Benjamin Weiss

Chair, Program in Planetary Science
Robert R. Shrock Professor of Earth and Planetary Sciences

Contact Info:

Office Phone






Brenda Carbone 617.253.3993

Specialist in magnetometry, seeking to understand the origins and history of the Earth, terrestrial planets, and small solar system bodies.

Research Interests

I study the formation and evolution of planetary bodies through laboratory analysis, spacecraft observations, and fieldwork. In the MIT Planetary Magnetism Laboratory, we develop high sensitivity, high resolution techniques to image the magnetic fields embedded in rock samples collected from meteorites, the lunar surface, and sites around the Earth. Studying these magnetic signatures can help us answer questions about the conditions of the early solar system, past climates on Earth and Mars, and factors that promote habitability. Currently, I’m the Deputy Principal Investigator on the NASA Psyche mission and a Co-Investigator on both the Mars 2020 rover and Europa Clipper missions.

Topics I Investigate

Biographic Sketch

Ben Weiss joined the EAPS faculty in 2004 and is the current Chair of the Program in Planetary Science. After studying physics at Amherst College, he went on to study planetary science and geology at the California Institute of Technology, earning a master’s in 2001 and PhD in 2003. Ben’s doctoral dissertation on Martian meteorite ALH 84001 revealed records of the ancient Martian climate and magnetic field, and provided evidence some meteorites could transfer materials from Mars to Earth without heat-sterilization. He is known for key insights into the history of our solar system, including discoveries about the early nebular magnetic field, the Moon’s long-lived core dynamo, and asteroids that generated core dynamos in the past. In addition to leadership roles on the active NASA Psyche, Mars 2020, and Europa Clipper missions, Ben has also been part of science teams on the SpaceIL Beresheet, JAXA Hayabusa 2, and ESA Rosetta missions.

Key Awards & Honors

  • 2014 • Visiting Miller Professor Award, UC Berkeley
  • 2012 • Asteroid (8069) Benweiss named, International Astronomical Union
  • 2009 • James B. Macelwane Medal, American Geophysical Union
  • 2009 • Fellow, American Geophysical Union

Key Publications

  • Weiss, B. P., J. M. G. Merayo, J. B. *Ream, R. *Oran, P. Brauer, C. J. Cochrane, K. Cloutier, L. T. Elkins-Tanton, J. L. Jørgensen, C. *Maurel, R. S. Park, C. A. Polanskey, M. de Soria Santacruz-Pich, C. A. Raymond, C. T. Russell, D. Wenkert, M. A. Wieczorek, M. T. Zuber (2022) The Psyche Magnetometry Investigation, Space Science Reviews, 219, 22.

  • Taylor, R. J., S. M. Reddy, D. W. Saxey, W. D. A. Rickard, F. Tang, C. S. *Borlina, R. R. Fu, B. P. *Weiss, P. Bagot, H. M. Williams, R. J. Harrison (2023) Direct age constraints on the magnetism of Jack Hills zircon, Science Advances, 9, eadd151.

  • Castillo-Rogez, J., B. *Weiss, C. Beddingfield, J. *Biersteker, R. Cartwright, A. *Goode, M. Melwani Daswami, M. Neveu (2023) Compositions and interior structures of the large moons of Uranus and implications for future spacecraft observations, Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets, 128, e2022JE007432.