Professor Carly Howett

Associate Professor of Physics and Tutorial Fellow

Professor Carly Howett is an Associate Professor of Physics and Tutorial Fellow, and a Governing Body Fellow.

Professor Carly Howett will join Atmospheric, Oceanic and Planetary Physics as an Associate Professor in Space instrumentation from July 2020, in conjunction with a Tutorial Fellowship held at St Edmund Hall.

Carly is a planetary physicist currently serving as Assistant Director of the Department of Space Studies at the Southwest Research Institute, Department of Space Studies, USA. She is an expert of the surfaces of icy worlds with a long track record in space instrumentation.

Dr Carly Howett’s main interest is finding new ways to explore our solar system through the development of new instrumentation, missions and ground-based observations. Her main research interest is in understanding the surface properties of icy worlds, including Saturn’s icy moons, Jupiter’s Trojan asteroids, Europa, and Kuiper Belt Objects (including Pluto and Charon). She is the Deputy Principal Investigator of the Ralph Instrument on New Horizons, an Instrument Scientist on NASA’s newly selected Lucy mission and a Co-Investigator on two other NASA missions: Cassini and Europa Clipper. She is also the Deputy Principal Investigator of Trident, a NASA mission in Phase A study that will explore Neptune’s moon Triton, and the Principal Investigator in a NASA funded Planetary Mission Concept Study to determine the feasibility of returning to Pluto and the Kuiper Belt.

On New Horizons she helps plan observations, and works on calibrating Ralph’s MVIC instrument and analyzing results. She assisted with the production of color images of Pluto, Charon and Kuiper Belt Object 2014 MU69. While, on Cassini she was responsible for planning CIRS observations of Saturn’s icy moons, and analyzing the returned data. Carly has discovered thermal anomalies dubbed “Pac-Men” on three of Saturn’s icy moons, and helped constrain active Enceladus’ heat flow. NASA’s Lucy and Europa Clipper missions are still in the instrument development stages. As such, Dr. Howett is heavily involved in optimizing instrument design and build for the upcoming missions to a Jovian Trojan asteroid and Jupiter’s icy moon Europa respectively.

Carly is constantly working to create equality for all in science, by promoting best-practices, ally-ship, and targeted training. She is particularly passionate about outreach to promote science to girls and other minorities. She regularly gives talks in schools, in the community, and on TV/radio. Carly is also the liaison between the Southwest Research Institute and the Denver Pop Culture Con, to provide a variety of science outreach for the Con.