Dr. Vishnu Viswanathan

Dr. Vishnu Viswanathan

  • ASSISTANT RESEARCH SCIENTIST
  • 301.614.6466
  • NASA/GSFC
  • Mail Code: 698
  • Greenbelt , MD 20771
  • Employer: UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND BALTIMORE CO
  • Brief Bio

    Dr. Vishnu Viswanathan’s research is focused on the analysis of tracking data such as radio, laser and images, to determine the geophysical, orbital, and rotational properties of planetary bodies. In 2017, Dr. Viswanathan improved the orbital-rotational dynamical model of the Moon and fitted it to over five decades of lunar laser ranging (LLR) data with gravity field constraints from the NASA GRAIL mission. This model is one of the three primary references in the world that provides high-precision planetary and lunar ephemerides. In 2018, Dr. Viswanathan used this model to perform a fundamental physics test of the universality of free fall using the Earth-Moon system as test bodies, improving upon previous constraints on the principle of equivalence. In 2019, Dr. Viswanathan further expanded the capabilities of this model resulting in the strongest constraint known for the shape and size of the lunar core-mantle boundary. In 2020, Dr. Viswanathan published two white papers submitted to the Committee on the Planetary Science Decadal Survey (2023-2032) of the National Academies of Sciences/USA, and to the Artemis III Science Definition Team, representing the interests, objectives and goals of the global LLR instrument, data analysis and observer community. In 2022, Dr. Viswanathan founded a Lunar Data Analysis Center at UMBC/NASA GSFC affiliated with the International Laser Ranging Service. Dr. Viswanathan is currently at NASA GSFC employed by UMBC under the CRESST II cooperative agreement.

    Personal webpage/Linktr.ee

    Research Interests

    Planetary interiors

    Lunar Laser Ranging

    Ephemeris

    Radioscience

    Positions/Employment

    8/2021 - Present

    Asst. Research Scientist

    NASA Goddard Space Flight Center | UMBC CRESST II, Greenbelt, MD, USA
    4/2019 - 8/2021

    Post-doctoral Research Associate

    NASA Goddard Space Flight Center | UMBC CRESST II, Greenbelt, MD, USA
    11/2017 - 3/2019

    Post-doctoral Researcher

    Institut de Méchanique Céleste et de Calcul des Éphéphérides (IMCCE), Observatoire de Paris, Paris, France
    10/2017 - 11/2017

    Research Engineer

    Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS), Sophia Antipolis, France
    10/2014 - 9/2017

    Doctoral researcher

    Observatoire de Paris & Observatoire de la Côte d'Azur, France

    Education

    Ph.D. 2017, Astronomy and Astrophysics, Observatoire de Paris - France, "Improving the dynamical model of the Moon using lunar laser ranging (LLR) and spacecraft data", Supervisors: Prof. Agnès Fienga and Prof. Jacques Laskar

    M.S. 2013, Space Systems Engineering, Institut Supérieur de l'Aéronautique et de l'Espace, Toulouse - France, "Emulation of a geostationary channel using software-defined radio platform", Supervisor: Prof. Laurent Franck

    B.Tech. 2011, Electronics and Communication Engineering, National Institute of Technology, Trichy - India

    Professional Societies

    American Geophysical Union, 2019 - Present
    Affiliate
    European Geophysical Union, 2016 - Present
    Affiliate
    Division for Planetary Science, 2021 - Present
    Affiliate
    International Laser Ranging Service, 2022 - Present
    Associate member

    Professional Service

    Reviewer for ApJL, A&A, ASR, CMDA, ESS, JGeod, JGR:Pla, PSJ, Universe

    Reviewer for NASA HQ’s ROSES program as Panelist/External Reviewer

    Grants

    03/01/2021 - 02/29/2024 Cassini Data Analysis Program, NASA HQ Science Mission Directorate, NASA NRA #: NNH20ZDA001N

    Independent Measurement of Saturn's Dissipation using Cassini Astrometric Data

    ; PI
    11/15/2017 - 11/15/2018 Post-doctoral research grant, LABEX Exploration Spatiale des Environments Planétaires - France

    Study of the interior structure of the Moon using lunar laser ranging data

    ; 1.0 FTE
    10/01/2014 - 09/30/2017 Doctoral research grant, Ministry of Higher Education, Research and Innovation - France

    Improving the dynamical model of the Moon using lunar laser ranging (LLR) and spacecraft data

    ; 3.0 FTE

    Publications

    Refereed

    Smith, D. E., V. Viswanathan, E. Mazarico, et al. S. Goossens, J. W. Head, G. A. Neumann, and M. T. Zuber. 2022. "The Contribution of Small Impact Craters to Lunar Polar Wander." The Planetary Science Journal, 3: 217 [10.3847/PSJ/ac8c39]

    Ermakov, A. I., R. S. Park, J. Roa, et al. J. C. Castillo-Rogez, J. T. Keane, F. Nimmo, E. S. Kite, C. Sotin, T. J. Lazio, G. Steinbrügge, S. M. Howell, B. G. Bills, D. J. Hemingway, V. Viswanathan, G. Tobie, and V. Lainey. 2021. "A Recipe for the Geophysical Exploration of Enceladus." The Planetary Science Journal, 2 (4): 157 [10.3847/psj/ac06d2]

    Mazarico, E., X. Sun, J.-M. Torre, et al. C. Courde, J. Chabé, M. Aimar, H. Mariey, N. Maurice, M. K. Barker, D. Mao, D. R. Cremons, S. Bouquillon, T. Carlucci, V. Viswanathan, F. G. Lemoine, A. Bourgoin, P. Exertier, G. A. Neumann, M. T. Zuber, and D. E. Smith. 2020. "First Two-way Laser Ranging to a Lunar Orbiter: infrared observations from the Grasse station to LRO’s retro-reflector array ." Earth, Planets and Space, [Full Text (Link)] [10.1186/s40623-020-01243-w]

    Viswanathan, V., N. Rambaux, A. Fienga, J. Laskar, and M. Gastineau. 2019. "Observational constraint on the radius and oblateness of the lunar core-mantle boundary." Geophysical Research Letters, 46: [10.1029/2019GL082677]

    Viswanathan, V., A. Fienga, O. Minazzoli, et al. L. Bernus, J. Laskar, and M. Gastineau. 2018. "The new lunar ephemeris INPOP17a and its application to fundamental physics." Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 476: 1877-1888 [10.1093/mnras/sty096]

    Courde, C., J. M. Torre, E. Samain, et al. G. Martinot-Lagarde, M. Aimar, D. Albanese, P. Exertier, A. Fienga, H. Mariey, G. Metris, H. Viot, and V. Viswanathan. 2017. "Lunar laser ranging in infrared at the Grasse laser station." Astronomy & Astrophysics, 602: A90 [10.1051/0004-6361/201628590]

    Non-Refereed

    Ermakov, A., J. C. Castillo-Rogez, R. S. Park, et al. C. Sotin, J. Lazio, S. M. Howell, J. T. Keane, D. J. Hemingway, F. Nimmo, E. Kite, V. Viswanathan, G. Steinbrügge, G. Tobie, and V. Lainey. 2021. "A Recipe for Geophysical Exploration of Enceladus." Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society 53 (4): [10.3847/25c2cfeb.b65f2c4c]

    Viswanathan, V., E. Mazarico, S. Merkowitz, et al. J. G. Williams, S. G. Turyshev, D. G. Currie, A. I. Ermakov, N. Rambaux, A. Fienga, C. Courde, J. Chabé, J.-M. Torre, A. Bourgoin, U. Schreiber, T. M. Eubanks, C. Wu, D. Dequal, S. Dell'Agnello, L. Biskupek, J. Müller, and S. Kopeikin. 2021. "Extending Science from Lunar Laser Ranging." Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society 53 (4): [10.3847/25c2cfeb.3dc2e5e4]

    Viswanathan, V., A. Fienga, M. Gastineau, and J. Laskar. 2017. "INPOP17a planetary ephemerides." Notes Scientifiques et Techniques de l'Institut de mécanique céleste S108: ISBN: 2-910015-79-3. [Full Text (Link)] [10.13140/RG.2.2.24384.43521]

    Courde, C., J.-M. Torre, E. Samain, et al. G. Martinot-Lagarde, M. Aimar, D. Albanese, N. Maurice, H. Mariey, H. Viot, P. Exertier, A. Fienga, and V. Viswanathan. 2017. "Satellite and lunar laser ranging in infrared." Proceedings of the SPIE Conference on Photon Counting Applications, 2017 10229: UNSP 102290K [10.1117/12.2270573]

    Talks, Presentations and Posters

    Invited

    Orientation of the Moon using Lunar Laser Ranging data & GRAIL gravity field

    11 / 2022

    Invited by NASA HQ/ESD to talk at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, La Jolla, CA during the Solid Earth Team (SET) meeting (November 7-11; consisting of ~200 participants) organized by NASA Earth Surface and Interior (ESI) focus group.

    Extending Science from Lunar Laser Ranging

    4 / 2021

    Joint Seminar: Geodesy & Geophysics Laboratory; Planetary Geology, Geophysics & Geochemistry Laboratory at NASA GSFC

    Other

    Poster presented at 52nd LPSC, #2651, 3/2021

    Science Opportunities for Lunar Retro-Reflectors

    7 / 2020

    NASA Exploration Science Forum 2020, #NESF2020-078

    Talk at Lunar Surface Science Workshop 2020

    Poster presentation at the 51st Lunar and Planetary Science Conference (2020), Texas, USA

    Poster presented at AGU Fall Meeting 2019, San Francisco, USA

    Talk at 42nd COSPAR Scientific Assembly (H0.5-0006-18)

    Talk at Journées Scientifiques du Programme National GRAM (215219)

    Poster presented at EGU General Assembly Conference (Vol. 19, p. 7450)

    Poster presented at Lunar and Planetary Science Conference (Vol. 48, p. 2329)

    Talk at EGU General Assembly Conference Abstracts (Vol. 18, p. 13995)

    Talk at IAU General Assembly, 22, p.27116.

    Teaching Experience

    "Principles of Thermodynamics", Undergraduate level, ESAIP Graduate School of Engineering, Grasse - France

    "Satellite systems", Graduate level, University of Nice, Sophia Antipolis

     

    Selected Public Outreach

    “Episode 42 – Watch a Total Lunar Eclipse”, NASA Science Live, May 15, 2022 5 / 2022 - 5 / 2022
    https://youtu.be/vGIaEIICIcs

    I was invited to participate along with Dr. Ryan Watkins (NASA/HQ) in this live stream organized by NASA to talk about my role and support Q&A from the public regarding lunar science and exploration in the Artemis era.  

    50th Anniversary of the Apollo Moon landing, National Mall 7 / 2019 - 7 / 2019

    Volunteering work at the Moon Tours (Moon trek + LRO) tent using lunar topographic data, 3D prints of the lunar surface and lunar simulant samples.

    Brief Bio

    Dr. Vishnu Viswanathan’s research is focused on the analysis of tracking data such as radio, laser and images, to determine the geophysical, orbital, and rotational properties of planetary bodies. In 2017, Dr. Viswanathan improved the orbital-rotational dynamical model of the Moon and fitted it to over five decades of lunar laser ranging (LLR) data with gravity field constraints from the NASA GRAIL mission. This model is one of the three primary references in the world that provides high-precision planetary and lunar ephemerides. In 2018, Dr. Viswanathan used this model to perform a fundamental physics test of the universality of free fall using the Earth-Moon system as test bodies, improving upon previous constraints on the principle of equivalence. In 2019, Dr. Viswanathan further expanded the capabilities of this model resulting in the strongest constraint known for the shape and size of the lunar core-mantle boundary. In 2020, Dr. Viswanathan published two white papers submitted to the Committee on the Planetary Science Decadal Survey (2023-2032) of the National Academies of Sciences/USA, and to the Artemis III Science Definition Team, representing the interests, objectives and goals of the global LLR instrument, data analysis and observer community. In 2022, Dr. Viswanathan founded a Lunar Data Analysis Center at UMBC/NASA GSFC affiliated with the International Laser Ranging Service. Dr. Viswanathan is currently at NASA GSFC employed by UMBC under the CRESST II cooperative agreement.

    Personal webpage/Linktr.ee

    Publications

    Refereed

    Smith, D. E., V. Viswanathan, E. Mazarico, et al. S. Goossens, J. W. Head, G. A. Neumann, and M. T. Zuber. 2022. "The Contribution of Small Impact Craters to Lunar Polar Wander." The Planetary Science Journal 3 217 [10.3847/PSJ/ac8c39]

    Ermakov, A. I., R. S. Park, J. Roa, et al. J. C. Castillo-Rogez, J. T. Keane, F. Nimmo, E. S. Kite, C. Sotin, T. J. Lazio, G. Steinbrügge, S. M. Howell, B. G. Bills, D. J. Hemingway, V. Viswanathan, G. Tobie, and V. Lainey. 2021. "A Recipe for the Geophysical Exploration of Enceladus." The Planetary Science Journal 2 (4): 157 [10.3847/psj/ac06d2]

    Mazarico, E., X. Sun, J.-M. Torre, et al. C. Courde, J. Chabé, M. Aimar, H. Mariey, N. Maurice, M. K. Barker, D. Mao, D. R. Cremons, S. Bouquillon, T. Carlucci, V. Viswanathan, F. G. Lemoine, A. Bourgoin, P. Exertier, G. A. Neumann, M. T. Zuber, and D. E. Smith. 2020. "First Two-way Laser Ranging to a Lunar Orbiter: infrared observations from the Grasse station to LRO’s retro-reflector array ." Earth, Planets and Space [Full Text (Link)] [10.1186/s40623-020-01243-w]

    Viswanathan, V., N. Rambaux, A. Fienga, J. Laskar, and M. Gastineau. 2019. "Observational constraint on the radius and oblateness of the lunar core-mantle boundary." Geophysical Research Letters 46 [10.1029/2019GL082677]

    Viswanathan, V., A. Fienga, O. Minazzoli, et al. L. Bernus, J. Laskar, and M. Gastineau. 2018. "The new lunar ephemeris INPOP17a and its application to fundamental physics." Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society 476 1877-1888 [10.1093/mnras/sty096]

    Courde, C., J. M. Torre, E. Samain, et al. G. Martinot-Lagarde, M. Aimar, D. Albanese, P. Exertier, A. Fienga, H. Mariey, G. Metris, H. Viot, and V. Viswanathan. 2017. "Lunar laser ranging in infrared at the Grasse laser station." Astronomy & Astrophysics 602 A90 [10.1051/0004-6361/201628590]

    Non-Refereed

    Ermakov, A., J. C. Castillo-Rogez, R. S. Park, et al. C. Sotin, J. Lazio, S. M. Howell, J. T. Keane, D. J. Hemingway, F. Nimmo, E. Kite, V. Viswanathan, G. Steinbrügge, G. Tobie, and V. Lainey. 2021. "A Recipe for Geophysical Exploration of Enceladus." Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society 53 (4): [10.3847/25c2cfeb.b65f2c4c]

    Viswanathan, V., E. Mazarico, S. Merkowitz, et al. J. G. Williams, S. G. Turyshev, D. G. Currie, A. I. Ermakov, N. Rambaux, A. Fienga, C. Courde, J. Chabé, J.-M. Torre, A. Bourgoin, U. Schreiber, T. M. Eubanks, C. Wu, D. Dequal, S. Dell'Agnello, L. Biskupek, J. Müller, and S. Kopeikin. 2021. "Extending Science from Lunar Laser Ranging." Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society 53 (4): [10.3847/25c2cfeb.3dc2e5e4]

    Viswanathan, V., A. Fienga, M. Gastineau, and J. Laskar. 2017. "INPOP17a planetary ephemerides." Notes Scientifiques et Techniques de l'Institut de mécanique céleste S108 [Full Text (Link)] [10.13140/RG.2.2.24384.43521]

    Courde, C., J.-M. Torre, E. Samain, et al. G. Martinot-Lagarde, M. Aimar, D. Albanese, N. Maurice, H. Mariey, H. Viot, P. Exertier, A. Fienga, and V. Viswanathan. 2017. "Satellite and lunar laser ranging in infrared." Proceedings of the SPIE Conference on Photon Counting Applications, 2017 10229 UNSP 102290K [10.1117/12.2270573]

                                                                                                                                                                                            
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