Daly, Michael

Michael Daly

Associate Professor
York Research Chair, Tier 2
Ph.D. (McMaster)

Department(s): Earth and Space Science and Engineering
Centre for Research in Earth and Space Science (CRESS)

Office: 428 Petrie Science & Engineering Building (PSE)
Phone: (416)736-2100 ext. 22066

Lab: 432 Petrie Science & Engineering Building (PSE)

Research Fields
Planetary Physics

Graduate Program Appointment
Full Member: Eligible to supervise M.Sc. or Ph.D.

Research Types

Research specialization
Scientific instrumentation and techniques for missions to planets, moons and asteroids.

I am interested in optical instrumentation, including LiDAR, for planetary mapping and imaging. For example, I led the development of the meteorology instruments aboard the Phoenix lander on Mars, Canada’s first instruments on another planet. Most recently, I have been the lead scientist for the Laser Altimeter (OLA) for the Origins Spectral Interpretation Resource Identification Security Regolith Explorer (OSIRIS-REx). OSIRIS-REx is now on its way to Asteroid 1999RQ36 (Bennu), where it will collect samples and return them to Earth. Besides its value to identifying a sampling site, the OLA data will provide us with new insights into the structure and composition of the surface of one of the most primitive bodies in the solar system. As well, we will be using the data to calibrate observations of asteroids that are made using telescopes on Earth. Separately, I am experimenting with Raman spectroscopy as a tool for measuring constituents of planetary atmospheres. One objective is to develop a rover-based instrument to localize methane, a gas which is a signature of biological activity.