Cyril Grima, Ph.D.


Institute for Geophysics
J.J. Pickle Research Campus
10100 Burnet Road
Austin, TX 78758

Research Interests

The space exploration dedicated to terrestrial planets is designed to characterize the environments of planetary bodies in our solar system and to understand their fundamental evolution processes. However, these distant worlds can be dominated by non-intuitive mechanisms, complicating the analysis of data coming from the unmanned exploration spacecrafts.

My work aims to better understand and interpret the observations acquired by radar sounders onboard planetary probes. My main targets are Mars, Titan, Europa, the Moon, and the Earth polar regions. I focus my research to characterize the surfaces and ionospheres of those planetary bodies. This is acheived through four activities:

Theoretical Models

Development of tools for radar inversion of geophysical data

Terrestrial Analogs

Validation of theoretical tools in the Earth's cryosphere

Planetary Environments

Interpretation of data from ongoing space missions

Planetary Missions

Definition of future space missions



  • 2011 | Ph.D. in Earth and Space Science, IPAG, Grenoble, France
  • 2007 | M.S. in Solid Earth Geophysics - UJF Grenoble, France
  • 2006 | M.S. in Space Technologies, UPS Toulouse, France
  • 2005 | B.D. in Physics, UVSQ Versailles & UJF Grenoble, France
  • 2001 | A.D. in Mechanical Engineering, IUT Angoulême, France

Professional Experience

  • 2015-.. | Research Associate, UTIG, Austin Tx, USA
    • Propagation/Inversion of radar data in planetary environments (Earth, Mars, Titan, Europa, Ganymede, Callisto).
  • 2011-15 | Postdoctoral Fellow, UTIG, Austin Tx, USA
    • Development of a novel radar technique for planetary landing site reconnaissance and surface properties characterization
    • Key personal for two radar-sounders definition teams for the exploration of Europa, Jupiter's moon
    • Polar aerogeophysical campaigns in the Antarctic and Arctic)
  • 2007-10 | Ph.D., IPAG, Grenoble, France
    • Title: “Surface and subsurface of Mars by radar sounding: MRO/SHARAD analysis”
    • Ice purity characterization of the martian north polar cap
    • Formation hypothesis of Martian ice scarps unknown on Earth
    • Global mapping of the Mars radar surface reflectivity
  • 2008-09 | Database Creation, European Space Agency
    • Co-creator of the Mars active ionoshperic sounder dataset (MARSIS)
    • Data delivery to PDS (NASA)
    • Writing of the associated technical documentation
  • 2007 (6 m.) | Master Thesis, IPAG, Grenoble, France
    • Data processing of penetrating radar data from the SHARAD instrument, NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter
  • 2006 (6 m.) | Master Thesis, IRF, Kiruna, Sweden
    • Plasma clouds detection and study of Kelvin-Helmholtz instabilities at the martian ionopause
    • Usage of the ASPERA-3 spectro-analyser data set (MarsExpress)
  • 2005 (2 m.) | Internship, ISTerre, Grenoble, France
    • Crustal thickness derivation beneath the western Alps by application of the receiver-function method
    • Field operations on a seismologic station network
  • 2004 (1 m.) | Internship, SA, Verrières-le-Buisson, France
    • Assistance in the development of an extrasolar planet detection method
  • 2003 (9 m.) | Mechanical Designer, 2MI Group, Montluçon, France
    • Isostatic means and funding equipments design for the production of car engines (PSA, Opel)

Field Work

  • 2014 (1 m.). Airborne geophysical data acquisition in Greenland (Qaanaaq) & Canadian Arctic..
  • 2012 (2 m.). Airborne geophysical data acquisition in Antarctica (McMurdo, Casey)..
  • 2012 (1 m.). Airborne geophysical data acquisition in Greenland (Qaanaaq).
  • 2011 (2 m.). Airborne geophysical data acquisition in Antarctica (McMurdo, Casey, Dumont D'Urville, Dome C).

Professional Service

International Science Team Member.

  • 2016-2019. NASA's East Antarctic Grounding Line Experiment (EAGLE) (Co-Investigator).
  • 2015-2018. NASA's Joint radar and model investigations of Greenland basal water conditions (Co-Investigator).
  • 2015-2030. NASA's Radar for Europa Assessment and Sounding: Ocean to Near-Surface (REASON) (Co-Investigator).
  • 2015-2017. NASA's Cassini RADAR (Associate Team Member).
  • 2013-2030. ESA's Radar for Icy Moon Exploration (RIME) (Collaborator).


  • 2015-now Coordinator of the Reflectometry Measurement Implementation Group for the REASON instrument.
  • 2015-now Coordinator of the Plasma Measurement Implementation Group for the REASON instrument.
  • 2015-now Co-conveneer at the “Radar Investigations of Planetary Surfaces and Subsurfaces” session of the AGU Fall Meeting.

Reviewer. (Metrics available on Publons)

  • Advances in Space Research (2), Annals of Glaciology (1), Earth and Planetary Science Letters (2), Geophysical Research Letters (2), Journal of the Geological Society of London (1), Journal of Geophysical Research (2), IEEE Geoscience and Remote Sensing Letters (1), IEEE Transactions on Geoscience and Remote Sensing (6), Icarus (1), NASA "Maturation of Instruments for Solar System Exploration" Program (1), NASA PDS Geoscience Node (1), Nature (2), Remote Sensing (1), Radio Science (4), The Cryosphere (2), University of Missouri Research Board Grant (2).

University Committees.

  • 2018. Eric Ivan Petersen, Ph.D. Committee
  • 2017. Dan Lalich, Ph.D. Committee
  • 2017. Wei Wei, Examining Committee
  • 2017. Laura Lindzey, Examining Committee
  • 2017. UTIG Technical Staff Evaluation Committee.
  • 2016. UTIG Postdoctoral Fellowship Committee.

Supervision and Mentoring

  • Kristian Chan (GRA, 2017-)
  • Kirk Scanlan (Post-Doc, 2018-)
  • Gregor Steinbrugge (Post-Doc, 2018-)
  • Anja Rutishauser (GRA, 2014-)
  • Erika Lopez Garcia (URA, 2013-16)
  • Arami Rosales (URA, 2012-14)
  • Cassidy Cura (High School, 2012-13)
  • Blake Karwoski (High School, 2012-13)
  • Elena Arnold (High School, 2012-13)
  • Adrien Tavernier (URA, 2010)
  • Solmaz Adéli (URA, 2010)
  • Aurélien Stolzenbach (URA, 2009-10)
  • Anthony Servain (URA, 2008)


  • 2016-2018. Joint Radar and Model Investigations of Greenland Basal Water Conditions (NASA, PI: Schroeder, co-I: Grima, $701K).
  • 2016-2018. East Antarctic Grounding Line Experiment (EAGLE) (National science Foundation, PI: Young, co-I: Grima, $724K).
  • 2015-2030. Radar for Europa Assessment and Sounding: Ocean to Near-surface (REASON) (NASA, PI: Blankenship, co-I: Grima, ~$150M).
    1. Radar Statistical Reconnaissance of the Martian surface in support of the InSight landing site selection (South West Research Institute, PI: Grima, $15K)
  • 2014-2017. Surface Statistical Reconnaissance on Titan: Preliminary Assessments with the Cassini Radar (Jet Propulsion Laboratory Award, PI: Blankenship, co-I: Grima, $100K).
  • 2013-2014. Ice Penetrating Radar for Planetary Exploration (ICEE) (Jet Propulsion Laboratory, co-I: Grima, $500K).
    1. Radar Surface Statistical Reconnaissance of Mars for Landing Site and Geological Characterization of Planetary Bodies (Jackson School of Geosciences Seed Grant, PI: Young, co-I: Grima, $15K).
  • 2011-2014. Postdoctoral Fellowship (Institute for Geophysics at the University of Texas at Austin, $180K).


    1. UTIG Outstanding Young researcher Award.
    1. Recognition from the European Space Agency for "outstanding contribution to the Mars Express mission".
    1. Nomination at the Thesis Award of the Université de Grenoble (22 nominees out of ~900 thesis).


Metrics available on Google Scholar (* Mentored Students/Postdocs)

Refereed Publications

  1. Grima C., I. Koch, J. S. Greenbaum, K. M. Soderlund, D. D. Blankenship, D. A. Young, D. M. Schroeder, S. Fitzsimons, Surface and Basal Boundary Conditions at the Southern McMurdo and Ross Ice Shelves, Antarctica, submitted to Journal of Glaciology.
  2. A. Rutishauser\(^*\), D.D. Blankenship, M. Sharp, M. L. Skidmore, J. S. Greenbaum, C. Grima, D. M. Schroeder, J. A. Dowdeswel and D. A. Young (2018). Discovery of a hypersaline subglacial lake complex beneath Devon Ice Cap, Canadian Arctic_. Science Advances 4(4), eaar4353, doi:10.1126/sciadv.aar4353
  3. G. Steinbrugge\(^*\), D.M. Schroeder, M.S. Haynes, H. Hussmann, C. Grima, D.D. Blankenship. Assessing the potential for measuring Europa’s tidal Love number h2 using radar sounder and topographic imager data, Earth and Planetary Science Letters, Volume 482, 334-341. doi:10.1016/j.epsl.2017.11.028
  4. Castelletti D., D. M. Schroeder, S. Hensley, C. Grima, G. Ng, D. Young, Y. Gim, L. Bruzzone, A. Moussessian and D. D. Blankenship (2017). An Interferometric Approach to Cross-Track Clutter Detection in Two Channel VHF Radar Sounders, IEEE Transactions on Geoscience and Remote Sensing, in press
  5. Grima C., M. Mastrogiuseppe, A. G. Hayes, S. D. Wall, R. D. Lorenz, J. D. Gardner, B. Stiles, C. Elachi (2017) Surface Roughness of Titan’s Hydrocarbon Seas, Earth and Planetary Science Letters 474, 20-24, doi:10.1016/j.epsl.2017.06.007.
  6. Rutishauser A.\(^*\), C. Grima, M. Sharp, D. Blankenship, D. Young, F. Cawkwell, J. Dowdeswell (2016). Characterizing near-surface firn using the scattered signal component of the glacier surface return from airborne radio-echo sounding, Geophysical Research Letters, doi:10.1002/2016GL071230.
  7. Golombek M., D. Kipp, N. Warner, I. J. Daubar, R. Fergason, R. Kirk, R. Beyer, A. Huertas, S. Piqueux, N. E. Putzig, B. A. Campbell, G. A. Morgan, C. Charalambous, W. T. Pike, K. Gwinner, F. Calef, D. Kass, M. Mischna, J. Ashley, C. Bloom, N. Wigton, T. Hare, C. Schwartz, H. Gengl, L. Redmond, J. Sweeney, C. Grima, I. B. Smith, E. Sklyanskiy, M. Lisano, J. Benardino, S. Smrekar, P. Lognonné, W. B. Banerdt (2016). Selection of the InSight Landing Site, Space Science Reviews, doi:10.1007/s11214-016-0321-9.
  8. Putzig N. E., G. A. Morgan, B. A. Campbell, C. Grima, I. B. Smith, R. J. Phillips, M. P. Golombek (2016). Radar derived Properties of the InSight Landing Site in Western Elysium Planitia on Mars, Space Science Reviews, doi:10.1007/s11214-016-0322-8.
  9. Schroeder D., B. Campbell, L. Bruzzone, A. Romero-Wolf, D. Blankenship, C. Grima, W. Kofman, L. Carrer (2016). Assessing the potential for passive radio sounding of Europa and Ganymede with RIME and REASON, Planetary ans Space Science, in press, doi:10.1016/j.pss.2016.10.007.
  10. Poggiali V., M. Mastrogiuseppe, A. Hayes, R. Seu, S. Birch, R. Lorenz, C. Grima , J. Kargel, J. Hofgartner (2016), Liquid Filled Canyons on Titan, Geophysical Research Letters, doi:10.1002/2016GL069679.
  11. Grima C., J. S. Greenbaum, E. Lopez Garcia\(^*\), K. M. Soderlund, A. Rosales\(^*\), D. D. Blankenship, D. A. Young (2016), Radar detection of the brine extent at McMurdo Ice Shelf, Antarctica, and its control by snow accumulation, Geophysical Research Letters, doi:10.1002/2016GL069524
  12. Vance T., J. Roberts, A. Moy, M. Curran, C. Tozer, A. Gallant, N. Abram, T. van ommen, D. Young, C. Grima, D. Blankenship, M. Siegert (2016), Optimal site selection for a high resolution ice core. Clim. Past 12, 595-610.
  13. Grima C., D. D. Blankenship, D. M. Schroeder. (2015) Radar Signal Propagation Through the Ionosphere of Europa. Planetary and Space Science 117, 421-428.
  14. Schroeder D. M., C. Grima, D. D. Blankenship. (2015) Evidence for Variable Grounding Zone Extent and Shear Margin Bed Conditions Across Thwaites Glacier, West Antarctica. Geophysics, vol.81, NO 1.
  15. Sánchez-Cano B., D.D. Morgan, O. Witasse, S.M. Radicella, M. Herraiz, R. Orosei, M. Cartacci, A. Cicchetti, R. Noschese, W. Kofman, C. Grima, J. Mouginot, D.A. Gurnett, M. Lester, P.-L. Blelly, H. Opgenoorth and G. Quinsac. (2015) Total Electron Content in the martian atmosphere: a critical assessment of the Mars Express MARSIS datasets, Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics,doi: 10.1002/2014JA020630.
  16. Grima, C., Blankenship, D. D., Young, D. A., and Schroeder, D. M. (2014) Surface slope control on firn density at Thwaites Glacier, West Antarctica: Results from airborne radar sounding. Geophysical Research Letters 41(19), 6787-6794.
  17. Grima, C., Schroeder, D. M., Blankenship, D. D., and Young, D. A. (2014) Planetary landing zone reconnaissance using ice penetrating radar data: concept validation in Antarctica. Planetary and Space Science 103, 191-204.
  18. Schroeder, D. M, Blankenship, D. D., Raney, K. R., Grima, C. (2014) Estimating subglacial water geometry using radar bed echo specularity: application to Thwaites Glacier, Antarctica. IEEE Geoscience and Remote Sensing Letter 12(3), 443-447.
  19. Grima, C. (2014). Comments on 'An inversion of Planetary Rough Surface Permittivity From Radar Sounder Observations'. IEEE Antenna and Wireless Propagation Letter, 13(1), pp. 1-2 .
  20. Lasue, J., Mangold, N., Hauber, E., Clifford, S., Feldman, W., Gasnault, O., Grima, C., Maurice S., Mousis O.. (2013). Quantitative assessments of the martian hydrosphere. Space Science Reviews, Volume 174, Issue 1-4, 155-212.
  21. Grima, C., Kofman, W., Herique, A., Orosei, R., and Seu, R. (2012). Quantitative analysis of Mars surface radar reflectivity at 20 MHz. Icarus, 220, 84-99.
  22. Grima, C., Costard, F., Kofman, W., Saint-Bézar, B., Servain, A., Rémy, F., Mouginot, J., et al. (2011). Large asymmetric polar scarps on Planum Australe, Mars: Characterization and evolution. Icarus, 212(1), 96-109.
  23. Mouginot, J., Pommerol, a., Kofman, W., Beck, P., Schmitt, B., Hérique, A., Grima, C., et al. (2010). The 3-5MHz global reflectivity map of Mars by MARSIS/Mars Express: Implications for the current inventory of subsurface H2O. Icarus, 210(2), 612-625.
  24. Pommerol, A., Kofman, W., Audouard, J., Grima, C., Beck, P., Mouginot, J., Hérique, A., et al. (2010). Detectability of subsurface interfaces in lunar maria by the LRS/SELENE sounding radar: Influence of mineralogical composition. Geophysical Research Letters, 37(3), 1-5.
  25. Grima, C., Kofman, W., Mouginot, J., Phillips, R. J., Hérique, A., Biccari, D., Seu, R., et al. (2009). North polar deposits of Mars: Extreme purity of the water ice. Geophysical Research Letters, 36(3), 2-5.
  26. Mouginot, J., Kofman, W., Safaeinili, A., Grima, C., Hérique, A., and Plaut, J. J. (2009). MARSIS surface reflectivity of the south residual cap of Mars. Icarus, 201(2), 454-459.
  27. Gunell, H., Amerstorfer, U. V, Nilsson, H., Grima, C., Koepke, M., Fränz, M., Winningham, J. D., et al. (2008). Shear driven waves in the induced magnetosphere of Mars. Plasma Physics and Controlled Fusion, 50(7), 074018.

Academic and Technical Reports

  1. Grima C. (2017). Europa Radio Noise Shadow, Jet Propulsion Laboratory Interoffice Memorandum, IOM-REASON-2017-001.
  2. Grima C. (2014). Europa Space Environment and Radar Operations, White paper for the "Ice Penetrating Radar team for the Instrument Concept for Europa Exploration" (ICEE) program (JPL/NASA).
  3. Schroeder D.M., Grima C., Blankenship D.D. (2012) Assessing the Utility of the Europe Clipper Radar Sounder to Identify Potential Landing Sites, White paper for the "Europa Science Definition Team", July 2012
  4. Grima C. (2011), Surface et subsurface de Mars par sondage radar : Analyse des données MRO/Sharad , Thèse de doctorat, Université de Grenoble.
  5. Grima C., Witasse O., and Orosei R. (2009). MEX-MARSIS subsurface (SS) mode: Total electron content (TEC) of the ionosphere level 5 derived data. Experimental to planetary archive interface control document (EAICD). European Space Agency.
  6. Grima, C., and Kofman, W. (2008). Ionospheric impact on MARSIS radar signal. ESA European Space Agency contract report No 21646/08/NL/NR, volume 1.
  7. Grima, C., and Kofman, W. (2008). Correcting the ionospheric impact on MARSIS radar signal. European Space Agency study contract report No 21646/08/NL/NR, volume 2.
  8. Grima, C., and Kofman, W. (2008). MARSIS derived enhanced ionospheric calibration data. European Space Agency study contract report No 21646/08/NL/NR, volume 3.








  • Grima C., Schroeder D. M., Blankenship D. D., Young D. A.. Planetary surface roughness derived from ice penetrating radar data: Method and concept validation in Antarctica. AGU Fall Meeting, San Francisco, California, USA. (2013) Grima C., Schroeder D. M., Blankenship D. D., Young D. A.. Firn variability derived from a statistical analysis of airborne ice penetrating radar over the Thwaites Glacier catchment, West Antarctica. IGS Int. Glacio. Soc. Symp. on Radioglaciology, Lawrence, Kansas, USA.
  • Grima C., Schroeder D. M., Blankenship D. D., Young D. A. Identifying Surface Characteristics with an Ice Penetrating Radar Sounder at Europa: Potential for Landing Site selection. Lun. and Planet. Sc. Congress, The Woodlands, Texas, USA.
  • Blankenship D. D., Schroeder D. M., Soderlund K. M., Grima C. Flyby sounding ofEurope\u2019s icy shell: radar investigations, analogs, and instruments for the Europe Clipper Mission. IGS Int. Glacio. Soc. Symp. on Radioglaciology, Lawrence, Kansas, USA.
  • Arnold E., Curra C., Karowski B., Schroeder D. M., Grima C., Young D. A., Blankenship D. D. How to enhance Europa surface characterization with an ice penetrating radar? Comparative study in Antarctica. AGU Fall meeting, San Francisco.


  • Palmer S. J., Dowdeswell J. A., Christoffersen P., Young D. A., Blankenship D. D., Stiegert M. J., Bamber, J. L., Greenbaum J. S., Ng G., Grima C. Airborne geophysical investigation of basal conditions at flow transitions of 16 Greenland Ice Sheet outlet glaciers. AGU meeting, San Francisco, USA.
  • [Invited] Lecture at IPAG, "Exploiter la nature statistique de l'écho radar pour la caractérisation des surfaces planétaires", France.
  • [Invited] Lecture at LEGOS, "Exploiter la nature statistique de l'écho radar pour la caractérisation des surfaces planétaires", France.


  • Kofman W., Grima C., Hérique A., Seu R., Radar reflectivity of the surface of Mars at 20 MHz from SHARAD: Cartography and quantitative analysis. AGU meeting, San Francisco, USA.


  • Grima C., Kofman W. Hérique A., Seu R., Physical parameters of the near-surface of mars derived from sharad radar reflectivity: statistical approach. 38th COSPAR scientific assembly, Bremen, Germany.


  • Pommerol A., Mouginot J., Kofman W., Safaeinili A., Plaut J.J., Grima C., Herique A., and Beck P. Martian surface radar reflectivity from MARSIS soundings, AGU meeting, San Francisco, USA.
  • Pommerol A., Kofman W., Audouard J., Kobayashi T., Grima C., Mouginot J., Beck P., and Ono T., Characterization and mapping of the Lunar subsurface by the LRS/SELENE radar sounder : methods and preliminary results, Europ. Planet. Sci. Congress, Potsdam, Germany.
  • Kofman W., Mouginot J., Beck P., Pommerol A., Schmitt B., Grima C., Herique A., Safaeinili A., and Plaut J.J., Mars surface materials from MARSIS radar reflectivity, AGU meeting, San Francisco, USA.
  • Grima C., Kofman W., Hérique A., Beck P., and Seu R., Mapping the radar reflectivity of the Martian surface with the SHAllow RADar (SHARAD), Europ. Planet. Sci. Congress, Potsdam, Germany.
  • Grima C., Costard F., Kofman W., Clifford S.M., Mouginot J., Servain A., Herique A., and Seu R., Studying the geomorphology of unusual glacial scarps on Mars, using a multi-instrumental approach, Journées de la SF2A, Besançon, France.
  • Grima C., Costard F., Kofman W., Clifford S.M., Mouginot J., Servain A., Herique A., and Seu R. Large and assymetric polar scarps in Planum, Mars : Characterization and evolution. AGU meeting, San Francisco, USA.


  • Mouginot J., Kofman W., Safaeinili A., Grima C., Hérique A., Plaut J., and Picardi G. Thickness of south residual cap of Mars by MARSIS. COSPAR scientific assembly, Montreal, Canada.
  • Mouginot J., Kofman W., Grima C., Safaeinili A., and Plaut J. Martian Surface Reflectivity seen by MARSIS. AGU meeting, San Francisco, USA.
  • Kofman W., Grima C., Mouginot J., Hérique A., Seu R., Bicarri D., and Orosei R. 3D modeling of south polar layered deposits on Mars with SHARAD radar data. Europ. Planet. Sci. Congress, Potsdam, Germany.
  • Grima C., Kofman W., Mouginot J., Servain A., Beck P., Pommerol A., Hérique A., and Seu R. Unusual ice scarps on Mars : an origin highlighted by radar sounding, elevation data, and visible imagery. Int. Symp. on Radioglacio. and its App., Madrid, Spain.
  • Grima C., Kofman W., Mouginot J., Servain A., Beck P., Pommerol A., Hérique A., and Seu R. Surface and subsurface study of unusual ice scarps, southern polar cap of Mars. 37th COSPAR scientific assembly, Montreal, Canada.


  • Kofman W., Grima C., Mouginot J., Herique A., Seu R., Biccari D., Orosei R. 3D Modeling of South Poar Layered Deposits on Mars with SHARAD radar data. EuroPlanet Science Congress, Berlin, Germany, Vol.2., EPSC2007-A-00554, 2007.


  • Gunell H., H. Nilsson, U. V. Amerstorfer, E. Carlsson, C. Grima, and the Aspera-3 Team. Plasma instabilities near Mars. 36th COSPAR Scientific Assembly, Beijing, China. #2338