Pascal Lee
Pascal Lee

Senior Planetary Scientist

Degree/Major: Ph.D., Astronomy & Space Sciences, 1997, Cornell University

Short Bio

Dr Pascal Lee is a Planetary Scientist at the SETI Institute. He is also Chairman of the Mars Institute, and Director of the NASA Haughton-Mars Project at NASA Ames Research Center in Mountain View, California. His research focses on the history of water on Mars and on planning the future human exploration of Mars. Dr Lee has led over 30 expeditions to the Arctic and Antarctica to study Mars by comparison with the Earth. He also studies asteroids and the two moons of Mars. His first book, Mission: Mars, won the 2015 Prize for Excellence in Children’s Science Books from the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Longer Bio

Dr Pascal Lee is a Planetary Scientist at the SETI Institute. He is Co-Founder and Chairman of the Mars Institute, and Director of the Haughton-Mars Project (HMP) at NASA Ames Research Center. He holds an ME in Geology and Geophysics from the University of Paris, and a PhD in Astronomy and Space Sciences from Cornell University.

Pascal Lee’s research focuses on asteroids, impact craters, and Mars, in particular the history of water on Mars. Based on his fieldwork in Earth’s polar regions, Lee was first to propose the Cold Early Mars model which suggests, counter to conventional wisdom, that Mars was climatically cold throughout its history, rather than ever “warm and wet”.

Pascal Lee has worked extensively in the Arctic and Antarctica viewed as “analogs” for Mars. In 1988, he wintered over in Antarctica as Chief Geophysicist at Dumont d’Urville Station, Adelie Land. He participated in five additional summer field campaigns in Antarctica with the U.S., French, and Chilean polar programs, including three as a member of the United States Antarctic Search for Meteorites (ANSMET) project. He is a recipient of the United States Antarctic Service Medal.

In 1997, Pascal Lee initiated the Haughton-Mars Project (HMP), an international multidisciplinary field research project focused on planetary science and human exploration studies at the Haughton meteorite impact crater site on Devon Island, High Arctic. He established the Haughton-Mars Project Research Station (HMPRS), now the largest privately operated polar research station in the world. To date, Lee has led 18 summer and 5 winter field campaigns in the Arctic, including the recent Northwest Passage Drive Expedition in 2009-2011 during which he and five other team members drove a Humvee serving as a pressurized rover simulator over a record-setting distance of 500 km on sea-ice along the fabled Northwest Passage.

Pascal Lee is internationally recognized for his efforts to advance the human exploration of Mars, in particular via its moons Phobos and Deimos. He has led, or participated in, the development of several new mission concepts to explore Mars and its moons, of new spacesuit technologies for Moon and Mars exploration, and of pressurized vehicles for future human planetary exploration. Lee was scientist-pilot of the first field test of NASA’s Small Pressurized Rover (SPR), a.k.a. the Space Exploration Vehicle (SEV). Lee also led the first field investigations of the use of robotic arm systems in support of human explorers operating future pressurized vehicles on asteroids, the Moon, and Mars.

Pascal Lee is the author and co-author of over 100 scientific publications and the recipient of research grants from NASA, the National Research Council, the Canadian Space Agency, and the National Geographic Society's Committee for Research & Exploration. He is as an advisor to NASA.

Pascal Lee is the author of a non-fiction children's book titled MISSION: MARS, published by Scholastic. The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) awarded MISSION: MARS the 2015 AAAS/Subaru Prize for Excellence in Children's Science Book in the Middle Grades Category.

Pascal Lee enjoys flying and painting (but not at the same time). He is an FAA-certified helicopter commercial pilot and flight instructor, and an artist member of the International Association of Astronomical Artists (IAAA). He lives in Santa Clara, CA, where he is walked daily by his Australian Cattle Dog, King Kong, son of Ping Pong.



Mars and Analogs

Schuerger, A. and P. Lee (2015). Microbial Ecology of a Crewed Rover Traverse in the Arctic: Low Microbial Dispersal and Implications for Planetary Protection on Human Mars Missions. Astrobiol. 15 (6). 478-491.

Young, K. E., M. c. van Soest, K. V. Hodges, E. B. Watson, B. A. Adams, & P. Lee (2013). Impact thermochronology and the age of Haughton impact structure, Canada. Geophys. Res. Lett. 40, 1-5.

Parnell, J., A. J. Boyce, G. R. Osinski, M. R. M. Izawa, N. Banerjee, R. Flemming, & P. Lee (2012). Evidence for life in the isotopic analysis of surface sulphates in the Haughton impact structure, and potential application on Mars. Int. J. Astrobiol., 1-9.

Lee, P. (2010). Haughton Crater and Devon Island. In Planetary Analogs (P. Doran et al. eds.). Springer-Verlag, 278-283.

Lee, P. (2008). Planetary Analogs: A quantified evaluation standard. GAC-MAC Conf. 2008, Quebec City, 26-28 May 2008. Invited.

Lee, P. & C. McKay (2007). Early Mars: Mostly cold and dry. 39th AAS-DPS, Orlando, FL, 7-12 Oct 2007.

Lee, P., B. Glass, G. Osinski, J. Parnell, J. W. Schutt, & C. P. McKay (2006). Gullies on Mars: Fresh gullies in dirty snow, Devon Island, High Arctic, as end-member analogs. Lunar Planet. Sci. Conf. XXXVII, Houston, TX, March, 2006. [1818].

Lee, P. & G. R. Osinski (2005). The Haughton-Mars Project: Overview of science investigations at the Haughton impact structure and surrounding terrains, and relevance to planetary studies. Meteor. Planet. Sci. 40 (HMP Special Issue), 1755-1758.

Lee, P., A. Bisset, M. Boucher, S. Braham, C. Cockell, C. Desportes, B. Glass, E. Hodgson, D. Lim, C. McKay, G. Osinski, J. Parnell, J. Schutt, K. Snook, & D. Wettergreen (2005). Terrestrial Analogues in Planetary Science and Exploration: Their Four Key Functions. Canadian Space Exploration Workshop 5, St. Hubert, May, 2005.

Lee, P., M. Boucher, C. Desportes, B. Glass, D. Lim, C. McKay, G. Osinski, J. Parnell, & J. Schutt (2005). Mars, Always Cold, Sometimes Wet: New Constraints On Mars Denudation Rates and Climate Evolution From Analog Studies at Haughton Crater, Devon Island, High Arctic. 36th Lunar Planet. Sci. Conf., Mar, 2005 [2270].

Lee, P., C. Cockell, & C. P. McKay (2004). Gullies on Mars: Origin by snow and ice melting and potential for life based on possible analogs from Devon Island, High Arctic. Lunar Planet. Sci. Conf. XXXV, Mar, 2004. [2122].

Lee, P. & C. P. McKay (2003). Mars: Always Cold, Sometimes Wet? 34th Lunar Planet. Sci. Conf., Mar, 2003. [#2127].

Lee, P. C. P. McKay, & J. Matthews (2002). Gullies on Mars: Clues to their formation timescale from possible analogs from Devon Island, Nunavut, Arctic Canada. Lunar Planet. Sci. Conf. XXXIII, Mar, 2002.

Lee, P., C. S. Cockell, M. M. Marinova, C. P. McKay, & J. W. Rice, Jr. (2001). Snow and ice melt slope flow features on Devon Island, Nunavut, Arctic Canada, as possible analogs for recent slope flow features on Mars. Lunar Planet. Sci. Conf. XXXII, Mar, 2001.

Lee, P. (2000). Selective fluvial erosion on Mars: Glacial selective linear erosion on Devon Island, Nunavut, Arctic Canada, as a possible analog. Lunar & Planet. Sci. Conf. XXXI, March 2000.

Lee, P., & J. W. Rice, Jr. (1999). Small valley networks on Mars: The glacial meltwater channel networks of Devon Island, Nunavut Territory, Arctic Canada, as possible analogs. 5th Mars Conference, Jul 1999.

Lee, P., J. W. Rice, Jr., T. E. Bunch, R. A. F. Grieve, C. P. McKay, J. W. Schutt, & A. P. Zent (1999). Possible analogs for small valleys on Mars at the Haughton impact crater site, Devon Island, Canadian High Arctic. Lunar Planet. Sci. Conf. XXX., Mar 99

Lee, P., A. P. Zent, & the Haughton-Mars Project Team (1998). A unique Mars analog site: The Haughton impact crater and surroundings,  Devon Island, Canadian High Arctic. Bull. Amer. Astron. Soc.

Lee, P., T. E. Bunch, N. Cabrol, C. S. Cockell, R. A. F. Grieve, C. P. McKay, J. W. Rice, Jr., J. W. Schutt, & A. P. Zent (1998). Haughton-Mars 97 - I: Overview of observations at the Haughton impact crater, a unique Mars analog site in the Canadian High Arctic. Lunar Planet. Sci. Conf. XXIX, Mar 98, 1973-1974.

Lee, P. (1997). A unique Mars/Early Mars analog on Earth: The Haughton impact structure, Devon Island, Canadian Arctic. In Conf. on Early Mars: Geologic and hydrologic evolution, physical and chemical environments, and the implications for life. LPI Contrib. No. 916, 50.

Lee, P. & P. C. Thomas (1994). Longitudinal dunes on Mars: Relation to current wind regimes. J. Geophys. Res. 100, MSATT special issue, 5381-5395.

Lee, P., P. C. Thomas, J. Veverka, & S. Calvo (1993). Discovery of longitudinal dunes on Mars. Bull. Amer. Astron. Soc. 25, 1038.

Lee, P. (1993). Briny lakes on early Mars? Terrestrial intracrater playas and martian candidates. LPI Tech. Rep. 93-03, Part 1, 17.

Lee, P., S. Ebisawa, & A. Dollfus (1990). Crystal clouds in the Martian atmosphere. Astron. Astrophys. 240, 520-532.

Lee, P. (1990). Impact crater morphology and ground H2O on Mars. Bull. Astron. Soc. of New York 3 (8), 23. 

Asteroids, Phobos, and Deimos

Zakharov, A., M. Horanyi, P. Lee, O. Witasse, and F. Ciriani (2014). Dust at the Martian moons and in the circummartian space. Planet. Space Sci. 102, 171-175.

Lee, P. (2011). Phobos and Deimos: Science Goals for Human Exploration. EPSC Abstracts, Vol. 6, EPSC-DPS-2011, 3-7 Oct 2011, Nantes, France. [1716].

Lee, P., T. Jones, B. Jaroux, P. D. Klupar, J. Bellerose, J. Chartres, R. De Rosee, T. Fong, A. Genova, J. McCarthy, T. McCarthy, & G. S. Mungas (2011). M4: Mars Moons Multiple-landings Mission. In Abstracts of the Second International Conference on the Exploration of Phobos and Deimos. Mars Inst. Tech. Pub. MITP-2011-001, Mars Institute, Moffett Field, CA, and SETI Inst. Tech. Pub. SITP-2011-001, SETI Institute, Mountain View, CA, p. 19.  [11-025].

Lee, P. (2011). Phobos and Deimos Sample Return: Importance, Challenges, and Strategy. Solar System Sample Return Mission Workshop, 5-6 Mar 2011, The Woodlands, TX. [5044].

Lee, P. J. Veverka, J. Bellerose, M. Boucher, J. Boynton, S. Braham, R. Gellert, A. Hildebrand, D. Manzella, G. Mungas, S. Oleson, R. Richards, P. C. Thomas, & M. D. West (2010). Hall: A Phobos and Deimos Sample Return Mission. 44th Lunar Planet. Sci. Conf., The Woodlands, TX. 1-5 Mar 2010. [1633].

Lee, P. (2009). First International Conference on the Exploration of Phobos and Deimos, 5-7 Nov 2007 : Summary and Recommendations. Mars Institute Tech. Pub. 2009-001, Mars Institute, 57 pp.

Lee, P., R. Richards, A. Hildebrand, & the PRIME Mission Team (2008). The PRIME (Phobos Reconnaissance and International Mars Exploration) Mission and Mars sample Return. Lunar Planet. Sci. Conf. XXXIX, Houston, TX, Mar 2008. [#2268].

Lee, P. (2007). Phobos-Deimos ASAP: A Case for the Human Exploration of the Moons of Mars. First Int’l Conf. Explor. Phobos & Deimos. NASA Research Park, Moffett Field, CA, 5-7 Nov 2007. LPI Contrib. 1377, p. 25 [#7044].

Lee, P. (2007). Phobos ASAP. Phobos as a stepping stone between the Moon and Mars. ISDC 2007, Dallas, TX., 25-27 May 2007.

Lee P., Hildebrand, A., Gladman, B., Richards, R., Hahn, J., Braham, S., Cloutis, E., Gellert, R., Ghafoor, N., Brown, P., King, P., Stooke, P., Wiegert, P., Glass, B., Thomas, P., Veverka, J., Parnell, J., Mitrofanov, I., Sugita, S., Kawaguichi, J., Boucher, M., Carroll, K., Desportes, C., West, M., & Wilkinson, N. (2006). PRIME (Phobos Reconnaissance and International Mars Exploration): A small body mission at Mars. Canadian Space Astronomy Workshop, Canadian Space Agency, St Hubert, Nov 23-24, 2006. Abstract.

Lee P., Hildebrand, A., Richards, R., Hahn, J., Veverka, J., Braham, S., Desportes, C., West, M., Wilkinson, N., & the PRIME Science Team (2006). Exploration Canada 2006 Workshop, Canadian Space Agency, St. Hubert, Oct 17-18, 2006. Abstract.

Lee, P., S. Braham, G. Mungas, M. Silver, P. Thomas, & M. West (2005). Phobos: A Critical Link Between Moon and Mars Exploration. Report of the Space Resources Rountable VII: LEAG Conference on Lunar Exploration, League City, TX 25-28 Oct 2005. LPI Contrib. 1318, p. 72.

Lee, P., S. Braham, B. Gladman, G. Mungas, M. Silver, P. Thomas, & M. West (2005). Mars Indirect: Phobos as a Critical Step in Human Mars Exploration. Int’l. Space Dev. Conf., Washington, DC, 19-21 May 2005  [96].

Lee, P. (1997). Physical Properties and Processing of Asteroid Regoliths and Interiors. Ph.D. Thesis. Cornell University, Ithaca, N.Y. 260pp.

Lee, P. (1996). Dust levitation on asteroids. Icarus 124, 181-194.

Lee, P., J. Veverka, P. Thomas, M. J. S. Belton, C. R. Chapman, P. Geissler, R. Greenberg, J.-M. Petit, R. Greeley, R. Pappalardo, R. Sullivan, & the Galileo SSI Team (1996). Ejecta blocks on 243 Ida and on other asteroids. Icarus 120, 87-105.

Meteoritics and Solar System Evolution

Cockell, C. & P. Lee (2002). The biology of terrestrial impact craters: A review. Biol. Reviews 77, 279-310.

Lee, P., W. Cassidy, D. Apostolopoulos, D. Bassi, L. Bravo, H. Cifuentes, M. Deans, A. Foessel, S. Moorehead, M. Parris, C. Puebla, L. Pedersen, M. Sibenac, F. Valdés, N. Vandapel,  & W. Whittaker (1999). Search for meteorites at Martin Hills & Pirrit Hills, Antarctica. Lunar Planet. Sci. Conf. XXX, Mar 99.

Lee, P., W. A. Cassidy, D. Apostolopoulos, M. Deans, A. Foessel, C. Krause, S. Parra, L. Pedersen, K. Schwehr, & W. L. Whittaker (1998). Search for meteorites in the Patriot Hills area, Ellsworth Mountains, West Antarctica. Meteorit. & Planet. Sc i., 33 Supplement, A92-A93.

Lee, P. & R. W. Kay (1992). Search for a meteoritic component at the Beaverhead impact structure, Montana. LPI Contrib. No.790, 47.

Lee, P., P. Helfenstein, J. Veverka, & D. McCarthy (1992). Anomalous-scattering region on Triton. Icarus 99, 82-97. 

Human Exploration

Fort, J., M. Greene, G. Quinn, & P. Lee (2014). Suitport & tether operational simulations for the 2013 Haughton-Mars Project. Proceed. 44th Int. Conf. Environ. Sys.,Tucson, AZ., ICES-2014-131.

Lee, P., S. Dougherty, T. McCarthy, T. Fong, S. Hoffman, E. Hodgson, K. Lorber, R. Mueller, J. Schutt, & L. Alvarez (2012). Human Exploration of Asteroids, the Moon, and Mars Using Robotic Arm-Equipped Pressurized Vehicles. Earth & Space 2012, Pasadena, CA.

Genova, A. L., C. Foster, A. Colaprete, P. Lee, J. Battat, and D. W. Dunham (2011). Entering the Interplanetary Gateway: Short-Duration Human Missions to Near-Earth Objects. IAC-11-A5.4.1, 13 pp.

Lee, P., S. Braham, M. Deans, T. Fong, E. Heggy, M. Helper, E. Hodgson, S. J. Hoffman, & J. W. Schutt (2011). Pressurized Rover-Based IVA Field Science: Lessons Learned from Moon and Mars Analog Studies at the Haughton-Mars Project, Devon Island, High Arctic. 42nd Lunar Planet. Sci. Conf., 7-11 Mar 2011, The Woodlands, TX. [2656].

Hoffman, S. J., M. J. Leonard, and P. Lee (2011). Evaluation of Robotic Systems to Carry Out Traverse Execution, Opportunistic Science, and Landing Site Evaluation Tasks. NASA/TM-2011-216157, 78 pp.

Gaier, J. R., P. G. de Leon, P. Lee, T. R. McCue, E. W. Hodgson, and J. Thrasher (2010). Preliminary Testing of a Pressurized Space Suit and Candidate Fabrics Under Simulated Mars Dust Storm and Dust Devil Conditions. NASA/TM-2010-216787. Also AIAA-2010-6247. 23 pp.

Lee, P., S. Braham, C. P. McKay, & J. W. Schutt (2008). Field Science and Exploration Requirements for Lunar and Planetary Outposts: Lessons from Arctic and Antarctic Stations. Earth & Space 2008, Long Beach, 3-5 March 2008.

Popular Articles by Pascal Lee

Lee, P. (2014). Plasma Drilling on Mars. The NRP Post – A Publication of NASA Research Park, Summer 2014, 16.

Lee, P. (2013.) Generation Mars : Reading today to realize your dreams., 11 Oct 2013.

Lee, P. (2013). Mars Institute : Educating Future Mars Explorers. The NRP Post – A Publication of NASA Research Park, Summer 2013, 10-11.

Lee, P. (2013.) First Field Simulation of the Human Exploration of Near-Earth Asteroids, Phobos, and Deimos. The NRP Post – A Publication of NASA Research Park, Summer 2013, pp. 10, 20.

Lee, P. (2012). Humans to Mars. SETI Institute Explorer, Second Issue 2012, 14-15.

Lee, P. (2011). Longevity of the Australian Cattle Dog : Results of a 100-Dog Survey. ACD Spotlight, Vol. 4, Issue 1, Spring 2011, 94-103.

Lee, P. (2010). Northwest Passage Drive : Preparing for Mars. Above & Beyond, Canada’s Arctic Journal, Sep-Oct 2010, 35-39.

Lee, P. (2002). Mars on Earth: The NASA Haughton-Mars Project. Ad Astra, May-Jun 2002.

Lee, P. (2002). From the Earth to Mars. Part Two: Robots and Humans Working Together. The Planetary Report, May-Jun 2002.

Lee, P. (2002). From the Earth to Mars. Part One: A Crater, Ice, and Life. The Planetary Report, Jan-Feb 2002.

Lee, P. (1990). Men Wanted for Hazardous Journey. Compass, Cornell's International Magazine, 2 (1), 26-31.

Lee, P. (1988). Phobos. L'Astronomie - Spécial Planète Mars. Société Astronomique de France, 102, Mar 1988, 110-121.

Lee, P. (1987). Voyages vers Mars. In Des Planètes et des Hommes (C. Lardier & P. Lee, eds.). Cosmos Club de France, 1987, 47-68. 

Popular Books by Pascal Lee

Lee, P. (2013). Mission: Mars. Scholastic, New York. 48 pp.

Braham, S. & P. Lee (2002). Bases on the Moon, Mars and Beyond. In Solar System (N. Hey, ed.), Chap. 3. Wiley & Sons.

Pascal Lee’s Work Described in Popular Science Books

Aldrin, B. and L. David (2013). Mission to Mars. National Geographic. 258 pp.

Clancey, W. J. (2012). Working on Mars. Massachusetts Institute of Technology. 310 pp.

Pyle, R. (2012). Destination Mars. Prometheus Books. 348 pp.

Roach, M. (2010). Packing for Mars. Norton. 334 pp. – New York Times Bestseller.

Bizony, P. (2009). How to Build Your Own Spaceship. Plume. 224 pp.

Fox, W. L. (2006). Driving to Mars. Shoemaker & Hoard. 264 pp.

Thomas, K. S., & H. J. McMann (2006). US Spacesuits. Springer & Praxis. 397 pp.

Klerkx, G. (2004). Lost in Space. Pantheon Books, New York. 392 pp.

Morton, Oliver (2002). Mapping Mars. Picador USA. 357 pp.

Couper, H. & N. Henbest (2001). Mars. The Inside Story of the Red Planet. Headline. 224 pp.