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 Planetary Ices: People
Murthy Gudipati's Picture
Jet Propulsion Laboratory
M/S 183-301
4800 Oak Grove Drive
Pasadena, CA 91109

Murthy Gudipati

Principal Scientist
Born and raised in southern India, Dr. Murthy Gudipati went to several schools in rural villages and urban colleges before receiving M.Sc. (1981) at the University of Hyderabad, India and Ph.D. (1987) at the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, India. After a 3 year post-doctoral collaboration with Prof. Josef Michl (at Austin, Texas), he joined University of Cologne, Germany in 1990, where he was awarded Habilitation in Physical Chemistry (tenure) in late 1998. In 2007, Dr. Gudipati joined NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory where he studies the evolution of ices in the universe.

Research Interests
  • Physics and Chemistry of Ices (Planetary, Interstellar, and Atmospheric)
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics
  • VUV to FIR Spectroscopy
  • Next Generation Space Instrumentation
  • Origins of Life

Murthy Gudipati's research interests can be broadly defined as understanding the physics and chemistry of interstellar and Solar System ices through laboratory simulations, observations and instrumentation or simply evolution of ices in the Universe. The three wings of this space endeavor are

  1. physics and chemistry of ices with applications to biology, chemistry, atmosphere, and astrophysics;
  2. space instrumentation to analyze organic matter on planets such as Mars; and
  3. observations and analysis of in-situ and remote data.

Murthy's research in the recent past has focused on physics and chemistry of cryogenic ices. This research builds on the over 15 years of earlier expertise on chemical physics / physical chemistry, spectroscopy, and photochemistry of atmospheric and organic molecules in cryogenic matrices. Most fascinating and still not well understood is the physics and chemistry of cryogenic ices, with applications ranging from evolution of icy bodies in the Solar System, in the interstellar medium; aerosol chemistry in Earth's atmosphere; chemistry of polar ices; and radiation biology. Knowledge acquired through laboratory experiments on ices is crucial in order to develop next generation instrumentation concepts for orbiter remote sensing, in-situ lander, rover, or manned missions.


Europa Mission Icon Europa Mission

NASA's Europa mission will conduct detailed reconnaissance of Jupiter's moon Europa to investigate whether the icy moon could harbor conditions suitable for life.

Professional Experience

A short summer visit to NASA Ames Research Center in 2000 resulted in a long-term move from Germany to US in 2001. Since then Dr. Gudipati has been on the Faculty of University of Maryland, College Park and a visiting Scientist at NASA Ames Research Center.

Visiting Positions

  • NASA Ames Research Center, California, USA (2000)
  • Institute of Experimental Physics, Free University Berlin, Germany (1998)
  • Fritz-Haber-Institut der Max-Planck-Gesellschaft, Berlin, Germany (1995)

  • Community Service

    Dr. Murthy Gudipati is the Editor-in-Chief of Earth, Moon, and Planets; Member of the Working Group for Laboratory Astrophysics (WGLA) of American Astronomical Society (AAS) - representing Planetary Sciences Community. Murthy is convinced that education is the only way to help change the world and that the first few years (K-6) are the most important formative years. He enjoys visiting local K-6 schools occasionally and talking to the children about science. Anyone interested in having him visit their school could contact him directly.

  • Dr. Gudipati's Science 101 talk at JPL on Ices of the Universe is available at: NASA's Solar System Exploration Lectures:

    Dr. Murthy Gudipati and Dr. Julie Castillo-Rogez (Eds): The Science of Solar System Ices (2013) - Springer, USA.

  • Selected Awards
    • NASA Group Achievement Award (2002)
    • German Science Foundation Habilitation Fellowship (1995)
    • Indian Institute of Science Best Thesis Award (Guha Medal) (1987)

    Selected Publications
    1. Photochemical Activity of Titan's Low-Altitude Condensed Haze; Murthy S. Gudipati, Ronen Jacovi, Isabelle Couturier-Tamburelli, Antti Lignell, Mark Allen Nature Communications 4 (2013) 1648; DOI: 10.1038/ncomms2649/ncomms2649; NASA Press Release "NASA Team Investigates Complex Chemistry at Titan" (URL)
    2. In-situ Probing of Radiation-Induced Processing of Organics in Astrophysical Ice Analogs - Novel Laser Desorption Laser Ionization Time-of-Flight MassSpectroscopic Studies; Murthy S. Gudipati and Rui Yang Astrophysical Journal Letters 746 (2012) L24. NASA press release
    3. Survival Depth of Organics in Ices under Low-energy Electron Radiation; Irene Li Barnett, Antti Lignell, and Murthy S. Gudipati; Astrophys. J. 747 (2012) 13 (11pp) - News Coverage through Astrobiology Magazine and other news agencies throughout the world. Highlighted in Astrobiology Magazine
    4. The Impact of Recent Advances in Laboratory Astrophysics on our Understanding of the Cosmos; D. W. Savin, N. S. Brickhouse, J. J. Cowan, R. P. Drake, S. R. Federman, G. J. Ferland, A. Frank, M. S. Gudipati, W. C. Haxton, E. Herbst, S. Profumo, F. Salama, L. M. Ziurys, and E. G. Zweibel; Reports on Progress in Physics 75 (2012) 036901 - Top 10% downloaded article from IOP Publishing in the first quarter of 2012!
    5. Amorphous and Crystalline H2O-Ice; Rachel M. E. Mastrapa, William M. Grundy, and Murthy S. Gudipati; The Science of Solar System Ices 2013); Murthy S. Gudipati and Julie Castillo Eds., Springer, New York.
    6. Chemistry in Water Ices: From Fundamentals to Planetary Applications; Murthy S. Gudipati and Paul D. Cooper; The Science of Solar System Ices (2013); Murthy S. Gudipati and Julie Castillo Eds., Springer, New York.
    7. Charged PolycyclicAromatic Hydrocarbon Clusters and the Galactic Extended Red Emission; Young Min Rhee, Timothy J. Lee, M. Murthy S. Gudipati, Louis J. Allamandola, and Martin Head-Gordon; Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, USA 104 (2007) 5274. NASA Press Release
    8. Double Ionization of Quaterrylene (C40H20) in Water-ice at 20 K with Lyα (121.6 nm) Radiation; Gudipati, M. S, Allamandola, L.J.; J. Phys. Chem. 110 (2006) 9020
    9. Unusual Stability of PAH radical cations in Amorphous Water-ices up to 120 K - Astronomical Implications; Gudipati, M. S, Allamandola, L.J.; Astrophys. J. 638 (2006) 286
    10. Lowering the Ionization Energies of PAHs in Water-Ices; Gudipati, M. S, Allamandola, L.J.; Astrophys. J. Lett 615 (2004) L177
    11. Matrix-Isolation in Cryogenic Water Ices: Facile Generation, Storage and Optical Spectroscopy of Aromatic Radical Cations; Gudipati, M. S. J. Phys. Chem. 108 (2004) 4412
    12. Photochemistry in the Charge Transfer and Neutral Excited States of HCl in Xe and Kr Matrices; Berghof, V., Gudipati, M. S., Schwentner, N. J. Chem. Phys. 124 (2004) 1414
    13. Facile Generation and Storage of Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbon Ions in Astrophysical Ices; Gudipati, M. S., Allamandola, L. J. Astrophys. J. Lett 596 (2003) L195
    14. Luminescence from VUV Irradiated Cosmic Ice Analogs and Residues. Gudipati, M. S., Dworkin, J. P., Chillier, X. D. F.,. J. 25 Allamandola, L. J. Astrophys 3 (2003) 514
    15. Electronic spectrum of atomic sulfur in argon matrices in the vacuum ultraviolet region; Gudipati, M. S. and Klein, A. Chem. Phys. Lett. 344 (2001) 479
    16. Concentration dependence of the spectroscopic and photochemical properties of atomic and molecular oxygen in argon matrices; Gudipati, M. S., Schouren, F., Kalb, M., and Wagner, R.; Spectrochim. Acta, Part A 56 (2000) 2581 (invited paper)
    17. Near-UV Photolysis of Singlet Oxygen Generated via Energy Transfer from Aromatic Molecules in Rare Gas Matrices; Gudipati, M. S., Wagner, R., Kalb, M., and Klein, A.; In Peroxide Chemistry "Mechanistic and Preparative Aspects of Oxygen Transfer", Adam, Waldemar, Ed.; Wiley-VCH (2000) 620 (book chapter)
    18. Photochemically Induced Energy Transfer II: Spectroscopic and Photophysical Aspects of the Electronic-To-Electronic Energy Transfer in Geminate van der Waals Complexes; Wagner, R., Schouren, F., and Gudipati, M. S.; Journal of Physical Chemistry, section A. 104 (2000) 3593 (invited paper)
    19. New near infrared emission bands of CO: a highly sensitive spectroscopic property of CO to probe the interstellar matter; Gudipati, M. S. and Kalb, M.; Astron. Astrophys. 329 (1998) 375
    20. On the 1S→1D Emission of O by Exciting O2 into and beyond the Schumann-Runge Continuum in Ar Matrices at 15 K; Gudipati, M. S.; Chem. Phys. Lett. 242 (1995) 132
    21. Schumann-Runge Bands of O2 in Ar, Kr and Xe Matrices revisited: Potential Curves of the B3Σu- State; Gudipati, M. S.; Chem. Phys. 201 (1995) 451
    22. Higher Excited States of Aromatic Hydrocarbons III. Assigning the Inplane Polarized Transitions of Low Symmetry Molecules: Chrysene and E-Stilbene; Gudipati, M. S., Maus, M., Daverkausen, J., and Hohlneicher, G.; Chem. Phys. 192 (1995) 37
    23. Exciton, Exchange and Through Bond Interactions in Multichromophoric Molecules: An Analysis of the Electronically Excited States; Gudipati, M. S.; J. Phys. Chem. 98 (1994) 9750
    24. Higher Electronically Excited States of Phenanthrene, Carbazole and Fluorene; Gudipati, M. S., Daverkausen, J., Maus, M., and Hohlneicher, G.; Chem. Phys. 186 (1994) 289
    25. Higher Excited States of Aromatic Hydrocarbons: Polarized VUV Fluorescence-Excitation Spectra of Anthracene and Pyrene in Argon Matrices at 15 K Using Synchrotron Radiation; Gudipati, M. S., Daverkausen, J., and Hohlneicher, G.; Chem. Phys. 173 (1993) 143
    26. Infrared Spectra of [n]Staffanes; Gudipati, M. S., Hamrock, S. J., Balaji, V., and Michl, J.; J. Phys. Chem. 96 (1992) 10165

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