Jonathan Lunine Named Chief Scientist of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

Jonathan Lunine, a renowned planetary scientist, has recently been appointed professor of planetary science at Caltech’s Division of Geological and Planetary Sciences. In addition to his new role at Caltech, he continues to work at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California. JPL, established in 1936 and now part of NASA since 1958, has played a pivotal role in managing numerous historic missions such as Voyager, Galileo, Cassini, the Mars Exploration Rover program, the Perseverance Mars rover and many others.

Lunine brings an impressive background in planetary science to his new position at Caltech. He has served on various advisory and strategic planning committees for organizations such as the National Academy of Sciences, NASA and the National Science Foundation. He has also contributed to concept studies for solar system and exoplanet characterization missions and served as an interdisciplinary scientist for NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope.

John Grotzinger, chair of the Division of Geological and Planetary Sciences at Caltech, expressed his excitement about Lunine joining the faculty. He highlighted Lunine’s extensive experience in planetary science and his work on diverse scientific questions within the solar system and beyond. Lunine’s appointment is seen as a valuable addition to the Caltech community and the broader field of planetary science.

By Sophia Gonzalez

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