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David C. Duncan Professor in the Physical Sciences, Director, Cornell Center for Astrophysics and Planetary Science
Lunine is interested in how planets form and evolve, what processes maintain and establish habitability, and what kinds of exotic environments (methane lakes, etc.) might host a kind of chemistry sophisticated enough to be called "life". He pursues these interests through theoretical modeling and participation in spacecraft missions. He works with the radar and other instruments on Cassini, continues to work on mass spectrometer data from Huygens, and is co-investigator on the Juno mission launched in 2011 to Jupiter. He is on the science team for the James Webb Space Telescope, focusing on characterization of extrasolar planets and Kuiper Belt objects. Lunine is currently PI for a JPL-led study to send a probe into Saturn's atmosphere, and has contributed to mission concept studies for space-based astrometry and microlensing missions. Lunine is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and has participated in or chaired a number of advisory and strategic planning committees for the Academy and for NASA.
- Astronomy and Space Sciences
- Cornell Center for Astrophysics and Planetary Science
Planetary system formation, evolution of volatile-rich worlds.
A rationale for exploring the ocean worlds of the solar system:
- Lunine, J.I. 2017. Ocean worlds exploration. Acta Astronautica 131, 123-130.
Recent Juno-related papers:
- Bolton, S.J., Lunine, J.I., Stevenson, D., Connerney, J.E.P., Levin, S., Owen, T.C., Bagenal, F., Gautier, D., Ingersoll, A.P., Orton, G.S., Guillot, T., Hubbard, W., Bloxham, J., Coradini, A., Stephens, S.K., Mokashi, P., Thorne, R., Thorpe, R. 2017. The Juno Mission. Space Science Reviews 213, 5-37.
- Ingersoll, A.P., Adumitroaie, V., Allison, M.D., Atrya, S., Bellotti, A.A. Bolton, S.J., Brown, S.T., Gulkis, S., Janssen, M.A., Levin, S.M., Li, C., Li, L., Lunine, J.I., Orton, G.S., Oyafuso, F.A., Steffes, P. 2017. Implications of the ammonia distribution on Jupiter from 1 to 100 bars as measured by the Juno microwave radiometer. Geophys. Research Letters10.1002/2017GL074277.
- Wang, D., Miguel, Y., and Lunine, J. 2017. Modeling synthetic spectra for transiting extrasolar giant planets: Detectability of H2S and PH3 with the James Webb Space Telescope. Astrophys. J. 850: 199 (15 pp).
Recent papers on Titan seas:
- Mastrogiuseppe, M., Hayes, A.G., Poggiali, V., Lunine, J.I., Lorenz, R.D., Seu, R., Le Gall, A., Notarnicola, C., Mitchell, K.L., Malaska, M., Birch, S.P.D. 2018. Bathymetry and composition of Titan’s Ontario Lacus derived from Monte Carlo-based waveform inversion of Cassini RADAR altimetry data. Icarus 300, 203-209.
- Malaska, M.J., Hodyss, R., Lunine, J.I., Hayes, A.G., Hofgartner, J.D., Hollyday, G., and Lorenz, R.D., 2017. Laboratory measurements of nitrogen dissolution in Titan lake fluids. Icarus 289, 94-105.