Dr. David Minton

Planetary Systems and Surfaces


Minton family eclipse 2017 makanda il.jpg

Dr. David Minton
Assistant Professor

Dr. Minton earned his B.S. degree in Aerospace Engineering from North Carolina State University in 2003. He briefly worked on hypersonic vehicle designs at the University of Maryland and the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory from 2003-2005, but discovered that his real passion lies in Planetary Sciences.

He attended The University of Arizona's Lunar and Planetary Laboratory from 2005-2009. There, under the tutelage of Prof. Renu Malhotra, he learned about the beauty of orbital mechanics and how we can use the dynamics of small body populations to infer the history of the early solar system. He earned his Ph.D. in 2009, and then worked as a postdoctoral researcher at the Southwest Research Institute in Boulder, CO. There he worked with Hal Levison and Bill Bottke to explore the formation and early evolution of the solar system.

While in Boulder, Dr. Minton and his wife Juliet welcomed their son Leo into the world. Dr. Minton joined the Purdue University Department of Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences in 2011. In 2013 the Minton family grew again with the birth of their daughter, Emilia. Dr. Minton and his research group work on a variety of projects involving the history of the early solar system, the formation of satellites, the cratering history of airless bodies, and the physical and dynamical evolution of asteroids and comets. When not on Purdue's campus, Dr. Minton enjoys spending time with his family.

The photo was taken during the solar eclipse of 2017 close to the center of totality, Giant City State Park in Makanda, IL.

Email: daminton@purdue.edu


Jennifer Pouplin
Ph.D. Student - AAE Department

Jennifer Pouplin was born near Orleans, in France, and has traveled a lot ever since. After a bachelor in Engineering Sciences from l’Ecole des Mines de Nancy, she moved to corn field Indiana to study Aerospace Engineering at Purdue for her Masters, and decided to stay for a Ph.D. with a focus in Planetary Sciences. Jennifer enjoys training as a volunteer firefighter at Wabash Township and listening to country music


Carlisle Wishard
Ph.D. Student - EAPS Department

Carlisle Wishard grew up in northern Virginia and discovered her love of science during various childhood visits to the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum. She got her Bachelor of Science in Astrophysics from the University of Alabama in 2017. She enjoys travelling, studying martial arts, watching baking shows, and playing with her pet rabbit. She joined the group in the Fall of 2017.


Ya-Huei Huang
Ph.D. Student - EAPS Department

Ya-Huei Huang (黃雅惠) comes from the south of Taiwan. She is gets inspired by a variety of things such as black holes, comic books, college life, Grunge, and now impact cratering science. She earned a Bachelor of Science in Physics in the well-known pineapple farm university in Taiwan, National Chung-Cheng University, and knows how to play badminton well. Her first research experience was simulating the dynamic evolution of the Vesta asteroid family with Dr. Ing-Guey Jiang as part of her master degree thesis in Physics at National Tsing-Hua University. Before coming to U.S., she was doing molecular dynamics of membrane proteins with Dr. Chi-Ming Chen in National Taiwan Normal University as research assistant. Currently she focuses on impact craters and is developing a model that tracks impact-generated material transport on the Moon. She enjoys learning geophysics, reading Apollo sample papers, and living in the corn fields of Indiana!


Andrew Hesselbrock
Ph.D. Student - Department of Physics and Astronomy

Andy Hesselbrock grew up in a rural area in southwest Ohio. The dark skies motivated a strong interest in astronomy and astrophysics, spurring him to purchase a few amateur telescopes. He attended Miami University to earn a Bachelor of Science in Physics. Staying at Miami, he received his Masters in Physics while studying the rotational dynamics of Nereid, a small moon of Neptune. He then enrolled at Purdue to earn his PhD in Physics. With Dr. Minton he has studied the origin of the Martian satellites by creating a computer simulation to model the formation of satellites from debris disks. In addition to research, he has also taught astronomy labs and participated in numerous outreach events to interact with children of all ages.

While not pondering the mysteries of the universe, he spends his free time rock climbing, backpacking, cycling, and learning to play “unique” musical instruments.


Kevin Graves
Ph.D. Student - EAPS Department

Kevin Graves is a graduate student in the EAPS department at Purdue. His research currently focuses on physical mechanisms that cause asteroids to alter their surface spectrum. He hopes to help explain why certain asteroids look similar to ordinary chondritic meteorites, and why others have become weathered in the space environment. He has a passion for problem solving, data analysis, and coding. Kevin grew up in Missouri and earned his B.S. in Physics in 2013 from Truman State University. His and his wife Alex bought their first house in 2015 and spend their free time taking care of their needy “labrashnoodle” (lab-schnauzer-poodle mix) dog, playing golf, and hosting game nights.


Jacob Elliott
M.S. Student - Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics

Jake Elliott was raised in Norfolk, VA, moving to Indianapolis, IN at the beginning of high school. After spending a year at Indiana University for Nursing, he transferred to Purdue University to study Atmospheric Sciences, where he would later pick up Planetary Sciences. His undergraduate research focused on explaining the length of lunar crater rays. After graduating, he chose to stay at Purdue for his Master’s in Aeronautics and Astronautics. He currently works with Dr. David Minton and Dr. David Spencer to explain the formation of the Martian moons and propose a CubeSat mission to investigate.

Jake enjoys camping, weightlifting, and going to concerts.


Toshi Hirabayashi
Former Postdoctoral Researcher - EAPS Department

Toshi is a former postdoctoral associate of the Earth, Planetary, and Planetary Sciences, at Purdue University. While he was a member of the group he worked with Dr. David Minton and Dr. Jay Melosh on modeling the evolution of crater-generated porosity in the lunar crust, using a crater terrain evolution model in conjunction with constraints from GRAIL gravity data. He is now an assistant professor in Department of Aerospace Engineering at Auburn University and a director of Auburn’s Space Technology Application Research (STAR) lab. He explores challenging problems in space, applying the developed technologies and knowledge to space missions, and works to expand the possibilities of our future activities in space. Personal website.