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 Geophysics & Planetary Geosciences (3223): People
Nils  Muller's Picture
Jet Propulsion Laboratory
M/S 183-301
4800 Oak Grove Drive
Pasadena, CA 91109
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Curriculum Vitae:

Nils Muller

Nils Müller was inspired by the Netlander mission concept for Mars seismology to study geophysics. The studies lasted longer than that concept, however their conclusion coincided with the launch of the Venus Express mission. This provided the opportunity to study the surface of Venus using near infrared images, which has been Nils Müller’s main research interest since. Nils Müller then was able to apply his familiarity with infrared observations and thermal modeling to support the development of an infrared radiometer for the heat flow probe HP3 on the InSight mission.

  • Planetology (Dr. rer. nat), University of Münster, Germany, 2007 –2012. Advisor: Prof. Dr. Tilman Spohn

  • Geophysics (Dipl. Geophys.), University of Münster, Germany, 2001-2007. Advisor: Prof. Dr. Manfred Lange

Research Interests
  • Measurement and interpretation of infrared thermal emission of planetary surfaces

  • Analyzing near infrared images of Venus to derive surface emissivity and to search for active volcanism


InSight Icon InSight
InSight (Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport) is a NASA Discovery Program mission that will place a single geophysical lander on Mars to study its deep interior.

Professional Experience
  • Co-I, Mobile Asteroid Scout Radiometer, Hayabusa 2 (2012-present)

  • Post-doctoral research scholar, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, USA, (2015 – present)

  • Post-doctoral research fellow, German Aerospace Center (DLR, Berlin, Germany, (2012-2015)

  • Doctoral thesis research, German Aerospace Center (DLR), Institute of Planetary Research, Berlin, Germany (2007 – 2012)

Selected Publications
  1. Morgan, P., Smrekar, S., Lorenz, R., Grott, M., Kroemer, O., Mueller, N. (2017) Potential Effects of Surface Temperature Variations and Disturbances and Thermal Convection on the Mars InSight HP3 Heat-Flow Determination, Space Sci. Rev, doi:10.1007/s11214-017-0388-y
  2. Mueller, N., Smrekar, S., Helbert, J., Stofan, E., Piccioni, G., Drossart, P. (2017). Search for active lava flows with VIRTIS on Venus Express. J. Geophys. Res. Planets, 122(5), 1021-1045, doi: 10.1002/2016JE005211

  3. Siegler, M., S. Smrekar, M. Grott, S. Piqueux, Mueller, J.-P. Williams, A.-C. Plesa, T. Spohn (2017), The InSight Mars Lander and Its Effect on the Subsurface Thermal Environment, Space Sci Rev, doi:10.1007/s11214-017-0331-2

  4. D'Incecco, P., Mueller, J. Helbert, M. D'Amore (2017), Idunn Mons on Venus: Location and extent of recently active lava flows, Planetary and Space Science, doi:10.1016/j.pss.2016.12.002.

  5. Grott, M., J. Knollenberg, B. Borgs, F. Hänschke, E. Kessler. J. Helbert, A. Maturilli, Mueller (2016). The MASCOT Radiometer MARA for the Hayabusa 2 Mission. Space Sci Rev. doi:10.1007/s11214-016-0272-1

  6. Plesa, A.-C., M. Grott, M. T. Lemmon, Mueller, S. Piqueux, M. A. Siegler, S. E. Smrekar, and T. Spohn (2016), Interannual perturbations of the Martian surface heat flow by atmospheric dust opacity variations, J. Geophys. Res. Planets, 121, 2166–2175, doi:10.1002/2016JE005127.

  7. Stofan, E. R., Smrekar, S. E., Mueller, N., Helbert, J. (2016) Themis Regio, Venus: Evidence for recent (?) volcanism from VIRTIS data. Icarus, Vol 271, p. 375-386. doi:10.1016/j.icarus.2016.01.034

  8. Gilmore, M.S., Mueller, J. Helbert (2015): VIRTIS emissivity of Alpha Regio, Venus, with implications for tessera composition, Icarus 254, 350–361, doi:10.1016/j.icarus.2015.04.008

  9. Mueller, N., J. Helbert, S. Erard, G. Piccioni, P. Drossart (2012), Rotation Period of Venus estimated from Venus Express VIRTIS images and Magellan altimetry, Icarus, 217, 2012, doi:10.1016/j.icarus.2011.09.026.

  10. Smrekar, S.E., E.R. Stofan, Mueller, A. Treiman, L. Elkins-Tanton, J. Helbert, G. Piccioni, and P. Drossart, Recent Hotspot Volcanism on Venus from VIRTIS emissivity data, Science, 328, p. 605608, 2010, doi: 10.1126/science.1186785.

  11. Mueller, N.; J. Helbert; G. L. Hashimoto; C. C. C. Tsang; S. Erard; G. Piccioni; P. Drossart, and The VIRTIS-VEX Team: Venus surface thermal emission at one micrometer in VIRTIS imaging observations – evidence for variation of crust and mantle differentiation conditions, JGR, 2008, doi:10.1029/2008JE003118.

  12. Helbert, J., N. Mueller, P. Kostama, L. Marinangeli, G. Piccioni, and P. Drossart, Surface brightness variations seen by VIRTIS on Venus express and implications for the evolution of the Lada Terra region, Venus, Geophys. Res. Lett., 2008, doi:10.029/2008GL033609.

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