A pdf version of my CV is here.

Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics
University of Colorado Boulder


I study volatile loss from Mars via measurements and models, focusing on H escape from the extended corona surrounding the planet. By analyzing data from ESA’s Mars Express spacecraft, I discovered the time-variation of hydrogen escape from Mars, an observation which significantly changes the story of how Mars dried out over solar system history. I provided explanations for these variations with photochemical modeling that introduces new channels for H escape that oxidize Mars over time. I continue to study the H corona with MAVEN and am affiliated the Emirates Mars Mission UV spectrograph, which will arrive at Mars in 2021.


2016-Present Research Associate, LASP

2015-Present Emirates Mars Mission Science Team

2009-2016 Research Assistant, CU APS Department

Complete List via ADS

M. S. Chaffin, et al. Three-dimensional structure in the Mars H corona revealed by IUVS on MAVEN. Geophysical Research Letters, 2015.

M. S. Chaffin, Jean-Yves Chaufray, Ian Stewart, Franck Montmessin, Nicholas M. Schneider, and Jean-Loup Bertaux. Unexpected variability of Martian hydrogen escape. Geophysical Research Letters, 41(2):314–320, Jan 2014.

M. S. Chaffin, J. Deighan, N.M. Schneider, and A.I.F. Stewart. Elevated and non-stoichiometric escape of H from Mars induced by high-altitude water. submitted, 2016.

J. Deighan, M. S. Chaffin, et al. MAVEN IUVS observation of the hot oxygen corona at Mars. Geophysical Research Letters, 42:9009–9014, Nov 2015.

N. M. Schneider, et al. Discovery of diffuse aurora on Mars. Science, 350, Nov 2015.

N. M. Schneider, et al. MAVEN IUVS observations of the aftermath of the Comet Siding Spring meteor shower on Mars. Geophysical Research Letters, 42:4755–4761, Jun 2015.


MDAP/Testing New Paradigms of Water Escape through Mars Express Data Analysis. Awarded 2013. One of 30 selected of 101 submitted. Wrote text, managed proposal activities with Schneider as PI of record.

NASA Earth and Space Science Fellowship: Awarded 2011-2013, one of 14/73 accepted.

NASA Astrobiology Institute Early Career Collaboration Award; AAS DPS Hartmann Grant; LPI Career Development Award; AAS International Travel Grant; APS Department Fellowship, Supplemental (four time recipient); Ray Mace Smith Graduate Fellowship.


University of Colorado, M.Sc. Spring 2012, PhD May 2016

Thesis: The H Corona of Mars Adviser: Nicholas Schneider

Reed College, B.A. Physics, 2008

Thesis: Quantum Mechanics on an Ellipse


Adjunct Faculty in Physics and Astronomy Fall 2012 – Spring 2013

Front Range Community College, Westminster, CO

Taught introductory algebra-based physics and astronomy in small classrooms to students from many backgrounds. Incorporated interactive learning throughout coursework.

Instructor Summer 2012

Department of Astrophysics and Planetary Science, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO

Served as instructor of record at a major US research institution, incorporating interactive learning as a major part of the curriculum. See course website at


APOD 26 September 2014: Images from MAVEN’s first orbit around Mars.

MAVEN Phobos Webrelease: The first ultraviolet spectral images of Phobos in almost a decade.

2012 Finalist, NASA Famelab Communication Competition. Led public telescope observing nights every semester at CU.

Organized 2013 Astrobiology Graduate Conference and Research Focus Group, managing $60,000 of NASA NAI funding. Developed new astrobiology communication competition format, Astrobiology Speaks!, in partnership with the Redpath museum.

Managed APS Department website. Advised faculty committee for National Solar Observatory tenure-track search, Spring 2014. Served on graduate student admissions and comprehensive exam advisory committees. NASA review panel executive secretary, 2015.

2015 Editors’ Citation for Excellence in Refereeing, Geophysical Research Letters.


Mathematica, C/C++, Python, Julia, LATEX, IDL, HTML, SQL, Perl, Bash, SVN, git, LabVIEW, and OpenMP/MPI for supercomputing.