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 is co-investigator on the Juno mission now in orbit at Jupiter, using data from several instruments on the spacecraft, 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.
Planetary system formation, evolution of planets, search for life.
Recent papers (* indicates postdoc or student in group):
- Mousis, O., Ronnet, T. and Lunine, J.I. 2019. Jupiter’s formation in the vicinity of the amorphous ice snowline. Astrophys. J. 875:9 (6pp).
- Mastrogiuseppe, M., *Poggiali, V., Hayes, A.G., Lunine, J.I., Seu, R., Mitri, G., Lorenz, R.D. 2019. Deep and methane-rich lakes on Titan. Nature Astronomy 3 535-542.
- *Truong, N., Monroe, A.A., Glein, C.R., Anbar, A.D., Lunine, J.I. 2019. Decomposition of amino acids in water with application to in-situ measurements of Enceladus, Europa and other hydrothermally active icy ocean worlds. Icarus 329, 140-147.
- *Leitner, M. and Lunine, J.I. 2019. Modeling early Titan’s ocean composition. Icarus 333, 61-70.
- Mitri, G., Lunine, J.I., Mastrogiuseppe, M. and *Poggiali, V. 2019. Possible explosion crater origin of small lake basins with raised rims on Titan. Nature Geoscience https://doi.org/10.1038/s41561-019-0429-0.
In the news
- Cornell, global partners discuss the next ‘grand challenge’
- Senior wins award from SETI Institute for planetary research
- Juno’s new views heighten Europa Clipper excitement
- Cornell astronomers cheer new space telescope’s first images
- Cornell-chaired panels advocate Uranus, Enceladus missions
- Astronomy alum chosen for 51 Pegasi b Fellowship
- Comet 67P emits ancient molecular oxygen from its nucleus
- Cornell faculty contribute to Astro2020 decadal survey
- Juno craft provides first 3D view of Jupiter’s deep storms
- Schmidt: Exploring Earth’s oceans to reach Europa
- Trace gas phosphine points to volcanic activity on Venus
- Cosmos unveils space-tech business, science opportunities
- Astronomy to host 51 Pegasi b Fellow Samantha Trumbo ’13
- Astronomers estimate Titan’s largest sea is 1,000 feet deep
- NASA extends Cornell-involved Juno, InSight missions
- NSF to decommission Cornell-designed Arecibo telescope
- Hayes, Lunine to chair Planetary Science 10-year survey panels
- Venus may hold the answers about life we’ve been looking for
- Ancient ocean, meteorites could have seeded life in Venusian clouds
- Ammonia sparks unexpected, exotic lightning on Jupiter
- Carl Sagan’s ‘Cosmos’ legacy lives on in new series
- Astronomers will probe exoplanets with Webb telescope
- Yervant Terzian, who explored matter between stars, dies at 80
- Cornell partners in NSF grant for astrophysics institute
- Explosive nitrogen created craters that pock Saturn moon Titan