Ngoc Truong

Earth & Atmospheric Sciences



My name is Ngoc Truong, and as of Fall 2021, I am a 5th year PhD candidate working with Prof. Jonathan Lunine. I have been developing outgassing models to connect measurements in the plumes of Enceladus with the composition of the subsurface ocean. A focus of my current research is on noble gases - inert species that are not modified by chemistry and therefore, they are good tracers to understand geophysical processes. One application of the science with noble gases and the outgassing model that I am developing is to constrain the existence lifetime of the subsurface ocean. While much evidence points out Enceladus with a global liquid ocean and some indications of currently active hydrothermal activities, it is still an opening debate about how long the ocean has stayed there (with constraints ranging from few tens million years to billion years). The lifetime of the ocean is an important parameter to assess the potential for life on Enceladus, and further insights to this question will hopefully be revealed with future missions to measure noble gases in the plumes.

Other projects that I have worked on including: constraining the decomposition timescales of different amino acids in water to determine which species should be formed recently in geological timescales rather than the results of primordial processes, that would inform to future in-situ measurements of Enceladus, Europa, and other hydrothermally active ocean worlds (Truong et al., 2019); modeling the entrapment and evolution of volatiles species in cometary ice grains (manuscript in prep). 


Before joining Cornell, I got my Bachelor's degree in Space Science at the University of Science and Technology of Hanoi, in Vietnam. During this time, I did a summer internship with Dr. Pascal Lee at the SETI Institute and Mars Institute on a study of tektites, the terrestrial melted impact ejecta found in Vietnam and surrounding Asia, which the origin of the young impact crater (0.7-0.8 Myr) is still a mystery debate.

Research Focus

Advisor: Professor Jonathan Lunine