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Murthy Gudipati

Murthy Gudipati


4800 Oak Grove Drive
M/S 183-301

Pasadena, CA 91109





Curriculum Vitae:

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Member of:

Laboratory Studies


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.


1998: Habilitation in Physical Chemistry

1995 – 1998: German Science Foundation “Habilitation Fellow”.

1990 – 1994: Research Associate – Institute of Physical Chemistry, University of Cologne, Germany.

1986 – 1989: Post-Doctoral Affiliation – University of Texas at Austin

1981 – 1986: Ph.D. (Chemistry, 1987) – Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, India.

Professional Experience

I am actively involved in Europa Clipper Mission as a Co-I and Investigation Scientist. Most recently I was involved in Rosetta mission to comet 67P/Churyumov- Gerasimenko. I have been working on putting a cryogenic comet sample return mission concept to bring deeper parts of a comet’s nucleus, which could hold the secrets of our early solar system. In-situ instrumentation for solar system missions is another area of work that I enjoy, maturing the technology readiness level (RTL) of laboratory instrumentation to space instrumentation.

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 presently the Vice Chair, Laboratory Astrophysics Division (LAD) of the American Astronomical Society (AAS) since July 2019. Prior services include: Member of the Working Group for Laboratory Astrophysics (WGLA) of American Astronomical Society (AAS) - representing Laboratory Research for Planetary Sciences. Murthy served as the Editor-in-Chief of Earth, Moon, and Planets between 2009 and 2020. 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. Murthy Gudipati and Dr. Julie Castillo-Rogez (Eds): The Science of Solar System Ices (2013) - Springer, USA.

Research Interests

  • Physics and Chemistry of Ices (Planetary, Interstellar, Cometary, and Atmospheric)
  • Exoplanet Atmospheres
  • Ice under Radiation
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics
  • VUV to FIR Spectroscopy and Mass Spectrometry
  • Next Generation Space Instrumentation
  • Origins of Life

Currently my research focus is to understand evolution of ice and organic (and mineral) matter under radiation environments such as on Europa’s surface. Another research focus is to understand cometary nucleus from its origin in prestellar interstellar ice grains to its evolution through Kuiper Belt Objects (KBOs), Jupiter family comets (JFCs), to potential late heavy bombardment by comets and asteroids on early Earth delivering water and organics and triggering origin of life. I am equally interested in understanding chemical processes that occur in Earth’s ice environment (clouds and surface). I am interested in Earth, Moon, Mars, Outer Solar System, and small body (comets in particular) missions. I am a PI on several NASA funded projects.

I am actively involved in Europa Clipper Mission as a Co-I and Investigation Scientist. Most recently I was involved in Rosetta mission to comet 67P/Churyumov- Gerasimenko. I have been working on putting a cryogenic comet sample return mission concept to bring deeper parts of a comet’s nucleus, which could hold the secrets of our early solar system. In-situ instrumentation for solar system missions is another area of work that I enjoy, maturing the technology readiness level (RTL) of laboratory instrumentation to space instrumentation.

Most recently, I and my coworkers have established laboratory simulations of exoplanet (from Earth-like to hot-Jupiter) atmospheric chemistry under simultaneous ultraviolet environment and successfully conducted first simulations up to a temperature of ~1800 K. They have shown that two simple molecules predominant in the stellar environments (H2 and CO) lead to the formation of a variety of key atmospheric molecules such as CO2, H2O, CH4, and some organic aerosol particles as well.

My overarching research goal is to understand “The Chemical Evolution in the Universe leading to the Origin of Life on Earth” - through laboratory simulations, mission observations and instrumentation. Origin of life through comet impacts, astrobiology, biosignatures, and habitability in the solar systems is another significant interest I pursue.

Some of the recent highlights of the “Ice Spectroscopy Lab – ISL”, the “Titan Organic Aerosol and Surface Chemistry – TOAST lab”, and the “Exoplanet Atmospheric Simulation Lab”, which I founded at JPL and presently lead are as follows:

  • Thermally augmented photochemistry of alien atmospheres – hot-Jupiter atmospheres.
  • Complex organics in the plumes of Enceladus – habitability of Enceladus?
  • Damage depths of organics in ice by electrons – implication to Europa;
  • MeV electron penetration and damage through Europa ice analogs;
  • Very low ionization energy of PAHs in ices;
  • Development of unique MALDI-TOFMS-QMS system to detect and analyze biosignatures;
  • First MALDI-TOFMS study of radiation chemistry in interstellar and solar system ices;
  • Low-altitude longer-wavelength tholin production in Titan’s atmosphere.

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. Influence of C/O Ratio on Hot Jupiter Atmospheric Chemistry; Benjamin Fleury, Murthy S. Gudipati, Bryana L. Henderson, and Mark Swain; The Astrophysical Journal, 899 (2020) 147;
  2. The Influence of Europa’s Plumes on its atmosphere and ionosphere; Jiazheng Li, Murthy S. Gudipati, and Yuk L. Yung; Icarus, 352 (2020) 113999;
  3. Europa’s surface water ice crystallinity: Discrepancy between observations and thermophysical and particle flux modeling; Jodi R. Berdis, Murthy S. Gudipati, James R. Murphy, and Nancy J. Chanover, Icarus 341 (2020) 113660.
  4. Photochemistry in hot H2-dominated exoplanet atmospheres; Benjamin Fleury, Murthy S. Gudipati, Bryana L. Henderson, Mark Swain, The Astrophysical Journal 871(2019)158, 14p; doi: 10.3847/1538-4357/aaf79f NASA News Feature: “Cooking up Alien Atmospheres on Earth”.
  5. Photoreactivity of condensed acetylene on Titan aerosols analogues; Benjamin Fleury, Murthy S. Gudipati, Isabelle Couturier-Tamburelli, and Nathalie Carrasco, Icarus 321(2019)358-366.
  6. Leeb hardness of salty Europa ice analogs exposed to high-energy electrons; Bryana L. Henderson, Murthy S. Gudipati, and Fred B. Bateman, Icarus 322 (2019)114-120.
  7. Coulomb explosion of multiply ionized xenon in water ice; David v. Bekaert, Murthy S. Gudipati, Bryana Henderson, Bernard Marty, Geochemical Journal 53 (2019) 69-81. doi: 10.2343/geochemj.2.0548
  8. Macromolecular organic compounds from deep hydrothermal sites on Enceladus; Frank Postberg et al., Nature 558(2018)564–568.
  9. Evolution of Titan’s high-altitude aerosols under ultraviolet irradiation; Nathalie Carrasco, Sarah Tigrine, Lisseth Gavilan, Laurent Nahon, and Murthy S. Gudipati, Nature Astronomy 2(2018)489-494.
  10. Photochemical Processes in CO2/H2O Ice Mixtures with Trapped Pyrene, a model Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbon; Soumya Radhakrishnan, Murthy S. Gudipati, Wolfram Sander, Antti Lignell, Astrophysical Journal 864:151- 9pp (2018)
  11. UV–Vis Light-induced Aging of Titan’s Haze and Ice; Isabelle Couturier-Tamburelli, Nathalie Piétri, Vincent Le Letty, Thierry Chiavassa, and Murthy S. Gudipati. The Astrophysical Journal, 852:117 (10pp), 2018 January 10
  12. Photoinduced Reversible Electron Transfer Between the Benzhydryl Radical and Benzhydryl Cation in Amorphous Water−Ice; Soumya Radhakrishnan, Joel Mieres-Perez, Murthy S. Gudipati, and Wolfram Sander, J. Phys. Chem. A 121(2017)6405
  13. Stepwise heating of lunar anorthosites 60025, 60215, 65315 possibly reveals an indigenous noble gas component on the Moon; David V. Bekaert, Guillaume Avice, Bernard Marty, Bryana Henderson, Murthy S. Gudipati, Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 218(2017)114
  14. Seasonal Exposure of Carbon Dioxide Ice on the Nucleus of Comet 67p/Churyumov-Gerasimenko; G. Filacchione et al. Science 354 (2016) 1563-1566; doi: 10.1126/science.aag3161
  15. Refractory and Semi-Volatile Organics at the Surface of Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko: Insights from the VIRTIS/ROSETTA Imaging Spectrometer; Quirico, E. et al. Icarus 272 (2016) 32-47.
  16. Exposed water ice on the nucleus of comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko; G. Filacchione et al. Nature 529 (2016) 368–372; doi:10.1038/nature16190
  17. New experimental capability to investigate the hypervelocity micrometeoroid bombardment of cryogenic surfaces; Andrew O. Nelson, Richard Dee, Murthy S. Gudipati, Mihály Horányi, David James, Sascha Kempf, Tobin Munsat, Zoltán Sternovsky, and Zach Ulibarri. Rev. Sci. Inst. 87 (2016) 024502.
  18. Simulation of Titan's atmospheric photochemistry: Formation of non-volatile residue from polar nitrile ices. I. Couturier-Tamburelli, N. Piétri, M. S. Gudipati; Astronomy and Astrophysics A&A 578, A111 (2015); DOI:
  19. 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko: The Organic-rich surface of a Kuiper Belt comet as seen by VIRTIS/Rosetta; Rosetta VIRTIS team Science 347 (28 January 2015) aaa0628
  20. Direct Detection of Complex Organic Products in Electron-Irradiated Astrophysical and Cometary Ice Analogs using Two-Step Laser Ablation and Ionization Mass Spectrometry; Bryana L. Henderson and Murthy S. Gudipati Astrophysical Journal 800 (2015) 66 (17pp); DOI:10.1088/0004-637X/800/1/66
  21. Mixing of the Immiscible: Hydrocarbons in Water Ice Near the Ice Crystallization Temperature; Antti Lignell and Murthy S. Gudipati Journal of Physical Chemistry 119 (2015) 2607-13, DOI: 10.1021/jp509513s) NASA News Feature: NASA News Feature: Why Comets Are Like Deep Fried Ice Cream
  22. Plume Composition and Evolution in Multicomponent Ices Using Resonant Two-Step Laser Ablation and Ionization Mass Spectrometry; Bryana L. Henderson and Murthy S. Gudipati, Journal of Physical Chemistry A 118 (2014) 5454-5463; DOI: 10.1021/jp503111k
  23. Spectroscopic studies of non-volatile residue formed by photochemistry of solid C4N2: a model of condensed aerosol formation on Titan; Isabelle Couturier-Tamburelli; Murthy Gudipati; Nathalie Piétri; Antti Lignell; Ronen Jacovi Icarus 234 (2014) 81-90.
  24. Laboratory Determination of the Infrared Band Strengths of Pyrene Frozen in Water Ice: Implications for the Composition of Interstellar Ices E. E. Hardegree-Ullman, M. S. Gudipati, A. C. A. Boogert, H. Lignell, L. J. Allamandola, K. R. Stapelfeldt, M. Werner The Astrophysical Journal 784 (2014) 172 (11 pp)
  25. Novel Two-Step Laser Ablation and Ionization Mass Spectrometry (2S-LAIMS) of Actor-Spectator Ice Layers: Probing Chemical Composition of D2O Ice Beneath a H2O Ice Layer; Rui Yang, Murthy S. Gudipati J. Chem. Phys. 140 (2014) 104202 (7pp).
  26. Complementary and Emerging Techniques for Astrophysical Ices Processed in the Laboratory; M. A. Allodi, R. A. Baragiola, G. A. Baratta, M. A. Barucci, G. A. Blake, Ph. Boduch, J. R. Brucato, C. Contreras, S. H. Cuylle, D. Fulvio, M. S. Gudipati, S. Ioppolo, Z. Kañuchová, A. Lignell, H. Linnartz, M. E. Palumbo, U. Raut, H. Rothard, F. Salama, E. V. Savchenko, E. Sciamma-O'Brien, and G. Strazzulla Space Science Reviews 180 (2013) 101-175.
  27. 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”; Editor’s Choice “Simulating Titan’s Atmosphere” Science 340 (2013) 250-251.
  28. In-situ Probing of Radiation-Induced Processing of Organics in Astrophysical Ice Analogs – Novel Laser Desorption Laser Ionization Time-of-Flight Mass Spectroscopic Studies; Murthy S. Gudipati and Rui Yang Astrophysical Journal Letters 746 (2012) L24. NASA Press Release “Brewing organics on ice”.
  29. Survival Depth of Organics in Ices under Low-energy Electron Radiation; Irene Li Barnett, Antti Lignell, and Murthy S. Gudipati; Astrophysical Journal 747 (2012) 13 (11pp) – News Coverage through Astrobiology Magazine and other news agencies throughout the world.
  30. Charged Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbon Clusters and the Galactic Extended Red Emission; Young Min Rhee, Timothy J. Lee, Murthy S. Gudipati, Louis J. Allamandola, and Martin Head-Gordon; Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, USA 104 (2007) 5274. NASA Press Release: “NASA Finds Evidence for New Molecular Structure in Space”


Europa Clipper