a particular interest in life underground and in using studies of the Earth’s rich subsurface biosphere to consider the prospects for habitability underground for planets. He has been involved in the exploration of Mars since 1989.


  • Fellow of the American Geophysical Union, 2014
  • NASA Exceptional Public Service Medal, 2012
  • Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, 2011

Relevant Publications

  • Mustard, J.F. and T. D. Glotch. "Chapter 2: Theory of Reflectance and Emittance Spectroscopy of Geologic Materials in the Visible and Infrared Regions," in Remote Compositional Analysis: Techniques for Understanding Spectroscopy, Mineralogy, and Geochemistry of Planetary Surfaces, Janice L. Bishop, Jeffrey Moersch and James F. Bell, III (eds)., Cambridge University Press (2018).
  • Mustard, J. F. Sequestration of Volatiles in the Martian Crust Through Hydrated Minerals: A Significant Planetary Reservoir of Water, in Volatiles in the Martian Crust (Filibert, J. and S. Schwenzer eds). (2017)
  • Cannon, K. M., S. W. Parman and J. F. Mustard. "Primordial Clays on Mars Formed Beneath a Steam or Supercritical Atmosphere." Nature 552 (7683) (2017): 88. doi:10.1038/nature24657.
  • Cannon, K.M., and J.F. Mustard. "Preserved glass-rich impactites on Mars." Geology 43(7)(2015): 635-638, doi: 10.1130/G36953.1.
  • Ehlmann, B. et al. "The sustainability of habitability on terrestrial planets: Insights, questions, and needed measurements from Mars for understanding the evolution of Earth‐like worlds." Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets, 121(10) (2016): 1927-1961, doi:10.1002/2016JE005134.

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