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Cornell University

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Don Banfield

Senior Research Associate, CCAPS

Space Sciences Building, Room 420

Educational Background

Educational Background

1994: Ph.D. (Planetary Science and Applied Physics), Caltech

1987: B.S. with distinction (Engineering Physics) Cornell University"



Don Banfield is an expert in the dynamics and structure of both giant and terrestrial planet atmospheres. He has used ground-based and spacecraft-based observations, theory and modeling to understand planetary atmospheres. He has participated in planetary missions from Voyager II, Galileo, Mars Polar Lander, Mars Exploration Rovers (MER), Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, through to InSight and Mars2020. He is currently developing the next generation of instruments for the in situ study of terrestrial planet surface-atmosphere interactions, and planetary atmospheres in general. He currently serves as the Goals Committee Chair of MEPAG (Mars Exploration Program Analysis Group)."


Planetary Sciences  


  • Cornell Center for Astrophysics and Planetary Science


“Active Research Projects:

Co-I NASA’s Mars InSight Discovery Mission

Co-I NASA’s Mars2020 MEDA Instrument Science Team

Development of a Martian Sonic Anemometer

Development of a Planetary Polarization Nephelometer

Development of a Saltation Sensor

Traveling wave-initiated condensation and the anomalous stability of Mars’ Polar Vortices

Changes in the axial tilt of Titan’s atmosphere as observed in Cassini Imaging

Saturn’s shape, wind profiles, methane distribution and Helium abundance from Cassini VIMS stellar occultations”


Banfield, D., A. Simon, R. Danner, D.H. Atkinson, K. R. Reh, 2018. SPRITE: A Saturn Probe New Frontiers Mission, IEEE Aerospace Conference Proceedings, paper 2871.

Roman, M.T., D. Banfield and P. J. Gierasch, 2018. Aerosols and Methane in the Ice Giant Atmospheres Inferred from Spatially Resolved, Near-Infrared Spectra: I. Uranus, 2001-2007. Icarus, 310, 54-76.

Banfield, D., D.W. Schindel, S. Tarr, R. Dissly, 2016. A Martian Acoustic Anemometer. J. Acoust. Soc. Am., 140, 1420. doi:10.1121/1.4960737

Banfield, D., M.A. Donelan, L. Cavaleri, 2015. Winds, Waves and Shorelines from Ancient Martian Seas, Icarus, 250, 368-383, doi: 10.1016/j.icarus.2014.12.001

Roman, M.T., D. Banfield, P.J. Gierasch, 2013. Saturn’s cloud structure inferred from Cassini ISS. Icarus, 225, 93-110, doi:10.1016/j.icarus.2013.03.015 

Lenoir, B., D. Banfield and D. Caughey, 2010. Accommodation study for an anemometer on a martian lander.. J. Atmos. & Ocean. Tech., 28, 210-218, doi:10.1175/2010JTECHA1490.1 

Choi, D.S., D. Banfield, P. Gierasch, A.P. Showman, 2007. Velocity and vorticity measurements of Jupiter’s Great Red Spot using automated cloud feature tracking. Icarus 188, 35-46.

Sullivan, R., D. Banfield, J.F. Bell, W. Calvin, D. Fike, M. Golombek, R. Greeley, J. Grotzinger, K. Herkenhoff, D. Jerolmack, M. Malin, D. Ming, L.A Soderblom, S.W. Squyres, S. Thompson, W.A. Watters, C.M Weitz, A. Yen, 2005. Aeolian processes at the Mars Exploration Rover Meridiani Planum landing site. Nature, 436, 58-61.

Banfield, D., P. Gierasch, R. Dissly, 2005. Planetary descent probes: Polarization nephelometer and hydrogen ortho/para instruments, IEEE Aerospace Conference Proceedings, pages 691- 697.

Banfield, D. B.J. Conrath, P.J. Gierasch, R.J. Wilson, M.D. Smith, 2004. Traveling waves in the Martian atmosphere from MGS TES nadir data. Icarus, 170, 365-403.

Gierasch, P.J., A.P. Ingersoll, D. Banfield, S.P. Ewald, P. Helfenstein, A.A. Simon-Miller, A. Vasavada, et al., 2000. Observation of moist convection in Jupiter’s atmosphere. Nature, 403, 628-630. 

Banfield, D., P.J. Gierasch, M. Bell, E. Ustinov, A.P. Ingersoll, A.R. Vasavada, R. A. West, M.J.S., Belton, 1998. Jupiter’s cloud structure from Galileo imaging data. Icarus, 135, 230- 250.

Banfield, D., A.P. Ingersoll, C.L. Keppenne, 1995. A steady-state Kalman filter for assimilating data from a single polar orbiting satellite. J. Atmos. Sci. 52, 737-753.

Banfield, D., and N. Murray, 1992. A dynamical history of the inner Neptunian Satellites. Icarus 99, 390-401.

Goldreich, P., N. Murray, P.Y. Longaretti and D. Banfield, 1989. Neptune’s story, Science 245, 500-504."