Nathaniel Putzig
Mobile: 303-250-7060
nathaniel @

Geophysicist, studying the geology and climate of Mars with orbital radar and thermal data since 2001. 14 years prior experience with active-source seismic data in academia and industry. Expertise in processing, modeling, and interpretation of remote-sensing data. Skilled in software development, training course design and instruction, and personnel and project management.

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Planetary Science Institute
1546 Cole Boulevard, Suite 120
Lakewood, Colorado 80401
Office: 720-549-8836


PhD Geophysics, University of Colorado, Boulder, Colorado
GPA 3.9/4.0. SEG Scholarship. Advisors: Michael Mellon, Bruce Jakosky
Dissertation: Thermal inertia and surface heterogeneity on Mars
Aug 2001 – Dec 2006
Industry Training: 23 weeks in geoscience and computer systems Feb 1989 – Mar 1999
MA Geophysics, Rice University, Houston, Texas
GPA 3.8/4.0. Presidential Fellowship. Advisor: Alan Levander
Thesis: Modeling wide-angle seismic data from the central California margin
Aug 1986 – May 1988
BS Geophysical Engineering, Colorado School of Mines, Golden, Colorado
GPA 3.7/4.0. Minor in geology; six weeks geophysical field course
Aug 1982 – May 1986
Valedictorian, Berne–Knox–Westerlo High School, Berne, New York Sep 1978 – Jun 1982

NASA Mission Science Teams

SHARAD, the Shallow Radar on Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO)
US/Deputy Team Leader, appointed in 2015 to succeed Roger Phillips
Co-Investigator, appointed in 2013
Liason to Phoenix and Mars Science Laboratory landing site analysis teams
Oct 2006 – present
InSight Landing Site Analysis Team, Co-Investigator May 2014 – present
MARSIS, the Mars Advanced Radar for Subsurface and Ionosphere Sounding Oct 2006 – present
THEMIS, the Thermal Emission Imaging System on Mars Odyssey 2002 – present
TES, the Thermal Emission Spectrometer on Mars Global Surveyor Aug 2001 – Nov 2006
Beagle II and Mars Exploration Rovers Spirit and Opportunity Landing Sites Analysis Team 2002 – 2006


Planetary Science Institute (PSI), Lakewood, Colorado
Senior Scientist. Analyzing the regolith and near-surface ices of Mars using orbital radar, thermal observations, and other data.
Manager of PSI's new Colorado office (opened July 2016)
Project Manager for CO-SHARPS, the Colorado SHARAD Processing System
Project Manager for MARSTHERM Thermophysical Analysis Tools for Mars Research
Research Advisor to one post-doc, one research scientist, one research associate, and one PGGURP student.
May 2016 – present
Colorado School of Mines, Department of Geophysics, Golden, Colorado
Adjunct Professor. Collaborative research and student advising since 2016.
Feb 2017 – present
Univ. of Colorado, Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics, Boulder, Colorado
Adjoint Associate Professor. Advising graduate students and supporting their research through NASA PGG and MFRP grants since 2010.
Jul 2015 – present
Southwest Research Institute, Department of Space Studies, Boulder, Colorado
Principal Scientist. See PSI activities.
Research Advisor to one post-doc, one research assistant, four graduate students, and three PGGURP students.
Apr 2007 – 2016
Washington University, Earth and Planetary Sciences, St. Louis, Missouri
Postdoctoral Research Associate. Analysis of subsurface radar data from SHARAD and MARSIS. Advisor: Roger Phillips
Oct 2006 – Oct 2007
University of Colorado, Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics, Boulder, Colorado
Graduate Research Assistant. Global derivation, mapping, and analysis of thermal inertia with TES and THEMIS. Advisor: Michael Mellon
Aug 2001 – Sep 2006
EarthTrip: A one-year journey through 42 countries in three continents. Aug 2000 – Jul 2001
Mid-career course correction...
Geomancer, Houston, Texas
Geophysical Consultant. Founded consultancy offering exploration and systems services to the oil and gas industry. Carried out 2D and 3D seismic processing and interpretation, mapping prospects in Texas, Oklahoma, Louisianna, Mississippi, Alabama, the Gulf of Mexico, and Paradox Basin. Provided network and systems administration services. Developed training courses and provided on-site instruction for seismic interpretation and Unix. Primary clients: PetroCorp; JN Oil & Gas; Broughton Operating.
Nov 1996 – Jul 2000
CogniSeis Development, Inc., Houston, Texas
Manager, Customer Support. Oversaw 28-person department providing technical support, system staging, software installation, and applications training for several hundred clients encompassing six geoscience application suites. Corrected deficiencies in staffing levels and product knowledge with strategic hiring and cross-training of existing staff.
Nov 1995 – Oct 1996
Photon Systems Inc., Houston, Texas
Manager, Geoscience Support. Supervised four professionals and provided support and training of seismic and well interpretation software for a hundred US and Latin American clients. Provided technical assistance in client evaluations critical to dozens of workstation and software sales. Developed training courses ond provided training to 45 clients in twelve one-week courses. Performed 50 custom site installations and wrote an extensive body of code for format conversion, third-party product integration, and software problem tracking.
Nov 1993 – Nov 1995
Shell Oil Company, Houston, Texas
Exploration Geophysicist. Provided seismic data acquisition design and processing for exploration prospects in Yemen, West Texas, and Michigan Basins. Expertise with mixed-source datasets and resolution of near-surface noise problems with refraction statics modeling. Received monetary award for leading seven-person team in developing a cost-saving, superior processing method for a Yemen dataset. Performed user training and coordinated user feedback for internal and vendor refraction statics software.
Jun 1988 – Oct 1993
Rice University, Department of Geology and Geophysics, Houston, Texas
Graduate Research Assistant. Participated in the design and acquisition of an experimental wide-angle reflection–refraction survey across the North American–Pacific plate margin in central California. Led the interpretation of the refraction data. Advisor: Alan Levander.
Aug 1986 – May 1988

Grants and Awards

NASA Planetary Geology and Geophysics Program
Early Career Fellow, selected in conjunction with PG&G 2013 grant 2014
PI, Material Properties of Dune Fields in the Southern Highlands of Mars from Thermophysical Observations and Modeling 2013
PI, Material Properties of the North Polar Erg on Mars from Observations and Modeling of Thermophysical Behavior 2007
NASA Mars Data Analysis Program
PI, Advanced 3-D Subsurface Imaging and Analysis of Planum Boreum with SHARAD Data 2015
Co-I, Understanding Layered Ejecta ("Lobate") Craters on Mars: Keys to Subsurface Water? PI: Stuart Robbins (SwRI) 2014
PI, 3-D Subsurface Imaging and Analysis of Planum Australe with SHARAD Data 2012
Co-I, Martian sediment production: An investigation into the relative roles of chemical and mechanical weathering. PI: Victoria Hamilton (SwRI) 2010
PI, 3-D Subsurface Imaging and Analysis of Planum Boreum with SHARAD Data 2009
Co-I, Linking Visible and Radar Stratigraphy in the Martian Polar Deposits. PI: Kathryn Fishbaugh / Patrick Russell (Smithsonian) 2008
NASA Mars Fundamental Research Program
PI, Thermal Effects of Physical Heterogeneity on Mars (PI) 2010
JPL Critical Data Products Program (landing-site analysis)
PI, Surface Properties from Radar and Thermophysical Data for InSight 2013
SwRI Internal Research Program
Co-I, Modeling of Exotic Ice Glaciers on Pluto and Mars. PI: Isaac Smith (SwRI) 2016
NASA Group Achievement Awards
MRO Comet Siding Spring Observing Team 2015
MRO SHARAD Science Team, for polar/ice studies 2011
US SHARAD Team, for radar sounder processing and analysis tools 2009

Memberships and Certifications

American Geophysical Union
Division of Planetary Scientists of the American Astronomical Society
Society of Exploration Geophysicists
Geological Society of America
Registered Engineer in Training, State of Colorado, April 1986
Certified White Water Raft Guide, Arkansas River, Colorado, June 1997

Publications link