Lynn D. V. Neakrase, Ph.D.



All About Me

My primary research
interests lie in aeolian (wind) processes including how the atmospheric boundary layer interacts with surface materials on different planets.  Aeolian processes shape planetary surfaces by removal/deposition of sediment by the wind and erosion of landforms and abrasion of rocks by wind-entrained sediment. The physical properties of  loose sediment as well as the planetary environmental conditions (air composition/density/temperature/pressure, solar energy input,  gravity, etc.) interact in different ways on different planets. 
    My Ph.D. work centered on the physics of dust/sand lifting in dust devils, dust devil sediment flux laboratory experiments, and laboratory experiments on the effects of surface roughness on vortex dynamics. 
As a part of my work on dust devil on Earth and Mars, I worked on the Mars Exploration Rovers mission primarily with the rover, Spirit.  I served as a Geology Theme Lead through out parts of the extended mission from 2005 - 2008. 

    My M.S. work was in conjunction with preparation for the ill-fated Mars Polar Lander mission that was part of the Surveyor ’98 Mars opportunity. My thesis research centered on aeolian geomorphology of the Southern Polar Layered Deposits near the proposed MPL landing site.  Aeolian processes included wind streaks due to seasonal CO2 ice sublimation and dust entrainment. Thesis work included photogeomorphic mapping, wind direction determination, and statistical comparison to Mars general circulation models.

    Aeolian simulations beyond my degree work include boundary layer wind tunnel experiments on bedform analysis, rover/lander wind flow analysis studies, rock
abrasion studies, and windblown planetary protection experiments (2001-2008). Dust devil sediment flux, roughness effects, and track morphologies were conducted with the Arizona State University Vortex Generator (2001-2009). Extension of vortex particle threshold for 125µm silica sand experiments were conducted with the Iowa State University Tornado Microburst Simulator (2004).

    Recent job experience has been through my position as full-time staff at New Mexico State University, with the NASA Planetary Data System, Planetary Atmospheres Node. Responsibilities (2010-present) have involved overseeing undergraduate students in helping to  develop the PDS4 archive system.  The new system employs tying a central Information Model to a new labeling system implemented in XML.  Our students have employed Python programing to begin to update legacy datasets into the new system.  We have also been responsible for interfacing with the first new missions to archive under the new system (LADEE and MAVEN).

    Further work with PDS has led to involvement with the International Planetary Data Alliance (IPDA), which aims to link planetary data archives from spacefaring nations in an effort to facilitate international
data access. Current involvement is predominantly limited to ESA, JAXA, and ISRO, at this time with further international cooperation in the works.  This effort will continue to evolve over the coming years.