The Center for Atmospheric Sciences | » Nicholas G. Heavens

    • Ph.D., M.S., Planetary Science, California Institute of Technology, 2010, 2007

    • S.B., Geophysical Sciences, University of Chicago, 2005

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      myfirstname mylastname hamptonu edu

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  • News

      Recent News:

      May 19, 2015 : HU-Led Team Finds Mars’s Volcano-Based Dust Storms Can Fly Twice As High

      Mars has some of the highest mountains in the Solar System, including its highest peak, the shield volcano of Olympus Mons. Mars’s weather is also shaped by dust storms. And it thus should be no surprise that dust storms have been observed on or near these volcanoes for more than a decade. These storms were […]

      February 23, 2015 : Dr. Nicholas Heavens interviewed by the BBC

      On 17 February 2015, Dr. Nicholas Heavens, Research Assistant Professor of Planetary Science, was interviewed on BBC Radio 5’s Up All Night program about a recent discovery of mysterious Martian clouds made by Spanish-led team of professional and amateur astronomers. An archived recording of the interview will be available on the BBC’s web site until […]

      May 14, 2013 : Studying and Projecting Global Change with Earth System Models

      “A model organizes what we think we know about something in order to predict how it might behave in the present, future, or past as well as how it might respond to external influence. Models are especially useful when direct, controlled experiments are difficult or impossible. A model can be a simple concept, for instance: […]

  • Nicholas G. Heavens

    newheadshot_webDr. Heavens left Hampton University at the end of 2019. Please see his current institutional web site or his Linkedin profile.

    I am a planetary scientist who uses the knowledge/methods/infrastructure of meteorology and climatology to help geologists more effectively explore the past, either by better integrating earth system modeling with geological investigations or developing the weather services infrastructure that will help robots and humans safely explore Mars, Venus, and beyond. Please consult my curriculum vitae for the most current information or browse the project pages below to learn about the projects I work on or have worked on. I currently tweet (as @WeatherOnMars ) on climate and space sciences.

    Dust storm in Noctis Labyrinthus during October of 2006 as imaged by the Mars Color Imager on the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. Raw image data was obtained from the Planetary Data System and processed by USGS ISIS software.

    Student and Postdoctoral Opportunities

    I am not able to support students or postdoctoral scholars at this time.

    I strongly encourage any undergraduate interested in atmospheric or planetary science to consider the CREST Undergraduate Research Experience (CURE) at Hampton University. and apply.


    Current Projects

    Project: Dust in the Year Before Curiosity

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    This project closed in late 2015. But work on Martian dust continues… The Mars Year before the landing of the Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity was a year of excellent observational coverage by the Mars Climate Sounder on NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter as the result of quiet weather and good instrument and spacecraft health. Focusing on changes in […]

    Project: Dust in the Late Paleozoic Ice Age

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    Background Between 2010 and 2012, Dr. Nicholas Heavens was a Postdoctoral Associate in the Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at Cornell University. While there, he explored the climate of the Earth during a putative minimum in atmospheric carbon dioxide and maximum in glaciation around 300 million years ago (the Late Paleozoic Ice Age). He […]

    Project: Polar Turbulence of the Giant Planets

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    As you can see in the images below, the visible weather layers of Jupiter and Saturn have vastly different regimes of turbulence near each pole. I am currently working with Dr. Kunio M. Sayanagi to determine why.

    Project: The Structural and Dynamical Role of Deep Convection in Martian Dust Storms

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    A team led by Dr. Nicholas G. Heavens at HU has been funded by NASA to study the role that convection may play in the structure and organization of Martian dust storms. Convection has been identified in imagery of Martian dust storms for 40 years, but there has been little systematic study in how it […]

    Project: HBCU-RISE Hampton University: Advanced Physical Modeling and Simulation for 21st Century Scientists

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    3D Torus

    From weather prediction to medical imaging to nuclear physics, numerical modeling and simulation have become central to the way we investigate and manipulate the physical world. Building on Hampton University’s expertise in Atmospheric Remote Sensing and Planetary Physics, the objective of the proposed project is to develop a complementary modeling and data analysis capability through […]

    Project: The Living, Breathing Planet

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    The Living, Breathing Planet

    Graduate student opportunities available now! More information here. Hampton University Department of Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences has been selected to lead a team within the Nexus for Exoplanet Systems Science (NExSS). As one of 17 teams, we work to advance NASA’s search for life by bringing together Planetary Science, Heliophysics, Astrophysics, and Astrobiology to deepen […]

    Project: Modeling Dust Injection and Vertical Mixing for the Next Generation of Martian Exploration

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    From August 2015, HU is leading an effort in cooperation with Aeolis Research and NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology (both in Pasadena, California) to better represent the formation of dust clouds above Mars’s planetary boundary layer in planetary-scale simulations of Mars’s atmosphere. This first paper to come out of this project was published by Icarus. […]