Nilton Renno

Nilton O. Renno



1531C Climate & Space Research Building
2455 Hayward Street
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-2143

Primary Website

Related links


  • Ph.D., Atmospheric Sciences, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • B.S., Civil & Environmental Engineering, Unicamp, Campinas, Brazil

Professional Service

  • 2016-Present Member National Academies Space Studies Board Org Committee, Searching for Life Across Space and Time
  • 2014-2016 Member, NRC Mars Special Regions Review Committee
  • 2014-Present Member, Northrop Grumann’s VAMP Science Advisory Board
  • 2012-Present Master’s Chair, Atmospheric, Oceanic & Space Sciences, U. Michigan
  • 2012 Member, NASA Discovery 2010 Transition Team
  • 2012 Member, NASA Discovery 2010 Downselect Panel
  • 2009-2011 Member, CoE International Programs in Engineering
  • 2007-2011 Member, CoE Multidisciplinary Design Minor Steering Committee
  • 2007-2008 Member, NASA Student Collaboration Program Definition Team
  • 2001-2007 Member, NRC Research Associateship Review Committee
  • 2001-2003 Member, Mars Exploration Rovers Atmospheric Sciences Advisory Committee
  • 2000-2002 Associate Director, Arizona Space Grant Consortium
  • 2000-2002 Chair, University of Arizona Student Satellite Program Steering Committee
  • 2001-2002 Co-Chair, NASA National Space Grant Student Satellite Program Steering Committee

Research Interests

Astrobiology, climate, instrument development and thermodynamics

  • Aerosols and climate
  • Astrobiology
  • Instrument development
  • Planetary science
  • Systems engineering
  • Thermodynamics


The truth never triumphs, its opponents die” (“Die Wahrheit triumphiert nie, ihre Gegner sterben nur aus”)

Max Planck


  • 2015 NASA Group Achievement Award as member of the MSL Prime Mission Science and Operations Team “For exceptional technical innovations in rover surface operations leading to significantly improved Mars Science Laboratory prime mission performance and science return.”
  • 2013 NASA Group Achievement Award as member of the Curiosity Rover ” for exceptional achievement defining the REMS scientific goals and requirements, developing the instrument suite and investigation, and operating REMS successfully on Mars.”
  • 2013 The Space Foundation John L. “Jack” Swigert Jr. Award for Space Exploration as member of the Mars Science Laboratory Team “for its aggressive and technologically advanced exploration of another planet.”
  • 2013 The American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) Foundation’s Award for Excellence as member of the Mars Science Laboratory Team “for significant accomplishment in space exploration, inspiring global fascination with space.”
  • 2013 The National Aeronautic Association 2012 Robert J. Collier Trophy as member of the Mars Science Laboratory Team “in recognition of the extraordinary achievements of successfully landing Curiosity on Mars, advancing the nation’s technological and engineering capabilities, and significantly improving humanity’s understanding of ancient Martian habitable environments.”
  • 2012 Time Tech’s Best Invention of the Year as member of the Curiosity Mars Rover Team.
  • 2011 Named Ambassador of “Município de São José dos Campos, SP, Brazil.”
  • 2011 Co-Investigator, ESA’s ExoMars EDM Mission.
  • 2010-2011 Monroe-Brown Foundation Research Excellence Award “For his many accomplishments as a multidisciplinary scientist that include being the leader of the Phoenix Mars Mission’s Atmospheric Science Theme Group that found liquid water on Mars; his work with dust devils that has led to his invention of miniature field sensors used in climate studies; and his outstanding work with both undergraduate and graduate students. Nilton’s Mars atmospheric research has brought him international recognition in both the theoretical and experimental communities.”
  • 2009 NASA Group Achievement Award “For outstanding performance in the planning for the execution of the science for the Phoenix mission.”
  • 2009 NASA Group Achievement Award “For outstanding achievement in the development and operation of the Phoenix spacecraft leading to the first landing in the Martian arctic.”
  • 2009 John L. “Jack” Swigert, Jr., Award for Space Exploration as member of the Phoenix Mars Mission Team.
  • 2008 Popular Mechanics Magazine Breakthrough Award for Innovation as member of the Phoenix Mars Mission Team.
  • 2008 Popular Science Magazine’s 2008 “Best of What’s New” Grand Award in the aviation and space category as member of the Phoenix Mars Mission Team.
  • 2008 National Space Club Astronautics Engineer Award as member of the Phoenix Mars Mission Team.
  • 2008 Civil Space Award from the California Space Authority as member of the Phoenix Mars Mission Team.
  • Co-Investigator, NASA’s Phoenix Mission to Mars.
  • Lead, NASA’s Phoenix Mission Atmospheric Science Theme Group
  • Co-Investigator, NASA’s MSL Rover Environmental Monitoring Station (REMS).
  • Co-Investigator, MetNet Mars Missions.
  • Chair & Member of NASA, NRC and NSF proposal review panels.
  • Member, Mars Exploration Rovers EDL Advisory Board.
  • Member, Mars Exploration Rovers Atmospheric Science Advisory Board.


  • Fischer, E., G. M. Martínez, H. M. Elliott, and N. O. Rennó (2014), Experimental evidence for the formation of liquid saline water on Mars, Geophys. Res. Lett., 41, doi:10.1002/2014GL060302.
  • Martinez, G. and N.O. Renno, 2012. Water and Brines on Mars: Current Evidence and Implications for MSL. Space Sci. Rev.(Invited), doi:10.1007/s11214-012-9956-3.
  • Renno, N.O., B.J. Bos, D. Catling, B.C. Clark, L. Drube, D. Fisher, W. Goetz, S.F. Hviid, H. Keller,  J.F. Kok, S.P. Kounaves, K. Leer, M. Lemmon, M. Bo Madsen, W. Markiewicz, J. Marshall, C. McKay, M. Mehta, M. Smith, M.P. Zorzano, P.H. Smith, C. Stoker, S.M.M. Young, 2009. Possible physical and Thermodynamical Evidence for Liquid Water on the Phoenix Landing Site. Geophys. Res., 114, E00E03, doi:10.1029/2009JE003362.
  • Zorzano, M.-P., E. Mateo-Martí, O. Prieto-Ballesteros, S. Osuna and N. Renno, 2009. The stability of liquid saline water on present day Mars. Geophys. Res. Lett., 36, L20201, doi:10.1029/2009GL040315.
  • Ruf, C., N.O. Renno, J.F. Kok, E. Bandelier, M.J. Sander, S. Gross, L. Skjerve, and B. Cantor, 2009. The Emission of Non-Thermal Microwave Radiation by a Martian Dust Storm. Geophys. Res. Lett., 36, L13202, doi:10.1029/2009GL038715.
  • Wang, J., F.J.F. Chagnon, E.R. Williams, A.K. Betts, N.O. Renno, L.A.T. Machado, G. Bisht, R. Knox, R.L. Bras, 2009. Why Clouds Follow Deforestation Over the Amazon? Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, doi:10.1073/pnas.0810156106.
  • Renno, N.O. and J.F. Kok, 2008. Electric activity and dust lifting on earth and beyond. Space Science Review, 137, 419-434.
  • Renno, N.O., 2008. A general theory for convective plumes and vortices. Tellus, 60A, 688–699.
  • Kok, J.F., and N.O. Renno, 2008. Electrostatics in wind-blown sand. Physical Review Letters, 100, 014501.
  • Koch, J. and N.O. Renno, 2005. The role of convective plumes and vortices on the global aerosol budget, Geophysical Research Letters, 32, doi:10.1029/2005GL023420.
  • Souza, E.P, N.O. Renno, and M. A. F. Silva Dias, 2000. Convective circulations induced by surface heterogeneities.  Journal of the Atmospheric Sciences, 57, 2915-2922.
  • Renno, N.O., M.L. Burkett, and M.P. Larkin, 1998.  A simple theory for dust devils. Journal of the Atmospheric Sciences, 55, 3244-3252.
  • Renno, N.O., 1997. Multiple-equilibria in radiative-convective atmospheres. Tellus, 49A, 423-438.
  • Renno, N.O. and E.R. Williams, 1995. Quasi-Lagrangian measurements in convective boundary layer plumes. Monthly Weather Review, 123, 2733-2742.

See CV for complete list of publications.