PTYS/LPL Faculty

William Boynton

Astrobiology Research, Cosmochemistry, Lunar Studies, Small Bodies, Geochemistry
Ph.D., 1971, Carnegie Mellon

Kuiper 532 ∙ Drake 104Q

Years with LPL: 1977 to present


Dr. Boynton's current research is centered on understanding the role of volatile materials, chiefly water, carbon dioxide and argon, as probes for planetary processes. Data from instruments on NASA missions, Mars Odyssey Gamma-Ray spectrometer (GRS), Phoenix Thermal and Evolved-Gas analyzer (TEGA), and the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Lunar Exploration Neutron Detector (LEND) are used to map out the location of these volatiles, and in the case of Mars, to study their changes with season.

The GRS data are used to determine the changes of Ar in the atmosphere and of CO2 ice in the polar regions as probes of global atmospheric circulation. Data from this instrument, combined with those from TEGA, are also used to determine the extent and nature of subsurface ice on Mars. The data from LEND are used to determine the amount and location of hydrogen, presumably in some form of H2O or OH, in the lunar polar regions. This information is used to constrain processes for migration of water, perhaps delivered by cometary impact, or the formation of OH by reaction with H in the solar wind.

Current Grants

  • Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) Lend Operations Support: LRO
  • Analysis of Mars Odyssey GRS Data: MDAP
  • Gamma Ray Spectrometer (GRS) Mission Ops: Mars Odyssey
  • Dynamic Albedo of Neutrons (DAN) Instrument, Co-Investigator: Mars Science Lab

Current Spacecraft Involvement

  • Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO, Lunar Exploration Neutron Detector)
  • Mars Science Laboratory (Dynamic Albedo of Neutrons)
  • OSIRIS-REx (Mission Instrument Scientist)
  • Mars Odyssey Orbiter, PI: Gamma-Ray Spectrometer

Former Spacecraft Involvement

  • Mars Observer, Team Leader: Gamma-Ray Spectrometer
  • Mars Polar Lander, PI: Differential Scanning Calorimeter and Evolved Gas Analyzer
  • PHOENIX Mars Mission, PI: Thermal and Evolved Gas Analyzer
  • Cassini, Co-investigator: Surface Science Package
  • MESSENGER (Gamma-Ray and Neutron Spectrometer and X-Ray Spectrometer); Team Lead for analysis of geochemical remote sensing measurements

Student Collaborations/Advising

Former Students

  • Matthew Chamberlain, 2006 (Ph.D. PTYS)
  • John Keller, 2006 (Ph.D. PTYS)
  • Alex Ruzicka, 1996 (Ph.D. PTYS)
  • Alan Hildebrand, 1992 (Ph.D. PTYS)
  • Anna Spitz, 1991 (Ph.D. Geosciences)

Former Postdocs

  • Julia Bodnarik
  • Daniel Janes
  • David Kring
  • Andrea Patzer
  • David Wark


Complete publications list available from: NASA ADS Author search: William V. Boynton

Refereed publications (NASA ADS): Calendar Years 2017 and 2018

Starr, R. D., Litvak, M. L., Petro, N. E., Mitrofanov, I. G., Boynton, W. V., Chin, G., Livengood, T. A., McClanahan, T. P., Sanin, A. B., Sagdeev, R. Z., Su, J. J.  Crater age and hydrogen content in lunar regolith from LEND neutron data 2018P&SS..162..105S

Livengood, T. A., Mitrofanov, I. G., Chin, G., Boynton, W. V., Bodnarik, J. G., Evans, L. G., Harshman, K. P., Litvak, M. L., McClanahan, T. P., Sagdeev, R. Z., Sanin, A. B., Starr, R. D., Su, J. J.  Background and lunar neutron populations detected by LEND and average concentration of near-surface hydrogen near the Moon's poles 2018P&SS..162...89L

Tate, C. G., Moersch, J., Jun, I., Mitrofanov, I., Litvak, M., Boynton, W. V., Drake, D., Fedosov, F., Golovin, D., Hardgrove, C., Harshman, K., Kozyrev, A. S., Kuzmin, R., Lisov, D., Maclennan, E., Malakhov, A., Mischna, M., Mokrousov, M., Nikiforov, S., Sanin, A. B., Starr, R., Vostrukhin, A. 892 Observed diurnal variations in Mars Science Laboratory Dynamic Albedo of Neutrons passive mode data 2018NIMPA.892...70T

Tate, C. G., Moersch, J., Mitrofanov, I., Litvak, M., Bellutta, P., Boynton, W. V., Drake, D., Ehresmann, B., Fedosov, F., Golovin, D., Hardgrove, C., Harshman, K., Hassler, D. M., Jun, I., Kozyrev, A. S., Lisov, D., Malakhov, A., Ming, D. W., Mischna, M., Mokrousov, M., Nikiforov, S., Sanin, A. B., Starr, R., Vostrukhin, A., Zeitlin, C. 299 Results from the dynamic albedo of neutrons (DAN) passive mode experiment: Yellowknife Bay to Amargosa Valley (Sols 201-753) 2018Icar..299..513T

Lauretta, D. S., Balram-Knutson, S. S., Beshore, E., Boynton, W. V., Drouet d'Aubigny, C., DellaGiustina, D. N., Enos, H. L., Golish, D. R., Hergenrother, C. W., Howell, E. S., Bennett, C. A., Morton, E. T., Nolan, M. C., Rizk, B., Roper, H. L., Bartels, A. E., Bos, B. J., Dworkin, J. P., Highsmith, D. E., Lorenz, D. A., Lim, L. F., Mink, R., Moreau, M. C., Nuth, J. A., Reuter, D. C., Simon, A. A., Bierhaus, E. B., Bryan, B. H., Ballouz, R., Barnouin, O. S., Binzel, R. P., Bottke, W. F., Hamilton, V. E., Walsh, K. J., Chesley, S. R., Christensen, P. R., Clark, B. E., Connolly, H. C., Crombie, M. K., Daly, M. G., Emery, J. P., McCoy, T. J., McMahon, J. W., Scheeres, D. J., Messenger, S., Nakamura-Messenger, K., Righter, K., Sandford, S. A.  OSIRIS-REx: Sample Return from Asteroid (101955) Bennu 2017SSRv..212..925L

Daly, M. G., Barnouin, O. S., Dickinson, C., Seabrook, J., Johnson, C. L., Cunningham, G., Haltigin, T., Gaudreau, D., Brunet, C., Aslam, I., Taylor, A., Bierhaus, E. B., Boynton, W., Nolan, M., Lauretta, D. S.  The OSIRIS-REx Laser Altimeter (OLA) Investigation and Instrument 2017SSRv..212..899D

Hurley, K., Aptekar, R. L., Golenetskii, S. V., Frederiks, D. D., Svinkin, D. S., Pal'shin, V. D., Briggs, M. S., Meegan, C., Connaughton, V., Goldsten, J., Boynton, W., Fellows, C., Harshman, K., Mitrofanov, I. G., Golovin, D. V., Kozyrev, A. S., Litvak, M. L., Sanin, A. B., Rau, A., von Kienlin, A., Zhang, X., Yamaoka, K., Fukazawa, Y., Ohno, M., Tashiro, M., Terada, Y., Barthelmy, S., Cline, T., Gehrels, N., Cummings, J., Krimm, H. A., Smith, D. M., Del Monte, E., Feroci, M., Marisaldi, M.  The InterPlanetary Network Supplement to the Second Fermi GBM Catalog of Cosmic Gamma-Ray Bursts 2017ApJS..229...31H

Sanin, A. B., Mitrofanov, I. G., Litvak, M. L., Bakhtin, B. N., Bodnarik, J. G., Boynton, W. V., Chin, G., Evans, L. G., Harshman, K., Fedosov, F., Golovin, D. V., Kozyrev, A. S., Livengood, T. A., Malakhov, A. V., McClanahan, T. P., Mokrousov, M. I., Starr, R. D., Sagdeev, R. Z., Tret'yakov, V. I., Vostrukhin, A. A.  Hydrogen distribution in the lunar polar regions 2017Icar..283...20S

Lim, L. F., Starr, R. D., Evans, L. G., Parsons, A. M., Zolensky, M. E., Boynton, W. V.  Modeling orbital gamma-ray spectroscopy experiments at carbonaceous asteroids 2017M&PS...52..174L

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Last updated on May 23, 2019