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Olivier Barnouin

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Planetary Geophysicist
  • Ph.D, Geology and Geophysics
    1997, Brown University
  • M. Sc., Applied Mathematics
    1995, Brown University
  • M. Sc., Geology and Geophysics
    1992, Brown University
  • B. Sc., Mechanical Engineering
    1990, Brown University

I am interested primarily in understanding surface processes of asteroids and planets, focusing on impact catering, geological hazards, eolian processes, and tectonics. To this end, I have developed analytical and numerical geophysical models of planetary processes to gain insights into the evolution of planetary and asteroidal surfaces and atmospheres and test them in the laboratory at planetary scales, through terrestrial fieldwork, and using planetary remote sensing observations. I have had the opportunity to investigate a wide range of asteroids (Bennu, Ryugu, Itokawa and Eros) as well as solid planets (Mercury, Mars, Earth and  Venus). I am, and have been, a Co-Investigator, Working Group Lead and team participant on several NASA planetary missions and instruments including NEAR-Shoemaker, MRO/CRISM, New Horizons, MESSENGER, LRO, Hayabusa, Hayabusa 2, OSIRIS-REx, and DART. I have helped develop and use several spacecraft instruments (OSIRIS-REx laser altimeter, LOLA, MLA, CRISM, LORRI, DRACO).  I have used, and continue to use, the Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory wind tunnel facility and the gun ranges at NASA AMES, NASA/JSC, and the University of Tokyo. I am the director of the the Planetary Impact laboratory (PIL) at JHU/APL, which includes a vertical gun range and an ejecta simulator. I am one of the creators of the JHU Small Body Mapping Tool. I have advised several undergraduate and graduate students and postdoctoral fellows who have since extensively contributed to the planetary science community.

Notable Awards and Leadership

Year(s) Description
1998 - Present American Geophysical Union
2015 Silver Achievement Medal, OSIRIS-REx Asteroid Astronomy Science Team
2014 Asteroid 8799 Barnouin named in honor, 2014
2013 NASA RHG-Exceptional Achievement for Science-Team, LRO
2011 NASA Public Service Achievement Award, MRO CRISM Science Team
2008 NASA Group Achievement Award, MESSENGER Mission Team
2006 NASA Early Career Planetary Science Fellow
2002 NASA Group Achievement Award, NEAR-Shoemaker
2000 Outstanding paper award for “Giant Craters on Mathilde”, JHUAPL