Dr. Michael J Mumma

Dr. Michael J Mumma

  • 301.286.6994
  • Mail Code: 690
  • Greenbelt , MD 20771
  • Employer: EMERITUS
  • Positions/Employment

    2005 - Present

    Senior Scientist

    Solar System Exploration Division, NASA GSFC, Greenbelt, MD 20771
    2003 - Present

    Founder & Director, Goddard Center for Astrobiology,

    NASA Astrobiology Institute, NASA GSFC, Greenbelt, MD 20771
    2009 - Present

    Professor (Adjunct), Dept. of Astronomy

    Univ. of Maryland, College Park (MD)
    1990 - 2005

    Chief Scientist, Planetary & Astrophysical Research

    Laboratory for Extraterrestrial Physics, NASA GSFC, Greenbelt, MD 20771
    2002 - 2005

    Professor of Physics with Honors (Adjunct)

    University of Toledo, Toledo, Ohio
    1985 - 1990

    Founder & Head, Planetary Systems Branch

    Laboratory for Extraterrestrial Physics, NASA GSFC, Greenbelt, MD 20771
    1982 - 1989

    Professor (Adjunct), Dept. of Physics

    The Pennsylvania State University, State College, PA
    1984 - 1985

    Associate Chief (Acting Chief), Laboratory for Extraterrestrial Physics

    NASA GSFC, Greenbelt, MD 20771
    1977 - 1984

    Founder and Head, Infrared Astronomy Branch

    NASA GSFC, Greenbelt, MD 20771
    1979 - 1982

    Senior Research Associate, Dept. of Physics

    The Pennsylvania State University, State College, PA
    1970 - 1976

    Research Physicist, Astrochemistry Branch

    NASA GSFC, Greenbelt, MD 20771
    1975 - 1976

    Study Scientist, InfraRed Astronomy Satellite Mission (IRAS)

    NASA GSFC, Greenbelt, NMD 20771
    1973 - 1975

    Study Scientist, Cometary Explorer Satellite Missions (Three)

    NASA GSFC, Greenbelt, MD 20771

    Teaching Experience

    Theses Supervised

    • A. Khayat (Ph. D. 2016, Univ. Hawaii), “Multi-band Search for Volcanic Outgassing in the Tharsis and Syrtis Major Regions on Mars”. Co-mentored with Prof. Alan Tokunaga (Institute for Astronomy).
    • M. Lippi (Ph. D., 2010, Technische Universität Braunschweig & Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research, FRG), “The Composition of Cometary Ices as Inferred from Measured Production Rates of Volatiles”. Co-mentored with Prof. Jürgen Blum (TUB) and Dr. Hermann Böhnhardt (MPI).
    • Y. L. Radeva (Ph. D. 2010, Univ. of Maryland), " Infrared Spectroscopy of Parent Volatiles in Comets: Chemical Diversity and a New Fluorescence Model for the Ethane 5 Band”. Co-mentored with Prof. Michael A'Hearn.
    • A. Mandell (Ph. D., 2007, Pennsylvania State Univ., "Volatiles in Circumstellar Disks". Co-mentored with Prof. Steinn Sigurdsson.
    • B. Bonev (Ph. D. 2005, Univ. of Toledo), “OH Prompt emission in Comets”. Co-mentored with Prof. Philip James.
    • X. Xie (Ph. D. 1994, Univ. of Pennsylvania), "Processes Affecting Molecular Line Formation in Axisymmetric Cometary Comae". Co-mentored with Prof. Robert H. Koch.
    • J. J. Goldstein (Ph. D. 1989, Univ. of Pennsylvania), "Absolute Wind Measurements in the Lower Thermosphere of Venus Employing Infrared Heterodyne Spectrometry". Co-mentored with Prof. Benjamin S. P. Shen.
    • B. Sherwood (M. S. 1988, Univ. of Maryland), "Engineering Planetary Lasers for Interstellar Communication"). Co-mentored with Prof. Bruce K. Donaldson.
    • G. J. Stossmeister (M. S. 1984, Penn State Univ.), "Remote Sensing of the Atmosphere through Infrared Heterodyne Spectrometry: A search for Chlorine Monoxide". Co-mentored with Prof. John Olivero.
    • D. A. Glenar (Ph. D. 1981, Penn State Univ.), "Development of a Diode Laser Heterodyne Spectrometer and Observations of SiO in Sunspots". Co-mentored with Prof. John Nisbet.

    Research Fellows Supervised (NAS-NRC & NPP, ASEE (*), USRA (**), and Jove***)

    • Martin Misakian (1972-73)
    • Wayne Van Brunt (1973-74)*
    • Theodor Kostiuk (1973-74)
    • Mian Abbas (Senior, 1973-75)
    • Donald Jennings (1976-78)
    • Gordon Chin (1977-79)
    • Drake Deming (1979-80)
    • Harold A. Weaver (1981-83)
    • Jerry Rogers (1982-84)
    • H. Ulrich Käufl (1985-86)
    • David Zipoy (Senior 1986-87)
    • Uri Oppenheim (Senior, 1986-87)
    • William E. Blass (Senior, 1987; 91)*
    • Alex Storrs (1987-89)
    • Susan Hoban (1989-92)
    • Michael DiSanti (1989-92)
    • Leigh Broadhurst (1990-93)
    • Elizabeth Roettger (1991-93)**
    • Marcos Sirota (1990-93)
    • Christopher Chyba (1992-93)
    • Neil Dello Russo (1994-97)
    • Vlad Krasnopolsky (Senior, 1994-97)
    • Karen Magee-Sauer (Senior, 1995-97)***
    • Robert Novak (Senior, 1997-99)***
    • Erika Gibb (2001-03)
    • Geronimo Villanueva (2005-08)
    • Boncho P. Bonev (2006-08)
    • Avi Mandell (2007-10), NPP
    • Dennis Bodewits (2007-10), NPP
    • Yana Radeva (2010-12), NPP
    • Lucas Paganini (2010-13), NPP
    • Sara Faggi (2017-19), NPP
    • Manuela Lippi (2017- 2021), AU
    • Giuliano Liuzzi (2017 - 2020), AU




    A.B. (Physics, with Honors - 1963) Franklin and Marshall College
    Ph.D. (Physics - 1970) University of Pittsburgh
    Assorted Management Training Workshops and Courses (1975-1984)
    NASA Management Education Program (1981)

    Professional Societies

    American Physical Society, 1970 - Present
    American Astronomical Society, 1970 - Present
    American Geophysical Union, 1968 - Present
    Washington Academy of Science, 1980 - Present

    Professional Service

    • Executive Council, NASA Astrobiology Institute (member) 2003 - 2019
    • ALMA North American Science Advisory Committee (Member) 2010 – 2013
    • Laboratory Astrophysics Working Group (member, planetary & cometary issues) 2009 - 2011
    • Planetary Astronomy Review Panel (Chair, Planets and Satellites sub-panel) 2004
    • Keck Observatory Science Steering Committee (NASA Representative) 1995 - 2002.
    • Origins of Solar Systems - Management Operations Working Group 1999 - 2002.
    • Astrobiology Review Panel (NAI CAN-2) 2000.
    • NASA Infrared Telescope Facility - Keck Observatory Management Operations Working Group 1997 - 2000.
    • Keck Observatory Management Operations Working Group 1996 - 1997.
    • Origins Advisory Committee 1996 - 1997.
    • Keck Observatory Advisory Committee (NKRT) 1991-1996.
    • 26th Annual Meeting, Division of Planetary Science, Amer. Astron., Soc. (Organizer, chair, 1994).
    • NASA Infrared Telescope Facility - Management Operating Working Group 1990- 1994.
    • Planetary Astronomy Management Operations Working Group 1989 - 1998
    • Near-Earth Object Survey Working Group 1995 - 1996.
    • Planetary Systems (TOPS) Science Working Group 1988 - 1993.
    • Planetary Astronomy Review Panel 1988-1991
    • Astronomy and Astrophysics Survey Committee (NAS) 1990-91 (Panel on Planetary Astronomy; Panel on Laboratory & Theoretical Studies)
    • Orbital Planetary Telescope - NASA/ESA Science Working Group 1990-1991
    • Workshop on Planetary Science with a Ground-based 8-meter Telescope (Convenor, chair) 1990
    • Workshop on Astrophysics from the Moon (Convenor; organizer) 1990
    • PlanetenTeleskop Earth Orbital Planetary Telescope - Science Working Group 1987-90
    • Planetary Atmospheres Review Panel 1987
    • NSF Panel Review/Site Visit - New Technology Telescope Project 1987
    • NASA Infrared Telescope Facility (U. of Hawaii) - Time Allocation Committee 1986-1988
    • SSEC/Planetary Astronomy Committee 1985-1988
    • NSF Panel Review - ARC 3.5 meter Telescope 1986
    • Management Operations Working Group for Airborne Astronomy (KAO and LJO) 1983-1985
    • Mars Geoscience and Climatology Orbiter - Science Working Group 1983-1984
    • Large Deployable Reflector - Technical Advisory Committee 1983
    • National Academy of Sciences (Complex) -Summer Study on Instrument Development for Planetary Studies 1981
    • Workshop on Vibrational-Rotational Spectroscopy for Planetary Atmospheres (organizer, co-Chair) 1980
    • Heterodyne Systems and Technology Conference (organizing committee) 1980
    • Future Infrared Spaceborne Instrumentation Study 1980
    • NBS - Vibrational Spectroscopy Conference (organizing committee) 1980
    • Workshop on Solar System Studies from Earth Orbit 1980
    • Management Operations Working Group for Planetary Atmospheres 1979
    • Science Working Group on Extra-Solar Planetary Detection 1978-1979
    • Infrared Astronomy Satellite (IRAS): Intl. Science Study Team (Co-chair) 1975-1976
    • Comet Working Group 1975
    • Infrared Working Group (GSFC, organizer and Chair) 1975
    • Multi-Institutional MM/IR Working Group (organizer/chair) 1973-1974
    • Comet Mission Definition Group - European Space Research Organization (NASA representative) 1974
    • AU Colloq. No. 25 (Physics of Comets) Local Committee 1974
    • Cometary Explorer Mission: Science Study Team (Chair, three missions) 1973-1975
    • Comet Encke Mission Engineering Panel (co-Chair) 1973-1974


    Distinguished Alumni for Career Achievement & Community Leadership, Manheim Township Education Foundation 2011
    Medal for Exceptional Scientific Achievement: “In recognition of the first definitive detection of methane in the atmosphere of Mars, revealing an active and dynamic planet and a possible abode for life beyond Earth” (NASA, 2010)
    “John C. Lindsay” Memorial Award for Space Science (2009). For Leadership and scientific contributions leading to the detection of methane on Mars. NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
    Alumni Citation for Distinguished Career Achievement, Franklin & Marshall College (2008)
    Adjunct Professor of Physics with Honors, The University of Toledo (2002 — 2005)
    Asteroid 8340 (= 1985 TS1) named "Michael J. Mumma" by Intl. Astron. Union (1999)
    Medal for Exceptional Scientific Achievement: “For the first detection of saturated hydrocarbons in a cometary atmosphere” (discovery of ethane and methane in comet Hyakutake) (NASA, 1997)
    Elected to Fellowship - American Physical Society (1990)
    Medal for Exceptional Scientific Achievement: “For the first detection and characterization of cometary water; in comet Halley” (NASA, 1988)
    Elected to Fellowship - Washington Academy of Sciences (1980)
    Adjunct Professor of Physics, The Pennsylvania State University
    Nominee - Council (1984), - Chair (1987, 2006) Div. Planetary Sciences, Amer. Astron. Soc.
    Who's Who in America (since 1981); American Men and Women of Science (since 1985)
    Trustee’s Fellow (Elmer Bobst), Franklin and Marshall College (1963)
    Kershner Award (Physics), Franklin and Marshall College (1962)
    Elected to Sigma Pi Sigma (Physics Honorary Society) (1962)
    Exceptional Performance Award for Leadership in Infrared Astronomy (NASA/Goddard, 1979)
    Outstanding Performance Award (NASA/Goddard, 1978, 1983, 1986)
    Merit Achievement Awards (NASA/Goddard, 1974, 1983)
    Group Achievement Award (NASA/Ames 1987) - KAO Comet Halley Expeditions
    Group Achievement Award (NASA/Goddard, 1991) - Cosmic Background Explorer (COBE)

    Other Professional Information

    Since 1970, gave numerous (> 200) invited lectures and colloquia at major International Conferences, Workshops and Advanced Study Institutes, and at research institutions and Universities in the Americas, Asia, and in Europe. Subjects included molecular physics and spectroscopy, cometary and planetary atmospheres, and technical and programmatic topics. A complete listing is available upon request.

    Invited Reviews (Rev), Major Reports (Rpt), Chapters in Books (Ch), and Conference Proceedings (CP) edited are listed here:

    • Rpt1 - 1973 - "System Definition for Cometary Explorer - A Mission to Intercept the Comets Grigg-Skjellerup (1977) and Giacobini-Zinner (1979)", M. J. Mumma (Study Scientist) and others, GSFC X-701-73-376.
    • Rpt2 - 1975 - "Ballistic Intercept Missions to Comet Encke", final report of Comet Encke Mission Engineering Panel, ed. M. J. Mumma, NASA TMX-72542, 109 pp.
    • CP1 - 1976 - "The Study of Comets, Parts I and II", Proc. IAU Colloq. No. 25, ed. B. Donn, M. Mumma, W. Jackson, M. A'Hearn, R. Harrington, NASA SP-393, 1083 pp.
    • Rpt3 - 1976 - "IRAS-Report of the Joint Scientific Mission Definition Team for an Infrared Astronomical Satellite", M. J. Mumma (Study Scientist) and others, May.
    • Ch1 - 1982 - "High Resolution Infrared Spectroscopy - Some New Approaches and Applications to Planetary Atmospheres", M. J. Mumma, Chapter 17 of Vibrational Intensities in Infrared and Raman Spectroscopy, Ed.: W. B. Person and G. Zerbi, Studies in Physical and Theoretical Chemistry, Vol. 20 IElsevier), p. 356-385.
    • CP2 - 1982 - "Vibrational Rotational Spectroscopy for Planetary Atmospheres, Vols. I and II", ed. M. J. Mumma, K. Fox, J. Hornstein, NASA CP-2223, 773 pp.
    • CP3 - 1990 - "Astrophysics from the Moon", ed. M. J. Mumma and H. J. Smith, AIP Conference Proceedings 207, 656 pp.
    • Rev1 - 1990 - "Planetary Astronomy in the 21st Century- The Study of Planetary Systems" M. J. Mumma, Chapter 1.10 in "Astrophysics from the Moon" (ed. M. J. Mumma, and H. J. Smith), AIP Conf. Proc. 207, p. 13-29.
    • Ch2 - 1991 - "Cometary Atmospheres" M. J. Mumma, in "Ref. Encycl. Astron. and Astrophys. (ed. S. P. Maran) Van Nostrand-Reinhold.
    • Ch3 - 1991 - "Infrared Spectroscopy of Cometary Parent Molecules", H. A. Weaver, M. J. Mumma, and H. P. Larson, in Comets in the Post-Halley Era (ed. R. Newburn, Jr., M. Neugebauer, and J. Rahe), Kluwer Academic (Dordrecht), vol.1, pp. 93-106.
    • Rev2 - 1993 - "Comets and the Origin of the Solar System: Reading the Rosetta Stone", M. J. Mumma, P. R. Weissmann, and S. A. Stern, in Protostars and Planets III, Univ. of Ariz. Press, pp. 1172-1265.
    • Rev3 1993 “Natural Lasers and Masers in the Solar System”, Michael J. Mumma, in Lecture Notes in Physics vol. 412, pp. 455-467, doi: 10.1007/3-540-56343-1_301
    • Rev4 - 1997 "Organics in Comets", M. J. Mumma, in Astronomical and Biochemical Origins and the Search for Life in the Universe, eds. C. B. Cosmovici, S. Bowyer, and D. Wertheimer (Editrice Compositori, Milan), pp. 121 - 143.
    • Rev5 - 1997 "Organic Volatiles in Comets: Their Relation to Interstellar Ices and Solar Nebula Material", M. J. Mumma, in From Stardust to Planetesimals: Review Papers, eds. Y. Pendleton and A. G. G. M. Tielens, (San Francisco: Astronomical Society of the Pacific), vol. 122, pp. 369 - 396.
    • Rev6 - 2000 "Comets: A link between Interstellar and Nebular chemistry." W. F. Irvine, F. P. Schloerb, J. Crovisier, B. Fegley, and M. J. Mumma, in Protostars and Planets IV, Univ. of Ariz. Press, eds. V. Mannings, A. P. Boss, and S. S. Russell, pp. 1159 - 1200.
    • Rev7 - 2004 "The Composition of Cometary Volatiles." D. Bockelée-Morvan, J. Crovisier, M. J. Mumma, and H. A. Weaver, in Comets II, Univ. of Ariz. Press, eds. M. Festou, H. U. Keller, and H. A. Weaver, pp. 391-423.
    • Rev8 2008 "Reservoirs for Comets: Compositional Differences based on Infrared Observations." M. A. DiSanti and M. J. Mumma, in Origin and Early Evolution of Comet Nuclei (A workshop honouring Johannes Geiss on the occasion of his 80th birthday, October 2006, Bern, Switzerland), Sp. Sci. Rev. 138 (Nos. 1-4):127-145.
    • Ch4 2009 “Methane on Mars” Michael J. Mumma, in McGraw-Hill 2010 Yearbook of Science and Technology, (McGraw-Hill, London), pp. 227-231. ISBN 978-007-163928-6.
    • Rev9 2011 “The Chemical Composition of Comets — Emerging Taxonomies and Natal Heritage”. M. J. Mumma and S. B. Charnley, Ann. Rev. Astron. Astrophys. 49:471-524.
    • Rev10 2013 “Chemical and Isotopic Signatures of Cometary Volatiles and Their Cosmic Implications”. M. J. Mumma, in From Stars to Life, J. Tan (ed.), e-proceedings: http://conference.astro.ufl.edu/STARSTOLIFE/, p90, 45 pages.
    • Rev11 2015 “The Composition of Comets.” A. L. Cochran, A.-C. Levasseur-Regourd, M. Cordiner, E. Hadamcik, J. Lasue, A. Gicquel, D. G. Schleicher, S. B. Charnley, M. J. Mumma, L. Paganini, D. Bockelée-Morvan, N. Biver, Yi-J. Kuan, Sp. Sci. Rev. 197, Issue 1-4, pp. 9-46. doi: 10.1007/s11214-015-0183-6
    • Rept4 2016 “Unique Spectroscopy and Imaging of Mars with the James Webb Space Telescope”. G. L. Villanueva, Altieri, Clancy, Encrenaz, Fouchet, Hartogh, Lellouch, López-Valverde, Mumma, Novak, Smith, Vandaele, Wolff, Ferruit, and Milam, PASP 128, No. 959, 018004. doi: 10.1088/1538-3873/128/959/018004
    • Rev12 2017 “The 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko observation campaign in support of the Rosetta mission”, Snodgrass, C. and 87 co-authors, incl. M. J. Mumma. Roy Soc. Phil. Soc. Trans. A., RSPTA 375, Issue 2097, id 20160249. doi: 10.1098/rsta.2016.0249

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