Faculty Directory

Hartzell, Christine M.

Hartzell, Christine M.

Associate Professor
Aerospace Engineering
3178 Glenn L. Martin Hall, Building 088



  • Ph.D. Aerospace Engineering Sciences, University of Colorado at Boulder, 2012
  • B.S. Aerospace Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology, 2008





Christine Hartzell received her Ph.D. in Aerospace Engineering Sciences from the University of Colorado at Boulder in 2012. Her thesis topic was electrostatic dust motion near the surface of asteroids and the Moon. After completing her Ph.D., she was a Postdoctoral Fellow with the Keck Institute for Space Studies at the California Institute of Technology, where she studied granular media. She received her B.S. in Aerospace Engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology in 2008. Her research focuses on dust motion on airless bodies for the purpose of understanding the evolution of these bodies and improving the design of spacecraft to explore them.




  • NASA Planetary Science Division Early Career Award
  • Asteroid 9319 named "Hartzell" in recognition of contributions to asteroid science
  • Keck Institute for Space Studies Postdoctoral Fellowship
  • NASA Earth and Space Science Fellowship
  • Amelia Earhart Fellowship




  • American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA)
  • American Astronautical Society (AAS) Division for Planetary Science (DPS)
  • American Geophysical Union (AGU)


  • Planetary science
  • Orbital mechanics
  • Plasma physics
  • Granular mechanics
  • Spacecraft design

  • ENAE 404: Space Flight Dynamics
  • ENAE 601: Astrodynamics


  • A. Truitt and C. Hartzell, “3D Kadomtsev-Petviashvili Damped Forced Ion Acoustic Solitary Waves from Orbital Debris”, J. of Spacecraft and Rockets, 2020, https://doi.org/10.2514/1.A34805.
  • D.S. Lauretta, C.W. Hergenrother, C.M. Hartzell (author #27 of 58) et al. “Episodes of Particle Ejection from the Surface of the Active Asteroid (101955) Bennu”, Science. 2019. Vol 366, eaay3544. https://doi.org/10.1126/science.aay3544
  • D. Carter and C. Hartzell “Effect of Mixture Properties on Size-Dependent Charging of Same-Material Dielectric Grains”, J. Electrostatics. 2020. Vol 107, 103475, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.elstat.2020.103475.
  • C.M. Hartzell, “Dynamics of 2D Electrostatic Dust Levitation at Asteroids”, Icarus. 2019. Vol 333, pp. 234-242. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.icarus.2019.05.013
  • Hartzell, X. Wang, D. Scheeres, M. Horanyi. “Experimental Demonstration of the Role of Cohesion in Electrostatic Dust Lofting” Geophysical Research Letters. 2013. Vol 40, doi: 10.1002/grl.50230.
  • Hartzell, D. Scheeres. “Dynamics of Levitating Dust Particles Near Asteroids and the Moon” Journal of Geophysical Research. 2013. Vol 118, pp 116-125.



Celebrating Women in Aerospace Engineering: Christine Hartzell

Associate professor researches granular mechanics, has asteroid named for her.

A “Lint Roller” for Moon Dust

UMD researchers are creating a portable device that astronauts can use to get rid of clingy moon dust.

Search Open for Full-Time Faculty Position in Space Exploration

Seeking candidates working at the boundaries of space exploration.

Resistant Regolith

UMD’s Christine Hartzell explains why the crumbly stuff on the Moon’s surface is so hard to get rid of.

Hartzell Selected for MMX Science Team

UMD professor will analyze data obtained from the first-ever rover to be deployed on a Martian moon.

UMD Researchers Help Measure DART’s Success

Findings suggest asteroids can be deflected successfully through kinetic impact.

UMD Researchers: DART Probe an Initial Step in Planetary Defense

Mission tests feasibility of asteroid redirection, provides first up-close glimpse of binary system.

UMD Researcher Helps Unlock Secrets of Bennu

Yun Zhang’s study sheds new light on the asteroid's interior and its structural evolution.

Senior Colby Merrill Wins SSPI Conference Award

SSPI recognized Merrill’s work with Most Innovative and Original Design Award

South Pole Defense

Engineering student Thomas Leps completes Ph.D. while working as satcom engineer at South Pole.

Hartzell Mission Scientist for NASA SIMPLEx Janus Mission

Mission will send twin small satellites on deep space journey to study two binary asteroids.

DesJardin Receives DOE Computational Science Graduate Fellowship

Ph.D. candidate Ian DesJardin one of 26 first-year DOE CSGF fellows for 2020.

Unraveling the Mysteries of Asteroids

Assistant Professor Christine Hartzell is a member of NASA’s OSIRIS-REx Team exploring Asteroid Bennu.

Dust in Space

Microgravity mysteries prompt creative thinking for spacecraft design.

UMD Engineer Selected for Next Phase of Small Spacecraft Mission

Christine Hartzell is the mission scientist on one of three finalist missions selected by NASA for future small satellites.

Students Shine at AIAA Region 1 Student Conference

Twelve students won awards for their papers, and seven were from UMD.

NASA Selects Hartzell for Mission to Asteroid Bennu

She is one of 13 participating scientists selected by NASA for its first asteroid sample return mission.

Four Aerospace Students Receive Society of Satellite Professionals International Scholarships

Frizzell, Kaptui Sipowa, McCullum and Shannon receive awards to support research efforts.

Two UMD Faculty Receive NASA Early Stage Innovations Awards

Aerospace Engineering professors Hartzell and Sedwick receive NASA awards to foster high priority space technology.

Carter and DeCicco Receive NASA Space Technology Research Fellowships

Graduate students Dylan Carter and Anthony DeCicco awarded NASA Space Technology Research Fellowships.

Hartzell Receives Astronomical Honor

Main belt asteroid named after Aerospace Engineering's Assistant Professor Christine Hartzell.