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Jorge Núñez

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Planetary Scientist; Astrobiologist; Systems Engineer
240-228-7294
  • Ph.D., Geological Sciences
    2012, Arizona State University
  • B.S., Physics
    2005, University of Alabama at Birmingham
  • B.S., Mechanical Engineering
    2005, University of Alabama at Birmingham

I am a planetary scientist, astrobiologist, and engineer at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory. My primary research focuses on studying the geology and composition of planetary surfaces from the macro- to the micro-scale using a variety of remote sensing and in situ techniques, including visible/near-infrared spectroscopy, Raman spectroscopy, and microscopy. Of particular interest is understanding the geologic history of planetary surfaces of Mars and Ocean Worlds such as Saturn's moons Titan and Enceladus, and their potential for habitability. When not analyzing data from planetary missions, I also study terrestrial analogs in the field and laboratory, and develop new instruments and technologies for future planetary missions to the Moon, Mars, and beyond. 

Notable Awards and Leadership

Year(s) Description
2019 Asteroid 176610 Núñez
2017 NASA Group Achievement Award, New Horizons Mission
2015 NASA Early Career Fellow
2013-2014 Fulbright Scholar, US Department of State
2008-2012 NASA Earth and Space Science Fellowship (NESSF)
2010 NASA Group Achievement Award for 2010 International Lunar Surface Operations (ILSO) / In-Situ Resource Utilization (ISRU) Operations Test on Mauna Kea, Hawaii
2010 Frank Drake and Elliot Kalmbach Award for First Place in the NAI Student Poster Competition, 2010 Astrobiology Science Conference
2009-2010 National Geographic Society, Young Explorers Grant
2009 First Place, Student Poster Competition, 2nd NLSI Lunar Science Forum
2008-2009 Lewis and Clark Fund for Exploration and Field Research in Astrobiology
2005 - Present American Geophysical Union (AGU), Geological Society of America (GSA), American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA), American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)

Scholarly Publications

In-flight Performance and Calibration of the LOng Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI) for the New Horizons Mission

Publications of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific, 2020
H. A. Weaver, A. F. Cheng, F. Morgan, H. W. Taylor, S. J. Conard, J. I. Nunez, D. J. Rodgers, T. R. Lauer, W. M. Owen, J. R. Spencer, O. Barnouin, A. S. Rivkin, C. B. Olkin, S. A. Stern, L. A. Young, M. B. Tapley, M. Vincent, (2020), In-flight Performance and Calibration of the LOng Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI) for the New Horizons Mission, Publications of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific, 132, 1009, 035003, https://doi.org/10.1088/1538-3873/ab67ec

Ina, Moon: Geologic setting, scientific rationale, and site characterization for a small planetary lander concept

Planetary and Space Science, 2019
Julie D. Stopar, Samuel J. Lawrence, Lee Graham, Joseph Hamilton, Brett Denevi, Kristen K. John, Heather M. Meyer, John E. Gruener, Jorge I. Núñez, David S. Draper, Bryan J. Maas, Jacob M. Greenberg, (2019), Ina, Moon: Geologic setting, scientific rationale, and site characterization for a small planetary lander concept, Planetary and Space Science , 171, 1--16, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pss.2019.04.003

Initial results from the New Horizons exploration of 2014 MU<inf>69</inf>, a small Kuiper Belt object

Science, 2019
S.A. Stern, H.A. Weaver, J.R. Spencer, C.B. Olkin, G.R. Gladstone, W.M. Grundy, J.M. Moore, D.P. Cruikshank, H.A. Elliott, W.B. McKinnon, J.Wm. Parker, A.J. Verbiscer, L.A. Young, D.A. Aguilar, J.M. Albers, T. Andert, J.P. Andrews, F. Bagenal, M.E. Banks, B.A. Bauer, J.A. Bauman, K.E. Bechtold, C.B. Beddingfield, N. Behrooz, K.B. Beisser, S.D. Benecchi, E. Bernardoni, R.A. Beyer, S. Bhaskaran, C.J. Bierson, R.P. Binzel, E.M. Birath, M.K. Bird, D.R. Boone, A.F. Bowman, V.J. Bray, D.T. Britt, L.E. Brown, M.R. Buckley, M.W. Buie, B.J. Buratti, L.M. Burke, S.S. Bushman, B. Carcich, A.L. Chaikin, C.L. Chavez, A.F. Cheng, E.J. Colwell, S.J. Conard, M.P. Conner, C.A. Conrad, J.C. Cook, S.B. Cooper, O.S. Custodio, C.M. Dalle Ore, C.C. Deboy, P. Dharmavaram, R.D. Dhingra, G.F. Dunn, A.M. Earle, A.F. Egan, J. Eisig, M.R. El-Maarry, C. Engelbrecht, B.L. Enke, C.J. Ercol, E.D. Fattig, C.L. Ferrell, T.J. Finley, J. Firer, J. Fischetti, W.M. Folkner, M.N. Fosbury, G.H. Fountain, J.M. Freeze, L. Gabasova, L.S. Glaze, J.L. Green, G.A. Griffith, Y. Guo, M. Hahn, D.W. Hals, D.P. Hamilton, S.A. Hamilton, J.J. Hanley, A. Harch, K.A. Harmon, H.M. Hart, J. Hayes, C.B. Hersman, M.E. Hill, T.A. Hill, J.D. Hofgartner, M.E. Holdridge, M. Horányi, A. Hosadurga, A.D. Howard, C.J.A. Howett, S.E. Jaskulek, D.E. Jennings, J.R. Jensen, M.R. Jones, H.K. Kang, D.J. Katz, D.E. Kaufmann, J.J. Kavelaars, J.T. Keane, G.P. Keleher, M. Kinczyk, M.C. Kochte, P. Kollmann, S.M. Krimigis, G.L. Kruizinga, D.Y. Kusnierkiewicz, M.S. Lahr, T.R. Lauer, G.B. Lawrence, J.E. Lee, E.J. Lessac-Chenen, I.R. Linscott, C.M. Lisse, A.W. Lunsford, D.M. Mages, V.A. Mallder, N.P. Martin, B.H. May, D.J. McComas, R.L. McNutt, D.S. Mehoke, T.S. Mehoke, D.S. Nelson, H.D. Nguyen, J.I. Núñez, A.C. Ocampo, W.M. Owen, G.K. Oxton, A.H. Parker, M. Pätzold, J.Y. Pelgrift, F.J. Pelletier, J.P. Pineau, M.R. Piquette, S.B. Porter, S. Protopapa, E. Quirico, J.A. Redfern, A.L. Regiec, H.J. Reitsema, D.C. Reuter, D.C. Richardson, J.E. Riedel, M.A. Ritterbush, S.J. Robbins, D.J. Rodgers, G.D. Rogers, D.M. Rose, P.E. Rosendall, K.D. Runyon, M.G. Ryschkewitsch, M.M. Saina, M.J. Salinas, P.M. Schenk, J.R. Scherrer, W.R. Schlei, B. Schmitt, D.J. Schultz, D.C. Schurr, F. Scipioni, R.L. Sepan, R.G. Shelton, M.R. Showalter, M. Simon, K.N. Singer, E.W. Stahlheber, D.R. Stanbridge, J.A. Stansberry, A.J. Steffl, D.F. Strobel, M.M. Stothoff, T. Stryk, J.R. Stuart, M.E. Summers, M.B. Tapley, A. Taylor, H.W. Taylor, R.M. Tedford, H.B. Throop, L.S. Turner, O.M. Umurhan, J. Van Eck, D. Velez, M.H. Versteeg, M.A. Vincent, R.W. Webbert, S.E. Weidner, G.E. Weigle, J.R. Wendel, O.L. White, K.E. Whittenburg, B.G. Williams, K.E. Williams, S.P. Williams, H.L. Winters, A.M. Zangari, T.H. Zurbuchen, (2019), Initial results from the New Horizons exploration of 2014 MU69, a small Kuiper Belt object, Science, 364, 6441

Operation and performance of the New Horizons Long-Range Reconnaissance Imager during the Pluto encounter

Proceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering, 2017
S.J. Conard, H.A. Weaver, J.I. Núñez, H.W. Taylor, J.R. Hayes, A.F. Cheng, D.J. Rodgers, (2017), Operation and performance of the New Horizons Long-Range Reconnaissance Imager during the Pluto encounter, Proceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering, 10401

New insights into gully formation on Mars: Constraints from composition as seen by MRO/CRISM

Geophysical Research Letters, 2016
J. I. Nunez, O. S. Barnouin, S. L. Murchie, F. P. Seelos, J. A. McGovern, K. D. Seelos, D. L. Buczkowski, (2016), New insights into gully formation on Mars: Constraints from composition as seen by MRO/CRISM, Geophysical Research Letters, 43, 17, 8893-8902

The formation of Charon's red poles from seasonally cold-trapped volatiles

Nature, 2016
W.M. Grundy, D.P. Cruikshank, G.R. Gladstone, C.J.A. Howett, T.R. Lauer, J.R. Spencer, M.E. Summers, M.W. Buie, A.M. Earle, K. Ennico, J.Wm. Parker, S.B. Porter, K.N. Singer, S.A. Stern, A.J. Verbiscer, R.A. Beyer, R.P. Binzel, B.J. Buratti, J.C. Cook, C.M. Dalle Ore, C.B. Olkin, A.H. Parker, S. Protopapa, E. Quirico, K.D. Retherford, S.J. Robbins, B. Schmitt, J.A. Stansberry, O.M. Umurhan, H.A. Weaver, L.A. Young, A.M. Zangari, V.J. Bray, A.F. Cheng, W.B. McKinnon, R.L. McNutt, J.M. Moore, F. Nimmo, D.C. Reuter, P.M. Schenk, F. Bagenal, T. Andert, O. Barnouin, M. Bird, M. Brozović, H.A. Elliott, T.K. Greathouse, M. Hahn, D.P. Hamilton, M.E. Hill, D.P. Hinson, J. Hofgartner, M. Horányi, A.D. Howard, D.E. Jennings, J.A. Kammer, P. Kollmann, P. Lavvas, I.R. Linscott, C.M. Lisse, A.W. Lunsford, D.J. McComas, M. Mutchler, J.I. Nunez, M. Paetzold, S. Philippe, M. Piquette, H.J. Reitsema, J.H. Roberts, K. Runyon, E. Schindhelm, M.R. Showalter, A.J. Steffl, D.F. Strobel, T. Stryk, J.R. Szalay, H.B. Throop, C.C.C. Tsang, G.L. Tyler, M.H. Versteeg, G.E. Weigle, O.L. White, W.W. Woods, E.F. Young, (2016), The formation of Charon's red poles from seasonally cold-trapped volatiles, Nature, 539, 7627, 65-68

The Pluto system: Initial results from its exploration by New Horizons.

Science (New York, N.Y.), 2015
S A Stern, F Bagenal, K Ennico, G R Gladstone, W M Grundy, W B McKinnon, J M Moore, C B Olkin, J R Spencer, H A Weaver, L A Young, T Andert, J Andrews, M Banks, B Bauer, J Bauman, O S Barnouin, P Bedini, K Beisser, R A Beyer, S Bhaskaran, R P Binzel, E Birath, M Bird, D J Bogan, A Bowman, V J Bray, M Brozovic, C Bryan, M R Buckley, M W Buie, B J Buratti, S S Bushman, A Calloway, B Carcich, A F Cheng, S Conard, C A Conrad, J C Cook, D P Cruikshank, O S Custodio, C M Dalle Ore, C Deboy, Z J B Dischner, P Dumont, A M Earle, H A Elliott, J Ercol, C M Ernst, T Finley, S H Flanigan, G Fountain, M J Freeze, T Greathouse, J L Green, Y Guo, M Hahn, D P Hamilton, S A Hamilton, J Hanley, A Harch, H M Hart, C B Hersman, A Hill, M E Hill, D P Hinson, M E Holdridge, M Horanyi, A D Howard, C J A Howett, C Jackman, R A Jacobson, D E Jennings, J A Kammer, H K Kang, D E Kaufmann, P Kollmann, S M Krimigis, D Kusnierkiewicz, T R Lauer, J E Lee, K L Lindstrom, I R Linscott, C M Lisse, A W Lunsford, V A Mallder, N Martin, D J McComas, R L Jr McNutt, D Mehoke, T Mehoke, E D Melin, M Mutchler, D Nelson, F Nimmo, J I Nunez, A Ocampo, W M Owen, M Paetzold, B Page, A H Parker, J W Parker, F Pelletier, J Peterson, N Pinkine, M Piquette, S B Porter, S Protopapa, J Redfern, H J Reitsema, D C Reuter, J H Roberts, S J Robbins, G Rogers, D Rose, K Runyon, K D Retherford, M G Ryschkewitsch, P Schenk, E Schindhelm, B Sepan, M R Showalter, K N Singer, M Soluri, D Stanbridge, A J Steffl, D F Strobel, T Stryk, M E Summers, J R Szalay, M Tapley, A Taylor, H Taylor, H B Throop, C C C Tsang, G L Tyler, O M Umurhan, A J Verbiscer, M H Versteeg, M Vincent, R Webbert, S Weidner, G E 2nd Weigle, O L White, K Whittenburg, B G Williams, K Williams, S Williams, W W Woods, A M Zangari, E Zirnstein, (2015), The Pluto system: Initial results from its exploration by New Horizons., Science (New York, N.Y.), 350, 6258, aad1815

Science Applications of a Multispectral Microscopic Imager for the Astrobiological Exploration of Mars

Astrobiology, 2014
Jorge I. Nunez, Jack D. Farmer, R. Glenn Sellar, Gregg A. Swayze, Diana L. Blaney, (2014), Science Applications of a Multispectral Microscopic Imager for the Astrobiological Exploration of Mars, Astrobiology, 14, 2, 132-169

Mauna Kea, Hawaii, as an Analog Site for Future Planetary Resource Exploration: Results from the 2010 ILSO-ISRU Field-Testing Campaign

Journal of Aerospace Engineering, 2013
Inge L. ten Kate, Rob Armstrong, Bodo Bernhardt, Mathias Blumers, Jack Craft, Dale Boucher, Eric Caillibot, Janine Captain, Gabriele Deleuterio, Jack D. Farmer, Daniel P. Glavin, Trevor Graff, John C. Hamilton, Goestar Klingelhoefer, Richard V. Morris, Jorge I. Nunez, Jacqueline W. Quinn, Gerald B. Sanders, R. Glenn Sellar, Leanne Sigurdson, Ross Taylor, Kris Zacny, (2013), Mauna Kea, Hawaii, as an Analog Site for Future Planetary Resource Exploration: Results from the 2010 ILSO-ISRU Field-Testing Campaign, Journal of Aerospace Engineering, 26, 1, 183-196

Extracting science from Mossbauer spectroscopy on Mars

Journal of Geophysical Research-Planets, 2003
TJ Wdowiak, G Klingelhofer, ML Wade, JI Nunez, (2003), Extracting science from Mossbauer spectroscopy on Mars, Journal of Geophysical Research-Planets, 108, E12

Extracting science from Mössbauer spectroscopy on Mars

Journal of Geophysical Research E: Planets, 2003
T.J. Wdowiak, G. Klingelhöfer, M.L. Wade, J.I. Nunez, (2003), Extracting science from M"ossbauer spectroscopy on Mars, Journal of Geophysical Research E: Planets, 108, 12