Dr. Jack Holt employs geophysical techniques to study ice-covered regions of Earth and Mars. He has led or co-led seven field expeditions to Antarctica since 1998 to map the ice and features buried beneath the ice. Holt is also a Co-Investigator on the SHARAD instrument team of NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. In this role he and his students have been selecting new data acquisition targets and developing new techniques to analyze the data, leading to many new discoveries regarding ice on Mars.
In Antarctica, Holt is using a modernized, turbine-powered DC-3 aircraft outfitted with ice-penetrating radars, laser altimeters, airborne gravimeter and magnetometers to study internal properties of the ice sheet, characterize sub-ice geology and to develop radar analysis techniques for studying Mars. This work contributes to the effort to map and understand water (in all forms) on Mars, the highest priority for NASA and ESA missions. A current project is to deploy radar at multiple frequencies (60 MHz and 3 MHz, respectively) to acquire data over Antarctic targets including ice cores sites to correlate internal radar layering with ice dielectric properties. This should help us better understand radar data from MARS and plan for future missions. Related to these activities, Dr. Holt is pursuing the use of radar sounding for hydrology in temperate climates.
And not to leave anything out, Holt is the Director of the Paleomagnetism Laboratory of the University of Texas and has recently overseen a complete upgrade of the sample handling, demagnetization and data acquisition/analysis systems in the lab.