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 Exoplanet Discovery and Science (3262): People
Bertrand  Mennesson's Picture
Jet Propulsion Laboratory
M/S 183-900
4800 Oak Grove Drive
Pasadena, CA 91109
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Curriculum Vitae:

Bertrand Mennesson

Dr. Bertrand Mennesson received his Ph.D. in Astrophysics and Space Techniques from Paris Diderot University in 1999, and then joined JPL as a technical staff in March 2001. His expertise is in the design, assembly and scientific exploitation of infrared interferometers and optical coronagraphs used for high contrast, high resolution astronomical imaging (IOTA, PTI, Keck, Palomar, CHARA, LBT). His main scientific interests lie in the direct detection of extrasolar planets and debris disks, stellar physics (observations / modeling of evolved stars atmospheres and dust shells), and wavefront correction / achromatization techniques. Dr Mennesson is the author or co-author of over 100 publications in specialized refereed journals and at professional conferences.

  • M.S., Engineering, Ecole des Mines, France (1993)
  • M.S., Astrophysics and Space Techniques, University of Paris VII (1994)
  • Ph.D., Astrophysics and Space Techniques, University of Paris VII (1999)

Research Interests
  • High contrast high resolution astronomical imaging
  • Extrasolar planets and debris disks
  • Evolved stars
  • Wavefront correction / achromatization techniques
  • Ultrafast lasers


Wide Field Infrared Survey Telescope (WFIRST) Icon Wide Field Infrared Survey Telescope (WFIRST)
The Wide-Field Infrared Survey Telescope (WFIRST) is a NASA observatory designed to perform wide-field imaging and surveys of the near infrared (NIR) sky.

Professional Experience
  • Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Research Scientist (2001-Present)
    • Center Study Scientist and STDT co-chair, Habitable Exoplanet Imaging Mission (HabEx) concept study. HabEx is one of 4 future flagship missions being considered by NASA.
    • Manager WFIRST/AFTA Coronagraph Data Post Processing task (2014 - Present)
    • Principal Investigator, near-infrared characterization of hot exo-zodiacal disks around nearby stars, NASA Exoplanets Research Program (2013 - Present)
    • NASA/LBTI Key Science team member. Defining data acquisition, analysis and calibration strategies for exo-zodi survey (2012 - Present)
    • Optics Lead for the Integration, Test and Scientific Commissioning of the Keck Interferometer Nulling Beam Combiner (2001-2007)
    • TPF-I Mission Deputy Project Scientist (2002-2006)
  • Leiden Observatory / ESTEC, Netherlands, Research Associate (2000)

Selected Awards
  • NASA/ Origins of Solar Systems Program : Near Infrared Characterization of Hot Exozodiacal Disks around Nearby Stars, PI, 2013 to 2015 (2013)
  • NASA/ LBTI Exo-zodi Key Science Team Award: High Accuracy Null Depth Measurements of Nearby Main Sequence Stars with the LBTI, PI, 2012 to 2015 (2012)
  • JPL Team Award for outstanding contributions to the Exoplanet Exploration Coronagraph Technology Group (2010, 2011)
  • NASA Group Achievement Award for outstanding team work in implementing the Keck Interferometer Nuller (2008)
  • NASA Group Achievement Award for developing technology for combining light from the two Keck telescopes (2005)
  • NASA Tech Brief Award 2004: A white light nulling interferometer for imaging and spectroscopy of extra-solar planetary systems (2004)

Selected Publications
  1. Mennesson, B., Millan-Gabet R., Serabyn, E. et al. 2014, Constraining the Exozodiacal luminosity function of main sequence Stars : Complete Results from the Keck Nuller Mid-Infrared Surveys, Astrophysical Journal, 797, 119.
  2. Mawet D. et al. 2013, Ring-apodized vortex coronagraphs for obscured telescopes. I. Transmissive ring apodizers, ApJS, 209, 7.
  3. Mennesson, B. et al. 2013, An Interferometric Study of the Fomalhaut Inner Debris Disk. II. Keck Nuller Mid-infrared Observations, ApJ, 763,119.
  4. Serabyn, E.; Mennesson, B.; Colavita, M. M.; Koresko, C.; Kuchner, M. J. 2012, The Keck Interferometer Nuller, ApJ, 748, 55.
  5. Mennesson B., Serabyn E., Hanot C. et al. 2011, New Constraints on Companions and Dust within a few AU of Vega, ApJ 736, 14
  6. Mennesson B., Hanot, Serabyn et al. 2011, High Contrast Stellar Observations within the Diffraction Limit at the Palomar Hale Telescope, ApJ, 743
  7. Mawet D., Mennesson B., Serabyn E. et al. 2011, A Dim Candidate Companion to epsilon Cephei, ApJ, 738, 12
  8. Hanot C., Mennesson B., Martin S. et al. 2011, Improving Interferometric Null Depth Measurements using Statistical Distributions: Theory and First Results with the Palomar Fiber Nuller, ApJ, 729, 110
  9. Millan-Gabet R., Serabyn E., Mennesson B. et al. 2011, Exozodiacal Dust Levels for Nearby Main-sequence Stars: A Survey with the Keck Interferometer Nuller, ApJ, 734, 67
  10. Serabyn E. et al. 2009, Imaging Faint Brown Dwarf Companions Close to Bright Stars with a Small, Well-corrected Telescope Aperture. ApJ 696, 40
  11. Absil O., Mennesson B., Lebouquin J.P. et al. 2009, A Study of the Fomalhaut Inner Debris Disk. I. Near-Infrared Detection of Hot Dust with VLTI/VINCI. ApJ 704, 150
  12. Serabyn E. et al. 2007, Extreme Adaptive Optics Imaging with a Clear and Well-Corrected Off-Axis Telescope Subaperture, ApJ 658, 1386
  13. Mennesson B., et al. 2005, The Dusty AGB Star RS CrB: First Mid-Infrared Interferometric Observations with the Keck Telescopes. ApJ Letters, 634, 169
  14. Cotton W.D., Mennesson B., Diamond P.J. et al. 2004. VLBA Observations of SiO Masers towards Mira variable stars. Astronomy & Astrophysics, 414, 275
  15. Chagnon G., Mennesson B., Perrin G., et al. 2002. L' Band observations of evolved stars. Astronomical Journal, 124, 2821
  16. Mennesson B., Perrin G., Coude du Foresto V. et al. 2002. Evidence for very extended gaseous layers around O-rich Miras and M giants. Astrophysical Journal, 579, 446
  17. Mennesson B., et al. 2002, Use of single-mode waveguides to correct the optical defects of a nulling interferometer, JOSA A 19, 596

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