Sciences and Exploration Directorate

Maria E Banks

(Research AST, Planetary Studies)

Maria E Banks's Contact Card & Information.
Org Code: 690.1
Mail Code 690.1
New York, NY 10025

Missions & Projects

Brief Bio

Maria Banks is a planetary scientist at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center. She studies the surfaces of the Moon, Mars, Pluto and Mercury. At NASA, Banks works with the science teams for several NASA missions. She is a member of the science teams for the HiRISE and LROC instruments on spacecraft orbiting Mars (Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter) and the Moon (Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter) respectively, and works with the science team of the New Horizons mission which visited Pluto and is now flying through the Kuiper Belt. Banks is also a member of the science team for the InSight mission which has a lander operating on the surface of Mars. Additionally, Banks is the Associate Project Scientist for Data Mangement and Landed Mission Support for the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter mission. She also works with the Planetary Data System which archives data acquired during NASA missions. Banks’ research interests include the study of glaciers and ice sheets on Earth and Mars, the measurement of migration rates for sand dunes and ripples on the surface of Mars, the morphology of new dated impact events on Mars and implications for the expected seismic response of Mars to these events, and the study of tectonic features, such as thrust faults called lobate scarps, on the Moon and Mercury.

Current Projects

Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter

Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera (LROC)


Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) High Resolution Imagining Science Experiment (HiRISE)

Solar System Exploration Virtual Research Institute (SSERVI): Team TREX

Planetary Data System

Artemis Technical Assessment Team: Data Assessment

Artemis Technical Assessment Team: Human Landing System (HLS) Site Availability

Artemis Technical Assessment Team: Science Objectives

Artemis Technical Assessment Team: Basecamp Site Planning and Logistics


NASA Group Achievement Award presented to the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter team

NASA Group Achievement Award presented to the New Horizons team

NASA Group Achievement Award presented to the MESSENGER team

NASA Group Achievement Award presented to the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter HiRISE science team



2020. "A New Crater Near InSight: Implications for Seismic Impact Detectability on Mars." Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets 125 (8): [10.1029/2020je006382] [Journal Article/Letter]

2020. "Monitoring of Dust Devil Tracks Around the InSight Landing Site, Mars, and Comparison With In Situ Atmospheric Data." Geophysical Research Letters 47 (10): [10.1029/2020gl087234] [Journal Article/Letter]

2020. "An Impact Crater Origin for the InSight Landing Site at Homestead Hollow, Mars: Implications for Near Surface Stratigraphy, Surface Processes, and Erosion Rates." Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets 125 (4): [10.1029/2019je006333] [Journal Article/Letter]

2020. "Degradation of Homestead Hollow at the InSight Landing Site Based on the Distribution and Properties of Local Deposits." Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets 125 (4): [10.1029/2019je006350] [Journal Article/Letter]

2020. "The Chaotic Terrains of Mercury Reveal a History of Planetary Volatile Retention and Loss in the Innermost Solar System." Scientific Reports 10 (1): 4737 [10.1038/s41598-020-59885-5] [Journal Article/Letter]

2020. "Geology of the InSight landing site on Mars." Nature Communications 11 (1): 1014 [10.1038/s41467-020-14679-1] [Journal Article/Letter]

2020. "Terrestrial single-station analog for constraining the martian core and deep interior: Implications for InSight." Icarus 335 113396 [10.1016/j.icarus.2019.113396] [Journal Article/Letter]

2019. "The Seismic Signatures of Recently Formed Impact Craters on Mars." Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets 124 (11): 3063-3081 [10.1029/2019je006044] [Journal Article/Letter]

2019. "Wrinkle ridges on Mercury and the Moon within and outside of mascons." Icarus 331 226-237 [10.1016/j.icarus.2019.04.013] [Journal Article/Letter]

2019. "Evidence for recent and ancient faulting at Mare Frigoris and implications for lunar tectonic evolution." Icarus 326 151-161 [10.1016/j.icarus.2019.03.002] [Journal Article/Letter]

2019. "Initial results from the New Horizons exploration of 2014 MU69, a small Kuiper Belt object." Science 364 (6441): eaaw9771 [10.1126/science.aaw9771] [Journal Article/Letter]

2019. "Recently Formed Crater Clusters on Mars." Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets 124 (4): 958-969 [10.1029/2018je005857] [Journal Article/Letter]

2019. "Boundary condition controls on the high-sand-flux regions of Mars." Geology 47 (5): 427-430 [10.1130/g45793.1] [Journal Article/Letter]

2019. "The 1997 Mars Pathfinder Spacecraft Landing Site: Spillover Deposits from an Early Mars Inland Sea." Scientific Reports 9 (1): 4045 [10.1038/s41598-019-39632-1] [Journal Article/Letter]

2018. "Impact-Seismic Investigations of the InSight Mission." Space Science Reviews 214 (8): 132 [10.1007/s11214-018-0562-x] [Journal Article/Letter]

2018. "Patterns in Mobility and Modification of Middle- and High-Latitude Southern Hemisphere Dunes on Mars." Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets 123 (12): 3205-3219 [10.1029/2018je005747] [Journal Article/Letter]

2018. "How old are lunar lobate scarps? 1. Seismic resetting of crater size-frequency distributions." Icarus 306 225-242 [10.1016/j.icarus.2018.01.019] [Journal Article/Letter]

2018. "Wind-Driven Erosion and Exposure Potential at Mars 2020 Rover Candidate-Landing Sites." Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets 123 (2): 468-488 [10.1002/2017je005460] [Journal Article/Letter]

2017. "Revised constraints on absolute age limits for Mercury's Kuiperian and Mansurian stratigraphic systems." Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets 122 (5): 1010-1020 [10.1002/2016je005254] [Journal Article/Letter]

2016. "Widespread effusive volcanism on Mercury likely ended by about 3.5 Ga." Geophysical Research Letters 43 (14): 7408-7416 [10.1002/2016gl069412] [Journal Article/Letter]

2016. "The Argyre Region as a Prime Target forin situAstrobiological Exploration of Mars." Astrobiology 16 (2): 143-158 [10.1089/ast.2015.1396] [Journal Article/Letter]

2015. "Duration of activity on lobate-scarp thrust faults on Mercury." Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets 120 (11): 1751-1762 [10.1002/2015je004828] [Journal Article/Letter]

2015. "The Pluto system: Initial results from its exploration by New Horizons." Science 350 (6258): aad1815-aad1815 [10.1126/science.aad1815] [Journal Article/Letter]

2015. "Global thrust faulting on the Moon and the influence of tidal stresses." Geology 43 (10): 851-854 [10.1130/g37120.1] [Journal Article/Letter]

2015. "Geological and hydrological histories of the Argyre province, Mars." Icarus 253 66-98 [10.1016/j.icarus.2015.02.017] [Journal Article/Letter]

2015. "Distribution of large‐scale contractional tectonic landforms on Mercury: Implications for the origin of global stresses." Geophysical Research Letters 42 (10): 3755-3763 [10.1002/2015gl063570] [Journal Article/Letter]

2012. "Morphometric analysis of small-scale lobate scarps on the Moon using data from the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter." Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets 117 (E12): [10.1029/2011je003907] [Journal Article/Letter]

2012. "Recent extensional tectonics on the Moon revealed by the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera." Nature Geoscience 5 (3): 181-185 [10.1038/ngeo1387] [Journal Article/Letter]

2011. "Mercury crater statistics from MESSENGER flybys: Implications for stratigraphy and resurfacing history." Planetary and Space Science 59 (15): 1960-1967 [10.1016/j.pss.2011.03.018] [Journal Article/Letter]

2011. "Planet-wide sand motion on Mars." Geology 40 (1): 31-34 [10.1130/g32373.1] [Journal Article/Letter]

2010. "Crater population and resurfacing of the Martian north polar layered deposits." Journal of Geophysical Research 115 (E8): E08006 [10.1029/2009je003523] [Journal Article/Letter]

2010. "Evidence of Recent Thrust Faulting on the Moon Revealed by the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera." Science 329 (5994): 936-940 [10.1126/science.1189590] [Journal Article/Letter]

2010. "The High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) during MRO’s Primary Science Phase (PSP)." Icarus 205 (1): 2-37 [10.1016/j.icarus.2009.04.023] [Journal Article/Letter]

2009. "An analysis of sinuous ridges in the southern Argyre Planitia, Mars using HiRISE and CTX images and MOLA data." Journal of Geophysical Research 114 (E9): E09003 [10.1029/2008je003244] [Journal Article/Letter]

2008. "High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) observations of glacial and periglacial morphologies in the circum-Argyre Planitia highlands, Mars." Journal of Geophysical Research 113 (E12): E12015 [10.1029/2007je002994] [Journal Article/Letter]

2008. "Forward modeling of ice topography on Mars to infer basal shear stress conditions." Journal of Geophysical Research 113 (E1): E01001 [10.1029/2007je002895] [Journal Article/Letter]


2024. "MULTIPLE DATASETS TO DETERMINE “YOUTH MARKERS” OF ACTIVITY AT WRINKLE RIDGES IN MARE FRIGORIS." 55th Lunar and Planetary Science Conference, held 11-15 March, 2023 at The Woodlands, Texas and virtually. LPI Contribution (1643): [Proceedings]

2021. "Mission to Characterize Volatiles in Old, Cold, Permanently Shadowed Regions on the Moon." BAAS, Planetary/Astrobiology Decadal Survey Whitepapers 53 (4): e-id. 365 [10.3847/25c2cfeb.f3dc6df2] [Journal Article/Letter]

2021. "The Importance of Field Studies for Closing Key Knowledge Gaps in Planetary Science." Vol. 53, Issue 4 (Planetary/Astrobiology Decadal Survey Whitepapers) 53 (4): [10.3847/25c2cfeb.0a087f9f] [Other]

2021. "The Spatial Relationship of Graben and Pit Craters at Rimae Daniell and the Implications of Scarp Formation." 52nd Lunar and Planetary Science Conference, held virtually, 15-19 March, 2021. LPI Contribution No. 2548, id.1481 [Proceedings]