Portrait of Stephen Wood

Stephen Wood

Research Assistant Professor

Earth & Space Sciences

Stephen Wood studies the environment on the other 33 planetary bodies in our solar system – from the permanently-shadowed polar regions of the Moon and Mercury where billion-year-old ice persists, to the lower latitudes of Mars where we observe evidence for active, present-day flows of liquid water and glacial ice. Wood’s research seeks to understand the relationships between the physical properties of planetary surface material, the range of daily and yearly temperature cycles, and the state of “volatile” compounds such as water and CO2 (gas, liquid, or solid) as they evolve through time. He is also interested in determining if conditions suitable for life (as we know it) could exist elsewhere in the solar system, either now or in the past. His research methods include theoretical modeling, laboratory experiments, and analysis of data from spacecraft missions. In collaboration with other UW faculty, he has built an environmental simulation chamber that can recreate conditions at the surface of Mars.