Peiyu Wu

Earth & Atmospheric Sciences


Hello! I am a 5th year PhD student working with Dr. Samantha Trumbo and Prof. Jonathan Lunine. I am particularly interested in the evolution and habitability of planets in our solar system. My work focuses on using tools such as thermodynamic modeling and ground-based telescope observations to understand the evolution of the martian mantle and the surface chemistry of Europa.

My current research involves resolving the key factors controlling the local radiolytic products on Europa. The Galileo mission discovered that Europa’s magnetic field varies temporally and thus suggests a subsurface electrically conductive fluid layer (most likely a saltwater ocean). Understanding Europa’s radiolysis and the resulting surface chemistry is key to assessing its subsurface ocean composition. However, this radiolytic cycle has not been well-understood as the laboratory studies of the cycle do not seem to agree with actual observations to date. Our research aims to resolve the striking disagreement between the lab and prior telescopic studies and to enrich our understanding of the ubiquitous water-ice radiolytic processing that occurs throughout the outer solar system.

Before joining Cornell, I received my undergraduate degree from the University of Washington, with a B.S. in Earth and Space Sciences and a B.A. in Japanese and Asian Studies. I got my initial exposure to scientific research in the Non-Traditional Isotope Laboratory at UW under the mentorship of Prof. Fangzhen Teng. My twin passions for space science and geochemistry have led me on this interdisciplinary journey that has given me a broader understanding of our solar system. Aside from research, I enjoy hiking and playing with my two golden retrievers.

Research Focus

Advisor: Jonathan Lunine