Kirby Runyon Print



:   Planetary Geomorphologist

:  Planetary, Earth

  LRO, LROC, MRO, HiRISE, New Horizons, LORRI

Degree Field of Study Year Attained Institution Name
PhD Planetary Geology 2017 Johns Hopkins University
MS Planetary Geology 2011 Temple University
BA Physics 2008 Houghton College

As a planetary geomorphologist, I seek to understand the evolution of planetary landscapes and the associated near-surface processes. I mainly accomplish this through analysis of remote sensing imagery and laboratory experiments. Recent key areas of focus are in quantifying the movement of aeolian bedforms on Mars using repeat orbital imagery; constraining ejecta-regolith interactions through large-scale laboratory experiments; analysis of sand grain movement on Titan through wind tunnel experiments; and constraining the lunar stratigraphic timescale with high resolution orbital imagery.

I am a science team affiliate on the New Horizons mission to Pluto, Charon, and the Kuiper Belt and a science team collaborator on the HiRISE (High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment) camera currently in orbit around Mars. I recently (summer, 2020) completed my role as project scientist for a mission concept to send an orbiter to Neptune, and I am the planetary science working group lead for the Interstellar Probe mission concept.

I am also interested in the ways in which future astronauts would enable planetary surface field geology on the Moon, asteroids, and Mars, and toward this end am interested in field geology research in analog terrestrial environments.

AGU Index Category AGU Index Sub-Category
PLANETARY SCIENCES: SOLID SURFACE PLANETS Surface materials and properties
Start Year End Year Description
2013 Current Geology & Geophysics Imaging team affiliate, New Horizons mission to Pluto, Charon, and the Kuiper Belt
2013 Current Science team member, HiRISE Camera
2017 2017 APL Concurrent Mission Design participant ("Principal Investigator")
Year Description
2018 Houghton College Young Alumnus of the Year
2016 NASA New Horizons Group Achievement Award
2013-2017 APL Graduate Student Fellowship Award
The following publication information was downloaded from

ORCID logo

Noam R. Izenberg, Jr. Ralph L. McNutt, Kirby D. Runyon, Paul K. Byrne, Alexander MacDonald, (2021), Venus Exploration in the New Human Spaceflight Age, Acta Astronautica , 180, 100--104,

Chloe B. Beddingfield, Ross A. Beyer, Kelsi N. Singer, William B. McKinnon, Kirby Runyon, Will Grundy, S. Alan Stern, Veronica Bray, Rajani Dhingra, Jeffrey M. Moore, K. Ennico, C.B. Olkin, Paul Schenk, John R. Spencer, H.A. Weaver, L.A. Young, (2020), Landslides on Charon, Icarus , 335, 113383,

K. D. Runyon, III D. P. Moriarty, B. W. Denevi, B. T. Greenhagen, G. Morgan, K. E. Young, B. A. Cohen, C. H. Bogert, H. Hiesinger, L. M. Jozwiak, (2020), Impact Melt Facies in the Moon's Crisium Basin: Identifying, Characterizing, and Future Radiogenic Dating, Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets , 125, 1,

Pontus Brandt, Kathleen Mandt, Elena Provoronikova, Casey Lisse, Kirby Runyon, Abigail Rymer, Ralph McNutt, Michael Paul, (2020), Interstellar Probe: Pushing the Frontier of Space Science ,

Kollmann, P., Cohen, I., Allen, R. C., Clark, G., Roussos, E., Vines, S., ... & Cartwright, R. (2020). Magnetospheric Studies: A Requirement for Addressing Interdisciplinary Mysteries in the Ice Giant Systems. Space Science Reviews, 216(5), 1-26.

Stern, S. A., White, O. L., McGovern, P. J., Keane, J. T., Conrad, J. W., Bierson, C. J., ... & Moore, J. M. (2020). Pluto's far side. Icarus, 113805.

Roback, K. P., Runyon, K. D., & Avouac, J. P. (2020). Craters as sand traps: Dynamics, history, and morphology of modern sand transport in an active martian dune field. Icarus, 113642.

Cardinale, M., Pozzobon, R., Tangari, A. C., Runyon, K., Di Primio, M., & Marinangeli, L. (2020). Reconstruction of the sand transport pathways and provenance in Moreux crater, Mars. Planetary and Space Science, 181, 104788.

Philip T. Metzger, Mark V. Sykes, Alan Stern, Kirby Runyon, (2019), The reclassification of asteroids from planets to non-planets, Icarus , 319, 21--32,

Beyer, R. A., Spencer, J. R., McKinnon, W. B., Nimmo, F., Beddingfield, C., Grundy, W. M., ... & Robbins, S. (2019). The nature and origin of Charon's smooth plains. Icarus, 323, 16-32.

Cruikshank, D. P., Materese, C. K., Pendleton, Y. J., Boston, P. J., Grundy, W. M., Schmitt, B., ... & Summers, M. E. (2019). Prebiotic chemistry of Pluto. Astrobiology, 19(7), 831-848.

Cruikshank, D. P., Umurhan, O. M., Beyer, R. A., Schmitt, B., Keane, J. T., Runyon, K. D., ... & McKinnon, W. B. (2019). Recent cryovolcanism in Virgil Fossae on Pluto. Icarus, 330, 155-168.

Stuart J. Robbins, Kirby Runyon, Kelsi N. Singer, Veronica J. Bray, Ross A. Beyer, Paul Schenk, William B. McKinnon, William M. Grundy, Francis Nimmo, Jeffrey M. Moore, John R. Spencer, Oliver L. White, Richard P. Binzel, Marc W. Buie, Bonnie J. Buratti, Andrew F. Cheng, Ivan R. Linscott, Harold J. Reitsema, Dennis C. Reuter, Mark R. Showalter, G. Len Tyler, Leslie A. Young, Catherine B. Olkin, Kimberly S. Ennico, Harold A. Weaver, S. Alan Stern, (2018), Investigation of Charon's Craters With Abrupt Terminus Ejecta, Comparisons With Other Icy Bodies, and Formation Implications, Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets , 123, 1, 20--36,

Kirby D. Runyon, Olivier S. Barnouin, (2018), Preliminary laboratory investigations of ejecta emplacement dynamics and morphology with planetary applications, Planetary and Space Science, 160, 39--55,

Matt W. Telfer, Eric J. R. Parteli, Jani Radebaugh, Ross A. Beyer, Tanguy Bertrand, François Forget, Francis Nimmo, Will M. Grundy, Jeffrey M. Moore, S. Alan Stern, John Spencer, Tod R. Lauer, Alissa M. Earle, Richard P. Binzel, Hal A. Weaver, Cathy B. Olkin, Leslie A. Young, Kimberly Ennico, Kirby Runyon, The New Horizons Geology, Geophysics and Imaging Science Theme Team‡, (2018), Dunes on Pluto, Science, 360, 6392, 992--997,

Maria E. Banks, Lori K. Fenton, Nathan T. Bridges, Paul E. Geissler, Matthew Chojnacki, Kirby D. Runyon, Simone Silvestro, James R. Zimbelman, (2018), Patterns in Mobility and Modification of Middle- and High-Latitude Southern Hemisphere Dunes on Mars, Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets , 123, 12, 3205--3219,

K.D. Runyon, N.T. Bridges, F. Ayoub, C.E. Newman, J.J. Quade, (2017), An integrated model for dune morphology and sand fluxes on Mars, Earth and Planetary Science Letters , 457, 204--212,

Robbins, S. J., Singer, K. N., Bray, V. J., Schenk, P., Lauer, T. R., Weaver, H. A., ... & White, O. L. (2017). Craters of the Pluto-Charon system. Icarus, 287, 187-206.

Runyon, K. D., Bridges, N. T., & Newman, C. E. (2017). Martian sand sheet characterization and implications for formation: A case study. Aeolian research, 29, 1-11.

Stern, S. A., Bagenal, F., Ennico, K., Gladstone, G. R., Grundy, W. M., McKinnon, W. B., ... & Young, L. A. (2015). The Pluto system: Initial results from its exploration by New Horizons. Science, 350(6258), aad1815.

Lemelin, M., Blair, D. M., Roberts, C. E., Runyon, K. D., Nowka, D., & Kring, D. A. (2014). High-priority lunar landing sites for in situ and sample return studies of polar volatiles. Planetary and Space Science, 101, 149-161.