Horton Newsom

PTYS/LPL Graduate Students

Horton Newsom

PTYS Alumnus

Ph.D. Geosciences, 1982, The University of Arizona

LPL alumnus Dr. Horton Newsom passed away on April 19, 2024. 

Horton earned his Ph.D. in Geosciences at UArizona in 1982 with a dissertation titled The Experimental Partitioning Behavior of Tungsten and Phosphorus: Implications for the Composition and Formation of the Earth, Moon and Eucrite Parent Body. His dissertation committee was chaired by LPL Professor Michael J. Drake and included then LPL head and director Laurel Wilkening as a member. 

Dr. Newsom worked as a senior research scientist and research professor within the Institute of Meteoritics and Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences at the University of New Mexico. He was a geologist and geochemist with expertise in the origin and composition of the Earth and Moon, and the study of terrestrial impact craters around the world and their hydrothermal systems. He studied surface processes on Mars including impact craters, sedimentary deposits, and phyllosilicate (clay) bearing terrains. His research also included the origin and chemistry of Martian surficial materials using data from the Mars Odyssey Gamma Ray spectrometer experiment. 

Horton was engaged with landing site selection for several Mars missions, including the Mars Exploration Rover (MER), Mars Science Laboratory (MSL), and future human landing sites. He was a co-investigator and science team member on the ChemCam Laser Induced Breakdown Spectroscopy (LIBS) instrument on the MSL Curiosity Rover, and was engaged with planning its science observations. Dr. Newsom was also a dedicated educator who mentored undergraduate and graduate students as well as postdoctoral scholars. He was active in NASA-funded educational outreach to K-12 teachers, and to local middle school and high school students, and Native American colleges.

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