PS Planetary and Solar System Sciences
The 2019 Division Outstanding Early Career Scientists Awards is awarded to John Carter for his discoveries in Martian surface composition, outstanding research on hydrated minerals with implications for Martian climate, and key developments on the analysis of orbital spectral data.
John Carter has made remarkable contributions to the planetary science field, specifically due to his crucial role in the global identification of hydrated minerals on Mars. Just a few years after his PhD, he is the worldwide leader of hydrated mineral analyses on Mars. He dominated the past seven years of discoveries in Mars compositional analyses from orbit. He has published papers in Science and Nature Geoscience journals to present first order discoveries on ‘Detection of hydrated silicates in crustal outcrops in the northern plains of Mars’ and on ‘Ancient plutonic processes on Mars inferred from the detection of possible anorthositic terrains’, respectively. He also published the synthesis of thousand data cubes analyses of hydrated mineral detections on the ‘Hydrated minerals on Mars as seen by the CRISM and OMEGA imaging spectrometers: Updated global view’, a paper, which has already been cited more than 170 times, with large implication for Mars climatic evolution (see, for example, Carter’s paper ‘Widespread surface weathering on early Mars: a case for a warmer and wetter Mars’). Part of these results use a unique methodology of spectral data analysis he developed that is now widely used worldwide in state of art planetary laboratories, which illustrates how widely recognised his research is.
He has also been solicited several times to give invited talks including a keynote lecture at the international clay mineral conference. Carter contributed to 32 scientific works, including two book chapters, one about clays and the other one about orbital compositional analysis. For his work he received nearly 800 citations and an h-index of 17.
Carter is highly involved in several on-going or future ESA Missions, such as JUICE (JUpiter ICy moons Explorer), MarsExpress, ExoMars, Rosetta/Philae, for which he has key scientific roles or roles in instrument development (e.g. Majis instrument/JUICE). In addition to this outstanding research, Carter teaches and supervises PhD students and is involved in outreach activities about space missions. In summary, John Carter is, by far, the most talented young researcher in Mars orbital science, making him an extremely well qualified recipient of the PS Division Outstanding Early Career Scientists Award.