Sciences and Exploration Directorate

Brief Bio

Dr. Vladimir Airapetian is a Senior Astrophysicist at Heliophysics Science Division (HSD) /NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center and Research Professor at American University, DC. He is a PI of NASA NExSS project “Mission to Young Earth 2.0”, PI of NASA Exobiology project on initiation of life on early Earth and Mars, PI of TESS Cycle 1, Co-I of HST-XMM-Newton project "Evolving Lives of Young Suns", Co-I of ISSI team, the member of Steering Committee at NExSS and PCE3 NASA Astrobiology Research Coordination Networks. Prof. Airapetian is a member of leadership team of Sellers Exoplanet Environment Collaboration (SEEC) team.

He is also leading an interdisciplinary team of heliophysicists, astrophysicists, planetary scientists, chemists and biochemists from NASA Goddard, NASA Langley, Harvard University and Tokyo Tech to understand how extreme space weather events from the active stars affect physics and chemistry of exoplanetary habitability. Vladimir Airapetian obtained his Bachelor in Science with major in Physics from the Yerevan State University and his PhD in theoretical astrophysics from Byurakan Astrophysical Observatory in Armenia. He has over 25 years of experience in theoretical astrophysics, heliophysics and astrobiology. Prof. Airapetian specializes in the MHD modeling of solar and stellar winds, extreme coronal mass ejection events from the current and early Sun and their effects on Earth’s magnetosphere, ionosphere and thermosphere. His latest activity includes the application of state-of-the-art multidimensional heliophysics models to simulate environments of active stars and the young Sun to understand their impacts to the atmosphere of early Earth and Mars. These studies laid the foundation for the concept of initiation of biological molecules on early Earth and resolution of the Faint Young Sun’s paradox.

Research Interests

3D MHD Models of Global Coronae and Winds from Young Solar type Stars

Heliophysics: Space Weather

3D MHD Models of Superflares and Associated Extreme Coronal Mass Ejections

Heliophysics: Theory & Modeling

Simulating Prebiotic Chemistry of Early Earth with 1D Aeroplanets Code

Solar System: Astrobiology

Simulating Exoplanetary Bio-signatures from Terrestrial Type Exoplanets using 2D GSFC code

Solar System: Astrochemistry

3D MHD Dynamics of Extreme Coronal Mass Ejections (CME) with Magnetospheres of Early and Current Earth and Exoplanets

Heliophysics: Theory & Modeling

Current Projects

PI: NASA Exobiology project "Prebiotic Chemistry of Early Earth and Mars” (FY17-FY20)


PI: TESS Cycle I “Evolving Magnetic Lives of Young Suns” (FY19-FY20)


PI: SEEC ISFM: “Measuring Magnetic Field Effects in Hot Giants”

Theory & Modeling

Science PI: SEEC ISFM: “Impact of Extreme Space Weather on Climates of Terrestrial Type Exoplanets”

Extrasolar planets

Co-I SEEC ISFM "Habitability of Magnetic Exo Terrestrial Planets"

Comparative planetology

Co-I SEEC ISFM "Dynamics of Upper Atmospheres of Terrestrial Exoplanets Around Active K to M dwarfs as a Factor of Habitability"

Theory & Modeling


Theory & Modeling

Production of Nitrates on Early Mars via Activity from the Young Sun

Teaching Experience

208-2014  Research Associate Professor at George Mason University

Teaching Introductory Astronomy course, ASTR 111 and ASTR 113 
Online Astronomy Courses at Capella University


Research Professor

Department of Physics, American University DC - Washington, DSC

September 2018 - Present

Perform heliospheric and astrobiilogy related research projects

Distinguished Visiting Professor

Kyoto University - Kyoto, Japan

February 2022 - Present

Impact of Stellar Energetic Particles on Atmospheres and Surfaces of Rocky Exoplanets

Astrobiology Course for Kyoto University


1989 PhD in Astrophysics, Byurakan Observatory & Kurchatov Energy Center

1982 B.Sci. and M.Sci. in Astroinomy (summa cum laude), Yerevan State University, Armenia

Professional Societies

Full Member of International Astronomical Union

2012 - Present

Full member of American Geophysical Union

2015 - Present

Full member of American Astronomical Society (AAS)

1995 - Present

Full member of SPD/AAS

2008 - Present

Japanese Geophysical Society (JpGU)

Full member

2019 - Present

Asia Oceania Geophysical Society (AOGS)

Full member

2019 - Present

Armenian Astronomical Society (ArAS)

Full member

2010 - Present

Professional Service

Member (or chair) of NASA HSD, ASD, PSD (exoplanetary science and astrobiology) peer review panel.

Reviewer of professional papers in Nature Geoscience, Nature Astronomy, Geosciences, ApJ, ApJ Let, Astrobiology



Toriumi, S., V. S. Airapetian, H. S. Hudson, et al. C. J. Schrijver, M. C. Cheung, and M. L. DeRosa. 2020. Sun-as-a-star Spectral Irradiance Observations of Transiting Active Regions The Astrophysical Journal 902 (1): 36 [10.3847/1538-4357/abadf9]

Gilbert, E. A., T. Barclay, J. E. Schlieder, et al. E. V. Quintana, B. J. Hord, V. B. Kostov, E. D. Lopez, J. F. Rowe, K. Hoffman, L. M. Walkowicz, M. L. Silverstein, J. E. Rodriguez, A. Vanderburg, G. Suissa, V. S. Airapetian, M. S. Clement, S. N. Raymond, A. W. Mann, E. Kruse, J. J. Lissauer, K. D. Colón, R. K. Kopparapu, L. Kreidberg, S. Zieba, K. A. Collins, S. N. Quinn, S. B. Howell, C. Ziegler, E. H. Vrijmoet, F. C. Adams, G. N. Arney, P. T. Boyd, J. Brande, C. J. Burke, L. Cacciapuoti, Q. Chance, J. L. Christiansen, G. Covone, T. Daylan, D. Dineen, C. D. Dressing, Z. Essack, T. J. Fauchez, B. Galgano, A. R. Howe, L. Kaltenegger, S. R. Kane, C. Lam, E. J. Lee, N. K. Lewis, S. E. Logsdon, A. M. Mandell, T. Monsue, F. Mullally, S. E. Mullally, R. R. Paudel, D. Pidhorodetska, P. Plavchan, N. T. Reyes, S. A. Rinehart, B. Rojas-Ayala, J. C. Smith, K. G. Stassun, P. Tenenbaum, L. D. Vega, G. L. Villanueva, E. T. Wolf, A. Youngblood, G. R. Ricker, R. K. Vanderspek, D. W. Latham, S. Seager, J. N. Winn, J. M. Jenkins, G. Bakos, C. Briceño, D. R. Ciardi, R. Cloutier, D. M. Conti, A. Couperus, M. Di Sora, N. L. Eisner, M. E. Everett, T. Gan, J. D. Hartman, T. Henry, G. Isopi, W.-C. Jao, E. L. Jensen, N. Law, F. Mallia, R. A. Matson, B. J. Shappee, M. Le Wood, and J. G. Winters. 2020. The First Habitable-zone Earth-sized Planet from TESS. I. Validation of the TOI-700 System The Astronomical Journal 160 (3): 116 [10.3847/1538-3881/aba4b2]

Boro Saikia, S., M. Jin, C. P. Johnstone, et al. T. Lüftinger, M. Güdel, V. S. Airapetian, K. G. Kislyakova, and C. P. Folsom. 2020. The solar wind from a stellar perspective Astronomy & Astrophysics 635 A178 [10.1051/0004-6361/201937107]

Gronoff, G., R. Maggiolo, G. Cessateur, et al. W. B. Moore, V. Airapetian, J. De Keyser, F. Dhooghe, A. Gibbons, H. Gunell, C. J. Mertens, M. Rubin, and S. Hosseini. 2020. The Effect of Cosmic Rays on Cometary Nuclei. I. Dose Deposition The Astrophysical Journal 890 (1): 89 [10.3847/1538-4357/ab67b9]

Kay, C., V. S. Airapetian, T. Lüftinger, and O. Kochukhov. 2019. Frequency of Coronal Mass Ejection Impacts with Early Terrestrial Planets and Exoplanets around Active Solar-like Stars The Astrophysical Journal 886 (2): L37 [10.3847/2041-8213/ab551f]

Rau, G., K. Ohnaka, M. Wittkowski, V. Airapetian, and K. G. Carpenter. 2019. Constraining stellar parameters and atmospheric dynamics of the carbon AGB star V Oph ApJ 882 (37): 16 [10.3847/1538-4357/ab3419]

Yamashiki, Y. A., H. Maehara, V. Airapetian, et al. Y. Notsu, T. Sato, S. Notsu, R. Kuroki, K. Murashima, H. Sato, K. Namekata, T. Sasaki, T. B. Scott, H. Bando, S. Nashimoto, F. Takagi, C. Ling, D. Nogami, and K. Shibata. 2019. Impact of Stellar Superflares on Planetary Habitability The Astrophysical Journal 881 (2): 114 [10.3847/1538-4357/ab2a71]

Airapetian, V. S., R. Barnes, O. Cohen, et al. G. A. Collinson, W. C. Danchi, C. F. Dong, A. D. Del Genio, K. France, K. Garcia-Sage, A. Glocer, N. Gopalswamy, J. L. Grenfell, G. Gronoff, M. Güdel, K. Herbst, W. G. Henning, C. H. Jackman, M. Jin, C. P. Johnstone, L. Kaltenegger, C. D. Kay, K. Kobayashi, W. Kuang, G. Li, B. J. Lynch, T. Lüftinger, J. G. Luhmann, H. Maehara, M. G. Mlynczak, Y. Notsu, R. A. Osten, R. M. Ramirez, S. Rugheimer, M. Scheucher, J. E. Schlieder, K. Shibata, C. Sousa-Silva, V. Stamenković, R. J. Strangeway, A. V. Usmanov, P. Vergados, O. P. Verkhoglyadova, A. A. Vidotto, M. Voytek, M. J. Way, G. P. Zank, and Y. Yamashiki. 2019. Impact of space weather on climate and habitability of terrestrial-type exoplanets International Journal of Astrobiology 19 (2): 136-194 [10.1017/s1473550419000132]

Lynch, B. J., V. S. Airapetian, C. R. DeVore, et al. M. D. Kazachenko, T. Lüftinger, O. Kochukhov, L. Rosén, and W. P. Abbett. 2019. Modeling a Carrington-scale Stellar Superflare and Coronal Mass Ejection from Kappa Ceti Astrophysical Journal 880 97 [10.3847/1538-4357/ab287e]

Fu, S., Y. Jiang, V. Airapetian, et al. J. Hu, G. Li, and G. Zank. 2019. Effect of Star Rotation Rate on the Characteristics of Energetic Particle Events The Astrophysical Journal 878 (2): L36 [10.3847/2041-8213/ab271d]

Airapetian, V. 2019. Impacts of Space Weather on Climate and Habitability of Terrestrial Type Exoplanets Special Issue of International Journal of Astrobiology (Open Acess): 206

Saxena, P., R. M. Killen, V. Airapetian, et al. N. E. Petro, N. M. Curran, and A. M. Mandell. 2019. Was the Sun a Slow Rotator? Sodium and Potassium Constraints from the Lunar Regolith The Astrophysical Journal 876 (1): L16 [10.3847/2041-8213/ab18fb]

Rau, G., K. E. Nielsen, K. G. Carpenter, and V. Airapetian. 2018. HST/GHRS Observations of Cool, Low-gravity Stars. VI. Mass-loss Rates and Wind Parameters for M Giants The Astrophysical Journal 869 (1): 1 [10.3847/1538-4357/aaf0a0]

Airapetian, V. S. 2018. Terrestrial planets under the young Sun Nature Astronomy 2 (6): 448-449 [10.1038/s41550-018-0490-4]

Henning, W. G., J. P. Renaud, A. M. Mandell, et al. P. Saxena, T. A. Hurford, S. Matsumura, L. S. Glaze, T. A. Livengood, V. Airapetian, E. Asphaug, J. K. Teske, E. Schwieterman, M. Efroimsky, V. V. Makarov, C. T. Berghea, J. Bleacher, A. Rushby, Y. Lee, W. Kuang, R. Barnes, C. Dong, P. Driscoll, S. D. Domagal-Goldman, N. C. Schmerr, A. D. Del Genio, A. G. Jensen, L. Kaltenegger, L. Elkins-Tanton, E. L. Shock, L. E. Sohl, E. Quintana, L. Schaefer, T. S. Barclay, Y. Fujii, K. Hamano, N. E. Petro, E. D. Lopez, and D. D. Sasselov. 2018. Exoplanet Science Priorities from the Perspective of Internal and Surface Processes for Silicate and Ice Dominated Worlds National Academy of Sciences 2018 Exoplanet Science Strategy White Paper

Dong, C., M. Jin, M. Lingam, et al. V. S. Airapetian, Y. Ma, and B. van der Holst. 2017. Atmospheric escape from the TRAPPIST-1 planets and implications for habitability Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 115 (2): 260-265 [10.1073/pnas.1708010115]

Airapetian, V. S., C. H. Jackman, M. Mlynczak, W. Danchi, and L. Hunt. 2017. Atmospheric Beacons of Life from Exoplanets Around G and K Stars Scientific Reports 7 (1): 14141 [10.1038/s41598-017-14192-4]

Karmakar, S., J. C. Pandey, V. S. Airapetian, and K. Misra. 2017. X-Ray Superflares on CC Eri The Astrophysical Journal 840 (2): 102 [10.3847/1538-4357/aa6cb0]

Airapetian, V. S., A. Glocer, G. V. Khazanov, et al. R. O. Loyd, K. France, J. Sojka, W. C. Danchi, and M. W. Liemohn. 2017. How Hospitable Are Space Weather Affected Habitable Zones? The Role of Ion Escape The Astrophysical Journal 836 (1): L3 [10.3847/2041-8213/836/1/l3]

Airapetian, V. S., A. Glocer, G. Gronoff, E. Hébrard, and W. Danchi. 2016. Prebiotic chemistry and atmospheric warming of early Earth by an active young Sun Nature Geoscience 9 (6): 452-455 [10.1038/ngeo2719]

Kramar, M., V. Airapetian, Z. Mikic, and J. Davila. 2014. 3D Coronal Density Reconstruction and Retrieving the Magnetic Field Structure during Solar Minimum SOLAR PHYSICS 289 2927-2944 [10.1007/s11207-014-0525-7]

Chamberlin, P. C., J. Allred, V. Airapetian, et al. Q. Gong, J. Fontenla, S. McIntosh, and B. Pontieu. 2011. Lyman Alpha Spicule Observatory (LASO) Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society 1506-

Airapetian, V., L. Ofman, E. C. Sittler, and M. Kramar. 2011. Probing the Thermodynamics and Kinematics of Solar Coronal Streamers The Astrophysical Journal 728 67 [10.1088/0004-637X/728/1/67]

Carpenter, K. G., C. J. Schrijver, M. Karovska, et al. S. Kraemer, R. Lyon, D. Mozurkewich, V. Airapetian, J. C. Adams, R. J. Allen, A. Brown, F. Bruhweiler, A. Conti, J. Christensen-Dalsgaard, S. Cranmer, M. Cuntz, W. Danchi, A. Dupree, M. Elvis, N. Evans, M. Giampapa, G. Harper, K. Hartman, A. Labeyrie, J. Leitner, C. Lillie, J. L. Linsky, A. Lo, K. Mighell, D. Miller, C. Noecker, J. Parrish, J. Phillips, T. Rimmele, S. Saar, D. Sasselov, H. P. Stahl, E. Stoneking, K. Strassmeier, F. Walter, R. Windhorst, B. Woodgate, and R. Woodruff. 2010. Stellar Imager (SI): developing and testing a predictive dynamo model for the Sun by imaging other stars eprint arXiv:10115214 1011 5214

Airapetian, V., K. G. Carpenter, and L. Ofman. 2010. Winds from Luminous Late-type Stars II Broadband Frequency Distribution of Alfvén Waves The Astrophysical Journal 723 1210 [10.1088/0004-637X/723/2/1210]

Airapetian, V., and J. Klimchuk. 2009. Models of Impulsively Heated Solar Active Regions AAS/Solar Physics Division Meeting #40 40 #12.02-

Airapetian, V., L. Ofman, E. C. Sittler, and M. Kramar. 2009. Dynamics of Coronal Streamers: 2.5D MHD simulations with semi-empirical heating and momentum terms AGU Fall Meeting Abstracts 1657-

Airapetian, V. S., L. Ofman, R. D. Robinson, K. Carpenter, and J. Davila. 2000. Winds from Luminous Late-Type Stars I The Effects of Nonlinear Alfvén Waves The Astrophysical Journal 528 965 [10.1086/308198]


Saxena, P., R. M. Killen, V. Airapetian, et al. N. E. Petro, N. M. Curran, and A. M. Mandell. 2019. The Sun was likely a Slow Rotator: Lunar Geochemical Constraints LPI (50.3050s):

Saxena, P., R. Killen, V. Airapetian, et al. N. Petro, N. Curran, and A. Mandell. 2019. The Sun was likely a Slow Rotator: Lunar Geochemical Constraints Lunar and Planetary Science Conference 50