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 Exoplanet Discovery and Science (3262): People
Renyu  Hu's Picture
Jet Propulsion Laboratory
M/S 183-301
4800 Oak Grove Drive
Pasadena, CA 91109
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Curriculum Vitae:

Renyu Hu

Dr. Renyu Hu is a planetary scientist interested in the atmosphere, evolution, and habitability of planets in the Solar System and exoplanets. Dr. Hu received his Ph.D. in planetary science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2013, and joined JPL as a research scientist in 2015. His expertise is in the modeling of physical and chemical processes that determine the chemical composition and evolution of atmospheres on planets and exoplanets, as well as remote sensing of exoplanet atmospheres. Recently, his research has led to evidence for a moderately dense early atmosphere on Mars, and a suggestion of helium atmospheres as a result of extensive atmospheric evolution of some short-period exoplanets. He has also pioneered a method to detect cloud distributions from exoplanet phase curves and to detect surface minerals on bare-rock exoplanets. The ultimate goal of his research is to answer one of the most intriguing questions of humankind: "are we alone in the Universe?”

  • Ph.D. Planetary Science, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (2013)
  • M.S. Astrophysics, Tsinghua University (2009)
  • Diplome d'Ingenieur, Ecole Centrale Paris (2009)
  • B.S. Mathematics and Physics, Tsinghua University (2007)

Research Interests
  • Atmosphere chemistry of planets in the Solar System and exoplanets
  • Evolution of the atmospheres of Neptune- and sub-Neptune-sized Exoplanets
  • Evolution of rocky planets in the Solar System, including the evolution of Mars atmosphere
  • Direct imaging of exoplanets: spectral characteristics and retrieval
  • Habitability and potential biosignature gases of terrestrial exoplanets
  • Exploration of bare-rock exoplanets
  • Project/Space Missions
    • WFIRST
      • Member of the Wide-Field Infrared Survey Telescope (WFIRST) Formulation Science Team and Coronagraph Science Investigation Teams

Professional Experience
  • Jet Propulsion Laboratory
    • Research Scientist (2015-present)
    • Hubble Postdoctoral Fellow (2013-2015)
  • California Institute of Technology
    • Assistant Scientist (2013)

Community Service
  • Reviewer for ApJ, ApJS, A&A, EPSL, GRL, Icarus, Astrobiology
  • Panel Reviewer for NASA Planetary Atmospheres Program, NASA Mars Data Analysis Program, NASA Exoplanet Research Program, NASA Astrophysics Research and Analysis Program, NSF Astronomy and Astrophysics Postdoctoral Fellowship, and NASA Earth and Space Science Fellowship
  • Panel Reviewer for Hubble Space Telescope Cycle 23
  • Member of the Astrophysics Colloquium Committee
  • Member of NASA ExoPAG Study Analysis Group 15 on Science Questions for Direct Imaging Exoplanet Missions
  • Member of NASA ExoPAG Study Analysis Group 16 on Exoplanet Biosignatures

Selected Awards
  • NASA Hubble Fellowship (2013)
  • Barrett Prize, MIT (2012)
  • NASA Earth and Space Science Fellowship (2011)
  • Presidential Fellowship, MIT (2009)
  • Wu You-Xun Prize, Tsinghua University (2009)

Selected Publications
  1. Isabel Angelo and Renyu Hu (2017), A Case for an Atmosphere on Super-Earth 55 Cancri e, AJ, submitted
  2. Ji Wang, Dimitri Mawet, Garreth Ruane, Renyu Hu, and Björn Benneke (2017), Observing Exoplanets with High Dispersion Coronagraphy. I. The scientific potential of current and next-generation large ground and space telescopes, AJ, 153, 183
  3. Renyu Hu, Anthony Bloom, Peter Gao, Charles E. Miller, and Yuk L. Yung (2016), Hypotheses for near-surface exchange of methane on Mars, Astrobiology, 16, 539
  4. Brice-Oliver Demory, Michael Gillon, Julien de Wit, Nikku Madhusudhan, Emeline Bolmont, Kevin Heng, Tiffany Kataria, Nikole Lewis, Renyu Hu, Jessican Krick, Vlada Stamenkovic, Björn Benneke, Stephen Kane, and Didier Queloz (2016), A map of the large day-night temperature gradient of a super-Earth exoplanet, Nature, 532, 207
  5. Renyu Hu, David Kass, Bethany L. Ehlmann, and Yuk L. Yung (2015), Tracing the Fate of Carbon and the Atmospheric Evolution of Mars, Nature Communications, 6, 10003
  6. Renyu Hu, Sara Seager, and Yuk L. Yung (2015),  Helium Atmospheres on Warm Neptune- and Sub-Neptune-Sized Exoplanets and Applications to GJ 436 b, ApJ, 807, 8
  7. Renyu Hu, Brice-Olivier Demory, Sara Seager, Nikole Lewis, and Adam P. Showman (2015), A Semi-Analytical Model of Visible-Wavelength Phase Curves of Exoplanets and Applications to Kepler-7 b and Kepler-10 b, ApJ, 802, 51
  8. Avi Shporer and Renyu Hu (2015), Studying Atmosphere-Dominated Kepler Phase Curves, AJ, 150, 4
  9. Peter Gao, Renyu Hu, Tyler Robinson, Cheng Li, and Yuk L. Yung (2015), Stabilization of CO2 Atmospheres on Exoplanets around M Dwarf Stars, ApJ, 806, 249
  10. Renyu Hu, and Sara Seager (2014), Photochemistry in Terrestrial Exoplanet Atmospheres III: Photochemistry and Thermochemistry in Thick Atmospheres on Super Earths, ApJ, 784, 63
  11. Renyu Hu, Sara Seager, and William Bains (2013), Photochemistry in Terrestrial Exoplanet Atmospheres II: H2S and SO2 Photochemistry in Anoxic Atmospheres, ApJ, 769, 6
  12. Renyu Hu, Sara Seager, and William Bains (2012), Photochemistry in Terrestrial Exoplanet Atmospheres I: Photochemistry Model and Benchmark Cases, ApJ 761, 166
  13. Renyu Hu, Kerri Cahoy, and Maria T. Zuber (2012), Mars CO2 Condensation Above The North and South Poles Revealed by Radio Occultation, Climate Sounding, and Laser Ranging, JGR, 117, E07002
  14. Renyu Hu, Bethany L. Ehlmann, and Sara Seager (2012), Theoretical Spectra of Terrestrial Exoplanet Surfaces, ApJ, 752, 7.
  15. Renyu Hu (2010), Transport of the First Rocks of the Solar System by X-winds, ApJ, 725, 1421
  16. Renyu Hu and Yu-Qing Lou (2009), Magnetic Massive Stars as Magnetar Progenitors, MNRAS, 396, 878
  17. Renyu Hu, Yulia V. Bogdanova, Christopher J. Owen, Claire Foullon, Andrew N. Fazakerley, and Henri Rème (2008), Cluster Observations of the Mid-Altitude Cusp under Strong Northward Interplanetary Magnetic Field, JGR, 113, A07S05

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