Sushil Atreya

Sushil Atreya



Climate & Space Research Building
University of Michigan
2455 Hayward Street
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-2143


Additional Title(s)

  • Director of the Planetary Science Laboratory (PSL)

At the University of Michigan, Sushil Atreya has worked as a Professor of Climate and Space Sciences and Engineering from 1987-present, Director of the Planetary Science Laboratory (PSL), Associate Professor of Atmospheric Science from 1981-1987, Assistant Professor of Atmospheric Science from 1978-1981, and Assistant-Associate Research Scientist from 1974-1978. Elsewhere, he has held appointments for the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, Distinguished Visiting Scientist, 2006-Present; Observatoire de Paris-Meudon, France, Astronomer, 2006-2007; Université de Paris VII (Denis Diderot), France, Visiting Professor, 2000; 2001; Université de Paris VI (Pierre et Marie Curie), France, Professeur Associé, Physics Department and CNRS/Service d’Aeronomie, 1984-1985; Imperial College of Science and Technology, London, England, Visiting Senior Research Scientist, Center for Remote Sensing, 1984; Kitt Peak National Observatory, Tucson, Visiting Scientist, Summer, 1979 University of Pittsburgh, Research Associate in Physics, 1973-1974; NASA/Marshall Space Flight Center, Visiting Scientist, 1971-1972; Yale University, Research Assistant and Teaching Fellow in Physics, 1967-1969; Brookhaven National Laboratory, Junior Research Associate in Physics Dept., 1967; and the University of Delhi, Research Fellow in Physics, 1965-1966; Demonstration Teacher in College Teachers’ Summer School, 1966.


  • Ph.D., University of Michigan, Atmospheric Science
  • M.S., Yale University, Physics
  • B.Sc./M.Sc., University of Rajasthan, Physics, Chemistry & Math

Research Interests, Publications, Planetary Mission Activities

Planetary and Space Science (Planetary Science Laboratory)

  • Origin and evolution of planetary and satellite atmospheres, Solar system formation, extrasolar planets
  • Photochemistry, electrochemistry, and thermochemistry of cloud condensation and alkali metal and and rock-cloud formation
  • Comparative composition and structure of planetary and satellite atmospheres through numerical modeling and observational studies
  • Development of advanced planetary mission concepts
  • Published 24 book chapters and over 250 refereed research articles in planetary and space science
  • Co-Investigator and Science Team Member of: DAVINCI Venus Mission, Origins Lead, and the following missions
  • Mars Science Laboratory (MSL): Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM Suite) GCMS and Tunable Laser Spectrometer
  • Juno — Jupiter Polar Orbiter
  • Cassini-Huygens Saturn System Mission (Mass Spectrometer and Gas Chromatograph at Titan)
  • Venus Express. Also, Deputy USA Lead Scientist
  • Mars Express (Planetary Fourier Spectrometer)
  • Galileo Orbiter and Probe (Mass Spectrometer at Jupiter)
  • Voyager Missions to the Giant Planets (UV Spectrometer)

Research areas:

Professional Service

  • Co-chair, NASA Venus Exploration Analysis Group (VEXAG)
  • Steering Committee, NASA Outer Planets Assessment Group (OPAG)
  • National Academy of Sciences Committee on Astrobiology and Planetary Science (CAPS)
  • National Research Council Committee on Astrobiology Science Strategy for the Search for Life in the Universe
  • Guest Editor, Special Issues of Planetary and Space Science


  • Fellow, American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS); Fellow, American Geophysical Union (AGU); Fellow, Japan Geosciences Union (JpGU); Full Member International Academy of Astronautics (IAA)
  • David Bates Medal, for excellence in planetary and solar system sciences research, European Geosciences Union
  • Alvin Seiff Award, for in situ exploration of the solar system
  • University of Michigan Distinguished Faculty Achievement Award
  • University of Michigan, College of Engineering Excellence in Research Award
  • NASA Award, Exceptional Science Contributions to the Voyager Project, and Scientific Achievement Award on Galileo Orbiter and Probe Missions, NASA Group Achievement Awards, MSL, Juno, Cassini