Targets of Interest: Asteroids, Ceres, Charon, Comets, Deimos, Dwarf planets, Interplanetary Dust, Mars, Mercury, Moon, Phobos, Pluto, Small satellites, Vesta

Disciplines/Techniques: Ground-based observing, Photometry, Radiometry, Remote sensing, Space-based observing

Missions: Dawn, HST, IRAS, ISO (ESA), MSX, NEOWISE, Spitzer

Mission Roles: Data archive, Mission Co-Investigator, Mission science team, Science operations

Facilities: ALMA, IRTF, Kitt Peak Observatory, MMT, SMT, Pine Mountain Observatory

Mark Sykes' research focus is interplanetary dust, asteroids, comets and other small bodies in the solar system. He discovered comet dust trails, and numerous asteroid dust bands from recent collisions of small asteroids. He has a long-term interest in the use of advanced propulsion technology. In the 1990s, working with NASA Glenn engineers, he designed numerous planetary missions proposed to the Discovery program using solar electric propulsion including multiple asteroid rendezvous and a comet rendezvous mission, culminating in Dawn. He designed and was PI of a Pluto orbiter mission proposal using nuclear electric propulsion and recently designed a mission to interstellar object 'Oumuamua using plasma propulsion. He has been involved in insitu space resource utilization since the 1980s. He proposed a self-sustainable space transportation system with DOE engineers in the 1990s based on NEO ISRU and nuclear thermal propulsion, and continues to advocate ISRU in human exploration.

The Tempel 2 dust trail, observed by the Infrared Astronomical Satellite extends ~20° through an asteroid dust band and interstellar dust clouds in the infrared sky.