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Daniel Nunes

Photo of Daniel Nunes


4800 Oak Grove Drive

Pasadena, CA 91109


818 393-5317


818 354-2494

Member of:

Planetary Interiors and Geophysics

SHARAD Investigation Scientist


  • Ph.D., Earth and Planetary Sciences, Washington University (2004)
  • M.A, Earth and Planetary Sciences, Washington University (2000)
  • B.S., Astronomy, University of Kansas (1997)
  • B.S., Physics, University of Kansas (1997)

Professional Experience

  • Scientist - Jet Propulsion Laboratory (2011-present)
    • Mars2020 Project as the Investigation Scientist for the Radar Imager for Mars' Subsurface Exploration (RIMFAX) instrument (2015 - Present)
    • Shallow Radar (SHARAD) Investigation Scientist
    • MRO Payload Operations Support Team (POST) member
  • Caltech Post-Doctoral Scholar - Jet Propulsion Laboratory (2008-2010)
  • Post-Doctoral Fellow - Lunar and Planetary Institute (2004-2007)
  • Graduate Research and Teaching Assistant - Washington University (1998-2004)
  • Graduate Teaching Assistant - University of Kansas (1997-1998)
  • Summer Intern - Jet Propulsion Laboratory (1997)

Research Interests

  • Tectonic deformation and history of planetary lithospheres
  • Spectral analysis of gravity and topography to reveal planetary interior structures and lithospheric evolution
  • Radar sounding of planetary subsurfaces

Selected Awards

  • NASA Group Achievement Award MSL Relay Operations Team (2013)
  • NASA Group Achievement Award NGIS Development Team (2012)
  • NASA Group Achievement Award MRO SHARAD Science Team (2011)
  • NASA Group Achievement Award MRO Gravity Science Team (2011)
  • NASA's Carl Sagan Early Career Award (2007)
  • NASA's Planetary Geology & Geophysics Undergraduate Research Program (1997)
  • Wyman Storer Award for unselfish service to the Astronomy program at the University of Kansas (1997)
  • Institute of International Education Scholarship Award - National-scale (Brazil) competition for a scholarship at an American university (1991)

Selected Publications

  1. C. J. Bierson, R. J. Phillips, I. B. Smith, S. E. Wood, N. E. Putzig, D. Nunes and S. Byrne, Stratigraphy and evolution of the buried CO2 deposit in the Martian south polar cap, Geophysical Research Letters, 43 4172-4179, 10.1002/2016GL068457, 2016.
  2. M. Restano, J. J. Plaut, B. A. Campbell, Y. Gim, D. Nunes, F. Bernardini, A. Egan, R. Seu, R. J. Phillips, Effects of the passage of Comet C/2013 A1 (Siding Spring) observed by the Shallow Radar (SHARAD) on Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, Geophysical Research Letters, 42, 4663-4669, 10.1002/2015GL064150, 2015.
  3. D. Thompson, R. O. Green, D. Keymeulen, Y. Mouradi, S. Lundeen, D. Nunes, R. Castano, S. Chien, Rapid spectral cloud screening onboard aircraft and spacecraft, Transactions on Geoscience and Remote Sensing, 52, 6779-6792, 2014.
  4. R. J. Phillips et al. with D. C. Nunes, Massive CO2 deposits sequestered in the south polar layered deposits of Mars, Science, 332, 838-841, 2011.
  5. D. C. Nunes, S. E. Smrekar, B. Fisher, et al., SHARAD, pedestal craters, and the lost Martian layers - Initial Assessments, Journal of Geophysical Research, 116, E04006 10.1029/2010JE003690, 2011.
  6. A. S. Konopliv, S. Asmar, W. M. Folkner, O. Karatekin, D. Nunes, S. Smrekar, C. F. Yoder, and M. Zuber, Mars high resolution gravity fields from MRO, Mars seasonal gravity, and other dynamical parameters, Icarus, 211, 401-428, 2011.
  7. D. C. Nunes, S. E. Smrekar, R. Seu, R. J. Phillips, A. Safaeinili, J. Holt, and the SHARAD Team, Examination of gully sites on Mars with the Shallow Radar, Journal of Geophysical Research, 115, E10004, doi:10.1029/2009JE003509, 2010.
  8. D. C. Nunes and R. J. Phillips, Effect of initial compensation state on the relaxation of crustal plateaus on Venus, Journal of Geophysical Research, E10002, 10.1029/2006JE2861, 2007.
  9. R. Seu et al. with D. Nunes, SHARAD sounding radar on the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, Journal of Geophysical Research, E05S05, 10.1029/2006JE002745, 2007.
  10. D. C. Nunes and R. J. Phillips, Radar Subsurface Mapping of the Polar Layered Deposits on Mars, Journal of Geophysical Research, 111, E06S21, 10.1029/2005JE002609, 2006.
  11. R. R. Ghent, R. J. Phillips, V. L. Hansen, and D. C. Nunes, Finite element modeling of short-wavelength contractional deformation on Venus: implications for the hotspot model for crustal plateau formation, Journal of Geophysical Research, 110, E11006, 10.1029/2005JE002522, 2005.
  12. D. C. Nunes, Worlds apart: Geophysical modeling of the evolution of crustal plateaus on Venus and the propagation of radar through the Martian polar layered terrains, PhD Thesis, Washington University in St. Louis, 2004.
  13. D. C. Nunes, R. J. Phillips, C. D. Brown, and A. J. Dombard, Relaxation of Compensated Topography and the Evolution of Crustal Plateaus on Venus, Journal of Geophysical Research, 109(E1), E01006, 10.1029/2003JE002119, 2004.