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NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory California Institute of Technology

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Essam Heggy, PhD

Essam  Heggy -
Contact Info:
Jet Propulsion Laboratory
M/S 300-243
4800 Oak Grove Drive
Pasadena, CA 91109
Phone: 818.354.4321
Email: Click here
Member of:
Radar Science

Dr. Essam Heggy is a planetary scientist in the Radar Science Group at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory and Visiting Associate in Geology at the California Institute of Technology. Heggy obtained his Ph.D. in astronomy and planetary science in 2002 with a distinguished honors from the Paris VI University in France. His main science interests in planetary geophysics covers Mars, the Moon, icy satellites and Near Earth Objects. His research at JPL involves probing structural, hydrological and volcanic elements in terrestrial and planetary environments using different types of radar imaging and sounding techniques as well as measuring the electromagnetic properties of rocks in the radar frequency range. His research expertise spam from laboratory electromagnetic characterization of planetary analog materials, Radar sounding of aquifers in hyper-arid environments, GPR surveys in volcanic and ice-rich environments, FDTD numerical simulations of wave propagation and terrestrial and planetary radars data analysis.

He is currently a member of the science team of the MARSIS instrument aboard the Mars Express orbiter (2003-present), the Mini-SAR experiment aboard Chandrayaan-1, the Mini-RF experiment on board the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (2008-present) and the CONSERT radar experiment on board the Rosetta mission (2004-2015). He is also a contributing scientist to several proposed planetary and terrestrial radar imaging and sounding experiments.

Heggy served as a panel member for several NASA programs including the Planetary Instrument Definition and Development program, Planetary Geology and Geophysics program, Mars Data Analysis program, Astrobiology program and the Educational and Public Outreach program. He also edited a special JGR-planets volume on terrestrial and planetary radars. He is on the editing board of Geosciences and National Geography and co-chaired several sessions in AGU and other international meetings on planetary radars.


Ph.D. Astronomy: Planetary Radar, Paris VI University, France, 2002
M.Sc. Astronomy: Planetary Radar, Paris VI University, France, 1999
B.Sc. Astronomy, Cairo University, Egypt, 1997

Research Interests:

- Volatiles mapping on planetary surfaces
- Probing cometary and asteroid interiors
- Electromagnetic properties of planetary surfaces
- InSAR and SAR mapping of volcanic terrains

Professional Experience:

2009-Present: Planetary Scientist, Radar Science group, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, CA, USA
2011-Present: Visiting Associate in Geology at California Institute of Technology, CA, USA
2006-2010: Associate professor, Institut de Physique du Globe de Paris, Paris, France
2003-2006: Postdoctoral fellows, Lunar and Planetary Institute, Houston,TX, USA
1999-2003: Research assistant, Centre Nationale de la Recherche Scientifique, France
1997-1999: Research assistant, Astronomy department, Cairo University, Egypt

Selected Awards:

JPL Director Research and Development Fund: 2011
Keck Institute for Space Studies: 2011
Award of Outstanding Research, French National Department of Research: 2008
NASA Planetary Geology and Geophysics Award: 2004, 2008
NASA Mars Fundamental Research Program Award: 2006
NASA Moon and Mars Analog Mission Activities Award: 2007, 2009 and 2011

Selected Publications:

Thompson W.T., E. Ustinov, E.Heggy, "Modeling radar scattering from icy lunar regoliths at 13 cm and 4 cm wavelengths," Journal of Geophysical Research - Planets, pp. Res., 116, E01006, doi:10.1029/2009JE003368. 2011.

Clifford, S. M., J. Lasue, E. Heggy, J. Boisson, P. McGovern, and M. D. Max, "Depth of the Martian cryosphere: Revised estimates and implications for the existence and detection of subpermafrost groundwater," Journal of Geophysical Research - Planets, Vol. 115, pp. E07001, doi:10.1029/2009JE00346. July 2010.

Spudis P.D., D.B.J. Bussey, B.J. Butler, D. Carl, L.M. Carter, J.J. Gillis-Davis, J. Goswami, E. Heggy, M. Hillyard, R. Jensen, R.L. Kirk, D. LaVallee, P. McKerracher, C.D. Neish, S. Nozette, S. Nylund, M. Palsetia, W. Patterson, M.S. Robinson, R. K. Raney, R. Schultze, H. Sequeira, J. Skura, T.W. Thompson, B.J. Thomson, E.A. Ustinov, H. L. Winters, "Initial results for the north pole of the Moon from Mini-SAR, Chandrayaan-1 mission," Geophysical Research Letter, pp. Vol. 37, L06204, doi:10.1029/2009GL042259. March 2010.

Mukherjee D., E. Heggy, S. D. Khan, E. C. Sullivan, "Geolectrical Constrains on Radar Probing of Shallow Water-Saturated Zones Within Karstified Carbonates in Semi-Arid Environments," Journal of Applied Geophysics, pp. Volume 70, Issue 3, March 2010, Pages 181-191. March 2010.

Wada K., E. Heggy, Th. Staudacher , H. Yarai, "ALOS L-Band Interferometric Observations of the Fournaise Volcano: Monitoring and Modeling the Displacements of the 2007 Major Eruption," Journal of Geophysical Research-Earth Surface. 2009.

Clifford S.M.,  J. Lasue , E. Heggy , J. Boisson , P. McGovern , M. D. Max, "The depth of the Martian Cryosphere: Revised Estimates and Implications for the Existence and detection of S subpermafrost groundwater," Journal of Geophysical Research – Planets. September 2009.

Plaut, J. J., G. Picardi, A. Safaeinili, A. B. Ivanov, S. M. Milkovich, A. Cicchetti, W. Kofman, J. Mouginot, W. M. Farrell, R. J. Phillips, S. M. Clifford, A. Frigeri, R. Orosei, C. Federico, I. P. Williams, D. A. Gurnett, E. Nielsen, T. Hagfors, E. Heggy, E. R. Stofan, D. Plettemeier, T. R. Watters, C. J. Leuschen, and P. Edenhofer, "Subsurface Radar Sounding of the South Polar Layered Deposits of Mars," Science, pp. 316, Page 92. 2009.

Carley R.A. and E. Heggy, "Finite Difference Time Domain Simulation of Radar Wave Propagation Through Comet Nuclei Models," Meteoritic and Planetary Science, 43, Nr 6, pp. 1085–1095. 2008.

Boisson J, E. Heggy, S.M. Clifford, A. Frigeri,  J.J. Plaut,  W.M. Farrell, N. Putzig, G. Picardi, R. Orosei, P. Lognonné, D.A. Gurnett, "Sounding the subsurface of Athabasca Valles using MARSIS radar data: Exploring the volcanic and fluvial hypotheses for the origin of the rafted plate terrain," Journal of Geophysical Research, pp. Volume 114, Issue E8. 2008.

Khan S.D., E. Heggy and J. Fernandez, "Mapping Exposed and Buried Lava Flows Using Synthetic Aperture and Ground-Penetrating Radar in Craters of the Moon Lava Field," Geophysics, 72, N 6, pp. B161-B174. 2007.

Heggy, E. and P. Paillou, "Mapping Structural Elements of Small Burried Craters Using Ground-Penetrating Radar in the Southwestern Egyptian Desert: Implications for Mars Shallow Sounding," Geophys. Res. Letter, L05202, pp. DOI, 10.1029/2005GL024263. 2006.

Heggy E., S. Clifford, T. Farr, C. Dinwiddie, R. Grimm, "Radar Investigations of Planetary and Terrestrial Environments," Journal of Geophys. Res.-Planets, Volume 111, E6, E06S01, pp. DOI: 2006JE002759. 2006.


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