Jonathan I. Lunine
David C. Duncan Professor in the Physical Sciences
Director, Cornell Center for Astrophysics and Planetary Science
Planetary science, Theoretical Astrophysics, Astrobiology
Planetary system formation, evolution of volatile-rich worlds
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, is co-investigator on the Juno mission launched in 2011 to Jupiter and on the near-infrared spectrometer under development for the Europa Multiple Flyby mission. 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 proposed mission to look for signs of life in Saturn's moon Enceladus, and has contributed to concept studies for a wide range of planetary and exoplanetary 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.
A rationale for exploring the ocean worlds of the solar system:
- Lunine, J.I. 2017. Ocean worlds exploration. Acta Astronautica 131, 123-130.
First Juno Science report on the deep atmosphere/interior of Jupiter:
- S. J. Bolton, A. Adriani, V. Adumitroaie, M. Allison, J. Anderson, S. Atreya, J. Bloxham, S. Brown, J. E. P. Connerney, E. DeJong, W. Folkner, D. Gautier, D. Grassi, S. Gulkis, T. Guillot, C. Hansen, W. B. Hubbard, L. Iess, A. Ingersoll, M. Janssen, J. Jorgensen, Y. Kaspi, S. M. Levin, C. Li, J. Lunine, Y. Miguel, A. Mura, G. Orton, T. Owen, M. Ravine, E. Smith, P. Steffes, E. Stone, D. Stevenson, R. Thorne, J. Waite, D. Durante, R. W. Ebert, T. K. Greathouse, V. Hue, M. Parisi, J. R. Szalay and R. Wilson, Science 356 (6340), 821-825.
Discovery of molecular hydrogen within Enceladus:
- Waite, J.H., Glein, C.R., Perryman, R.S., Teolis, B.D., Magee, B.A., Miller, G., Grimes, J., Perry, M.E., Miller, K.E., Bouquet, A., Lunine, J.I., Brockwell, T., and Bolton, S.J. 2017. Cassini finds molecular hydrogen in the Enceladus plume: Evidence for hydrothermal processes. Science 356, 155-159.
- Mousis, O., Ozgurel, O., Lunine, J.I., Luspay-Kuti, A., Ronnet, T., Pauzat, F., Markovits, A., and Ellinger, Y. 2017. Stability of sulfur dimers (S2) in cometary ices. Astrophys. J. 835: 134 (5 pp).