Introducing Mark Marley

Mark Marley is a research scientist at NASA’s Ames Research Center in Mountain View California and also a Consulting Professor at Stanford University, where he teaches classes on planetary and exoplanet science. As a theoretician his research primarily focuses on the atmospheres of solar and extrasolar giant planets and brown dwarfs. Specifically he aims to interpret the spectra of these objects to help understand their composition, cloud and thermal structures, and ultimately their origin and evolution through time. As a member of the Gemini Planet Imager Exoplanet Survey team he recently helped to interpret the first planet discovered by this ground based coronagraphic imaging camera, 51 Eridani b. He has served on a variety of NASA committees, including both the Terrestrial Planet Finder-Coronagraph and the Exo-C space telescope Science and Technology Definition Teams. Beyond planetary and brown dwarf atmospheric modeling his research interests include giant planet seismology and atmospheric variability in a variety of substellar atmospheres.

A third generation Arizonan, Mark grew up in Phoenix, attended Caltech where he majored in Geophysics and Planetary Science, and then moved back home to attend graduate school in Planetary Science at the University of Arizona’s Lunar and Planetary Laboratory. His thesis work with Bill Hubbard and Carolyn Porco explored how perturbations in Saturn’s gravity field induced by planetary oscillation modes of the planet might create gaps and waves in the rings. The predictions of this work were ultimately confirmed, 25 years later, by the Cassini mission to Saturn. After graduate school he held a NASA Postdoctoral Fellowship under the late Jim Pollack, where he studied the atmospheric structure of ice giant planets. In 1993 he accepted a faculty position in the Astronomy Department of New Mexico State University where he stayed until 2000, at which time he moved back to NASA Ames as a civil servant scientist. When not modeling exoplanet atmospheres Mark enjoys hiking and exploring with his wife of 25 years, Mars scientist Ginny Gulick, his two daughters, and intrepid dog Pepsi.