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Nadim Abu Hashmeh


My research utilizes ice-penetrating radar to probe the interior of ice deposits at the polar regions of Mars. The north and south polar layered deposits are large volumes of interbedded ice and dust that exhibit different reflection behaviors across radar frequencies. Specifically, the south polar layered deposits appear to exhibit frequency-dependent scattering of the radar signal that ultimately “fogs” the return, whereas the northern deposits do not. In investigating this behavior, I am working to get a better idea of the internal structure, composition, and formation history of the south polar layered deposits as a whole. The aim is to contribute some new insight to the climate history of Mars while also gaining a better understanding of radar systems used on planetary missions.


While at community college, I decided on planetary science as a middle ground between my interests in geology and astronomy. I was fortunate enough to have excellent instructors for these courses (at the time, I was a journalism major), which motivated me to pursue it as my focus when I transferred to UC Santa Cruz. After graduating, I spent a couple of years in various planetary-minded research positions before moving away from my home state of California to New Orleans for graduate school. So far, New Orleans has been a rewarding place to live. My favorite things about living here are eating local food and appreciating the architecture and surrounding geography while biking around the city.