Dr. Bradley James Thomson


Senior Research Scientist

Center for Remote Sensing
Boston University
725 Commonwealth Ave., Room 433
Boston, MA 02215-1401

Telephone: 617.353.5148
Fax: 617.353.3200
Email: bjt [at] bu.edu


  • Ph.D. Geological Sciences, Brown University, 2006. Advisor:  Peter H. Schultz
  • M.Sc. Geological Sciences, Brown University, 2001. Advisor: James W. Head III
  • B.S. Harvey Mudd College, 1999, Geology major at Pomona College. Advisor: Eric B. Grosfils

Professional Experience

  • 2011-present, Senior Research Scientist, Boston University Center for Remote Sensing.
  • 2008-2011, Senior Professional Staff, JHU Applied Physics Lab, Laurel, MD. Member of LRO Mini-RF and Chandrayaan-1 Mini-SAR science teams.
  • 2007-2008, Mass wasting Science Theme Lead, HiRISE team.
  • 2006-2008, NASA Postdoctoral Program Research Associate, JPL/Caltech, Pasadena, CA.
  • 2005-2006, Postdoctoral Fellow, Lunar and Planetary Science Institute, Houston TX.


Peer-Reviewed Articles (* denotes student author)

31. Thomson, B. J., and F. El-Baz, Future Mars Rovers: The Next Places to Direct Our Curiosity, Eos Transactions, in press, 2014.

30. Thomson, B. J., J. A. Hurowitz, L. L. Baker, N. T. Bridges, A. Lennon, G. Paulsen, and K. Zacny, The effects of weathering on the strength and chemistry of Columbia River Basalts and their implications for Mars Exploration Rover Rock Abrasion Tool (RAT) results, Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 400, 130-144, doi:10.1016/j.epsl.2014.05.012, 2014.

29. Spudis, P. D., D. B. J. Bussey, S. M. Baloga, J. T. S. Cahill, L. S. Glaze, G. W. Patterson, R. K. Raney, T. W. Thompson, B. J. Thomson, and E. A. Ustinov, Evidence for water ice on the moon: results for anomalous polar craters from the LRO Mini-RF imaging radar, Journal of Geophysical Research, 118, 2016–2029, doi:10.1002/jgre.20156, 2013.

    28. Thomson, B. J., N. T. Bridges, J. Cohen, J. A. Hurowitz, A. Lennon, G. Paulsen, K. Zacny, Estimating rock compressive strength from Rock Abrasion Tool (RAT) grinds, Journal of Geophysical Research, 118, 1233–1244, doi:10.1002/jgre.20061, 2013.

    27. Thomson, B. J., D. B. J. Bussey, C. D. Neish, J. T. S. Cahill, E. Heggy, R. L. Kirk, G. W. Patterson, R. K. Raney, P. D. Spudis, T. W. Thompson, and E. A. Ustinov, An upper limit for ice in Shackleton crater as revealed by LRO Mini-RF orbital radar, Geophysical Research Letters, 39, L14201, doi:10.1029/2012GL052119, 2012.

      26. *Bell, S. W., B. J. Thomson, M. D. Dyar, C. D. Neish, J. T. S. Cahill, and D. B. J. Bussey, Dating fresh lunar craters with Mini-RF, Journal of Geophysical Research, 117, E00H30, doi:10.1029/2011JE004007, 2012.

      25. Bridges, N.T., M. C. Bourke, P. E. Geissler, M. E. Banks, C. Colon, S. Diniega, M. P. Golombek, C. J. Hansen, S. Mattson, A. S. McEwen, M. T. Mellon, N. Stantzos, and B. J. Thomson, Planet-wide sand motion on Mars, Geology, 40(1), 31–34, doi:10.1130/G32373.1, 2012.

        24. Thomson, B. J., N. T. Bridges, R. Milliken, A. Baldridge, S. J. Hook, J. K. Crowley, G. M. Marion, C. R. de Souza Filho, A. J. Brown, and C. M. Weitz, Constraints on the origin and evolution of the layered mound in Gale Crater, Mars using Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter data, Icarus, 214(2), 413-432, doi:10.1016/j.icarus.2011.05.002, 2011.

            23. Neish, C. D., D. B. J. Bussey, P. Spudis, W. Marshall, B. J. Thomson, B. G. W. Patterson, L. M. Carter, The nature of lunar volatiles as revealed by Mini-RF observations of the LCROSS impact site, Journal of Geophysical Research, 116(E1), E01005, doi:10.1029/2010JE003647, 2011.

              22. Neish, C. D., D. T. Blewett, D. B. J. Bussey, S. J. Lawrence, M. Mechtley, B. J. Thomson, and the Mini-RF Team, The surficial nature of lunar swirls as revealed by the Mini-RF instrument, Icarus, 215(1), 186-196, doi:10.1016/j.icarus.2011.06.037, 2011.

                21. Bridges, N. T., M. E. Banks, R. A. Beyer, F. C. Chuang, E. Z. Noe Dobrea, K. E. Herkenhoff, L. P. Keszthelyi, K. E. Fishbaugh, A. S. McEwen, T. I. Michaels, B. J. Thomson, and J. J. Wray, Aeolian bedforms, yardangs, and indurated surfaces in the Tharsis Montes as seen by the HiRISE Camera: Evidence for dust aggregates, Icarus, 205(1), 165-182, doi:10.1016/j.icarus.2009.05.017, 2010.

                  20. Brown, A. J., S. J. Hook, A. M. Baldridge, J. K. Crowley, N. T. Bridges, B. J. Thomson, G. M. Marion, C. R. de Souza Filho, J. L. Bishop, Hydrothermal formation of Clay-Carbonate alteration assemblages in the Nili Fossae region of Mars, Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 297(1-2), 174-182, doi:10.1016/j.epsl.2010.06.018, 2010.

                    19. McEwen, A. S, M. E. Banks, N. Baugh, K. Becker, A. Boyd, J. W. Bergstrom, R. A. Beyer, E. Bortolini, N. T. Bridges, S. Byrne, B. Castalia, F. C. Chuang, L. S. Crumpler, I. Daubar, A. K. Davatzes, D. G. Deardorff, A. DeJong, W. A. Delamere, E. Noe Dobrea, C. M. Dundas, E. M. Eliason, Y. Espinoza, A. Fennema, K. E. Fishbaugh, T. Forrester, P. E. Geissler, J. A. Grant, J. L. Griffes, J. P. Grotzinger, V. C. Gulick, C. J. Hansen, K. E. Herkenhoff, R. Heyd, W. L. Jaeger, D. Jones, B. Kanefsky, L. Keszthelyi, R. King, R. L. Kirk, K. J. Kolb, J. Lasco, A. Lefort, R. Leis, K. W. Lewis, S. Martinez-Alonso, S. Mattson, G. McArthur, M. T. Mellon, J. M. Metz, M. P. Milazzo, R. E. Milliken, T. Motazedian, C. H. Okubo, A. Ortiz, A. J. Philippoff, J. Plassmann, A. Polit, P. S. Russell, C. Schaller, M. L. Searls, T. Spriggs, S. W. Squyres, S. Tarr, N. Thomas, B. J. Thomson, L. L. Tornabene, C. van Houten, C. Verba, C. M. Weitz, and J. J. Wray, The High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) during MRO’s Primary Science Phase (PSP), Icarus, 205(1), 2-37, doi:10.1016/j.icarus.2009.04.023, 2010.

                      18. Milliken, R. E., J. P. Grotzinger, and B. J. Thomson, Paleoclimate of Mars as captured by the stratigraphic record in Gale Crater, Geophysical Research Letters, 37(4), doi: 10.1029/2009GL041870, 2010.

                        17. Spudis, P. D., D. B. J. Bussey, S. M. Baloga, B. J. Butler, D. Carl, L. M. Carter, M. Chakraborty, R. C. Elphic, J. J. Gillis-Davis, J. N. Goswami, E. Heggy, M. Hillyard, R. Jensen, R. L. Kirk, D. LaVallee, P. McKerracher, C.D. Neish, S. Nozette, S. Nylund, M. Palsetia, W. Patterson, M. S. Robinson, R. K. Raney, R. C. Schulze, H. Sequeira, J. Skura, T. W. Thompson, B. J. Thomson, E. A. Ustinov, and H. L. Winters, Initial results for the north pole of the Moon from Mini-SAR, Chandrayaan-1 mission, Geophysical Research Letters, 37(6), L06204, doi:10.1029/2009GL042259, 2010.

                          16. Weitz, C. M., R. E. Milliken, J. A. Grant, A. S. McEwen, R. M. E. Williams, J. L. Bishop, and B. J. Thomson, Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter observations of light-toned layered deposits and associated fluvial landforms on the plateaus adjacent to Valles Marineris, Icarus, 205(1), 73-102, doi:10.1016/j.icarus.2009.04.017, 2010.

                              15. Baldridge, A. M., S. J. Hook, J. K. Crowley, G. M. Marion, J. S. Kargel, J. L. Michalski, B. J. Thomson, C. R. de Souza Filho, N. T. Bridges, and A. J. Brown, Contemporaneous deposition of phyllosilicates and sulfates: Using Australian acidic saline lake deposits to describe geochemical variability on Mars, Geophysical Research Letters, 36(19), doi:10.1029/2009GL040069, 2009

                                14. Marion, G. M., J. K. Crowley, B. J. Thomson, J. S. Kargel, N. T. Bridges, S. J. Hook, A. Baldridge, A. J. Brown, B. Ribeiro da Luz, C. R. de Souza Filho, Modeling aluminum–silicon chemistries and application to Australian acidic playa lakes as analogues for Mars, Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, 73(11), 3493-3511, doi:10.1016/j.gca.2009.03.013, 2009.

                                  13. Han, G., M. B. Dusseault, E. Detournay, B. J. Thomson, and K. Zacny, Principles of Drilling and Excavation, in Drilling in Extreme Environments, edited by Y. Bar-Cohen and K. Zacny, Wiley-VCH, pp. 31-140, doi:10.1002/9783527626625, 2009.

                                    12. Thomson, B. J., E. B. Grosfils, D. B. J. Bussey, and P. Spudis, Thickness of basalts in Mare Imbrium, Geophysical Research Letters, 36(12), L12201, doi: 10.1029/2009GL037600, 2009.

                                      11. Zacny, K., Y. Bar-Cohen, K. Davis, P. Coste, G. Paulsen, S. Sherrit, J. George, B. Derkowski, S. Gorevan, D. Boucher, J. Guerrero, T. Kubota, B. J. Thomson, S. Stanley, P. Thomas, N. Lan, C. McKay, T. C. Onstot, C. Stoker, B. Glass, S. Wakabayashi, L. Whyte, G. Visentin, E. Re, L. Richter, M. Badescu, X. Bao, R. Fincher, T. Hoshino, P. Magnani, and C. Menon, Extraterrestrial Drilling and Excavation, in Drilling in Extreme Environments, edited by Y. Bar-Cohen and K. Zacny, Wiley-VCH, pp. 347-557, doi:10.1002/9783527626625, 2009.

                                        10. Bridges, N. T., S. J. Hook, J. K. Crowley, C. Roberto de Souza Filho, J. B. Macambira, G. de Lima Pereira Silva, and B. J. Thomson, The Carajas, Brazil Archean Banded Iron Formation: A possible analog for ancient Martian marine and biologic environments, Eos Transactions, 89(36), doi:10.1029/2008EO360001, 2008.

                                          9. Grant, J. A., R. P. Irwin, III, J. P. Grotzinger, R. E. Milliken, L. L. Tornabene, A. S. McEwen, C. M. Weitz, S. W. Squyres, T. D. Glotch, and B. J. Thomson, HiRISE imaging of impact megabreccia and sub-meter aqueous strata in Holden Crater, Mars, Geology, 36(3), 195-198, doi:10.1130/G24340A.1, 2008.

                                            8. Thomson, B. J., N. T. Bridges, and R. Greeley, Rock abrasion features in the Columbia Hills, Mars, Journal of Geophysical Research, 113, E08010, doi: 10.1029/2007JE003018, 2008.

                                              7. Thomson, B. J., P. H. Schultz, and N. T. Bridges, Extracting scientific results from robotic arm support operations:  A technique for estimating the density and composition of rocks on Mars, The Mars Journal, 4, 27-32, doi:10.1555/mars.2008.0003, 2008.

                                                6. Bridges, N. T., P. E. Geissler, A. S. McEwen, B. J. Thomson, F. C. Chuang, K. E. Herkenhoff, L. P. Keszthelyi, S. E. Martínez-Alonso, Windy Mars: A dynamic planet as seen by the HiRISE camera, Geophysical Research Letters, 34, L23205, doi:10.1029/2007GL031445, 2007.

                                                  5. Chuang, F. C., R. A. Beyer, A. S. McEwen, and B. J. Thomson, HiRISE observation of slope streaks on Mars, Geophysical Research Letters, 34, L20204, doi:10.1029/2007GL031111, 2007.

                                                    4. McEwen, A. S., C. J. Hansen, W. A. Delamere, E. M. Eliason, K. E. Herkenhoff, L. Keszthelyi, V. C. Gulick, R. L. Kirk, M. T. Mellon, J. A. Grant, N. Thomas, C. M. Weitz, S. W. Squyres, N. T. Bridges, S. L. Murchie, F. Seelos, K. Seelos, C. H. Okubo, M. P. Milazzo, L. L. Tornabene, W. L. Jaeger, S. Byrne, P. S. Russell, J. L. Griffes, S. Martínez-Alonso, A. Davatzes, F. C. Chuang, B. J. Thomson, K. E. Fishbaugh, C. M. Dundas, K. J. Kolb, M. E. Banks, and J. J. Wray, A closer look at water-related geologic activity on Mars, Science, 317, 1706-1709, doi:10.1126/science.1143987, 2007.

                                                    3. Thomson, B. J. and P. H. Schultz, The geology of the Viking Lander 2 site revisited, Icarus, 191, 505-523, doi:10.1016/j.icarus.2007.05.011, 2007.

                                                      2. Thomson, B. J. and J. W. Head, Utopia Basin, Mars: Characterization of topography and morphology and assessment of the origin and evolution of basin internal structure, Journal of Geophysical Research, 106, 23,209-23,230, doi:10.1029/2000JE001355, 2001.

                                                        1. Head, J. W., H. Hiesinger, M. A. Ivanov, M. A. Kreslavsky, S. Pratt, and B. J. Thomson, Possible ancient oceans on Mars: Evidence from Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter data, Science, 286, 2134-2137, doi:10.1126/science.286.5447.2134, 1999.