Science GoH – Dr. Jordan Steckloff

Dr. Jordan Steckloff – he/him

Dr. Jordan Steckloff is a planetary scientist, currently employed at the Planetary Science Institute in Tucson, Arizona. Jordan is interested in the effects of phase changes (e.g., freezing, melting, subliming, condensing) on planetary bodies, and how such phase changes drive changes in the shape, structure, atmospheres, climate, and orbits of planetary bodies. To this end, he has a broad portfolio of current research projects all over the Solar System, studying: how comet impacts populate polar craters on Mercury and the Moon with water ice; how avalanches and ice sublimation changes the surface topography, shapes, spin periods, and orbits or comet nuclei; how chemical interactions within the lakes of Saturn’s largest moon (Titan) affect lake dynamics and change Titan’s climate; exploring which cryogenic chemical mixtures can remain liquid in the outer solar system; and even how the vaporizing surfaces of small exoplanets can trigger orbital migration, and (often) the destruction of the exoplanet. 

Jordan grew up in Farmington Hills, Michigan, and attended the University of Michigan, where he earned a B.S. Physics, Economics, and German in 2009. He later attended Purdue University, where he earned an M.S in Physics in 2012, and a PhD in Applied Physics (planetary science) in 2015. Later, he was a postdoctoral researcher at MIT, and then a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Texas at Austin. In honor of his scientific contributions, asteroid (37019) Jordansteckloff was recently named after him.

In addition to research, Jordan enjoys homesteading, where he and his wife grow vegetables and fruits, raise chickens, keep bees, while raising their young infant. He enjoys backpacking and canoe camping, but always brings his astronomy binoculars along. In the winter, he enjoys skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, and making maple syrup.