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 worked with the radar and other instruments on Cassini, is co-investigator on the Juno mission now in orbit at Jupiter, and on the MISE instrument for the Europa Clipper mission. He is on the science team for the James Webb Space Telescope, focusing on characterization of extrasolar planets and Kuiper Belt objects. Lunine 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.