Charles Elachi was born in Lebanon and received a bachelor's degree in physics from the University of Grenoble, France, and a diploma in engineering from the Polytechnic Institute, Grenoble (both in 1968). He received a master's degree (1969) and doctorate (1971) in electrical sciences from Caltech. He also earned a master's in business administration (1978) from USC and a master's in geology (1983) from UCLA.
Dr. Elachi taught at Caltech, served in a variety of research and management positions at JPL beginning in 1971, specializing in remote sensing, and became the Director of JPL in May 2001. During his tenure as Director, JPL was involved in more than 20 missions including Cloudsat, Jason 1 and 2, Aquarius, OCO-2, GRACE, SMAP, GRAIL, Mars Odyssey, Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, Phoenix, Cassini, Deep Impact, Stardust, Dawn, and Juno. Three rovers —Spirit, Opportunity and Curiosity— reached Mars and provided detailed information about the planet.
After retiring from JPL in June 2016 he became professor emeritus at Caltech, allowing him to pursue research interests while continuing to participate as a science investigator on a number of missions. He continues to advocate and be a spokesman for a strong space and Earth science program.
PublicationsProperties of the 67p/Churyumov-Gerasimenko Interior Revealed by Consert Radar, W. Kofman, A. Herique, Y. Barbin, J.-P. Barriot, V. Ciarletti, S. Clifford, P. Edenhofer, C. Elachi, et al., Science, 349, 6247, 2015, http://doi.org/10.1126/science.aab0639
Space Explorer, C. Elachi, Aerospace America, 53, 8, pp. 15-16, 2015
Getting Intimate with Mars, C. Elachi, Physics World, 23, 3, pp. 35-38, 2010
An Asymmetric Distribution of Lakes on Titan as a Possible Consequence of Orbital Forcing, O. Aharonson, A. G. Hayes, J. I. Lunine, R. D. Lorenz, M. D. Allison and C. Elachi, Nature Geoscience, 2, 12, pp. 851-854, 2009, http://doi.org/10.1038/ngeo698
Cassini Radar Sequence Planning and Instrument Performance, R. D. West, Y. Anderson, R. Boehmer, L. Borgarelli, P. Callahan, C. Elachi, Y. Gim, G. Hamilton, et al., Ieee Transactions on Geoscience and Remote Sensing, 47, 6, pp. 1777-1795, 2009, http://doi.org/10.1109/tgrs.2008.2007217
Hydrocarbon Lakes on Titan: Distribution and Interaction with a Porous Regolith, A. Hayes, O. Aharonson, P. Callahan, C. Elachi, Y. Gim, R. Kirk, K. Lewis, R. Lopes, et al., Geophysical Research Letters, 35, 9, 2008, http://doi.org/10.1029/2008gl033409
Titan's Diverse Landscapes as Evidenced by Cassini Radar's Third and Fourth Looks at Titan, J. I. Lunine, C. Elachi, S. D. Wall, M. A. Janssen, M. D. Allison, Y. Anderson, R. Boehmer, P. Callahan, et al., Icarus, 195, 1, pp. 415-433, 2008, http://doi.org/10.1016/j.icarus.2007.12.022
Titan's Surface from the Cassini Radar Radiometry Data During Sar Mode, F. Paganelli, M. A. Janssen, R. M. Lopes, E. Stofan, S. D. Wall, R. D. Lorenz, J. I. Lunine, R. L. Kirk, et al., Planetary and Space Science, 56, 1, pp. 100-108, 2008, http://doi.org/10.1016/j.pss.2007.03.015
The Comet Nucleus Sounding Experiment by Radiowave Transmission (Consert): A Short Description of the Instrument and of the Commissioning Stages, W. Kofman, A. Herique, J. P. Goutail, T. Hagfors, I. P. Williams, E. Nielsen, J. P. Barriot, Y. Barbin, et al., Space Science Reviews, 128, 1-4, pp. 413-432, 2007, http://doi.org/10.1007/s11214-006-9034-9
The Lakes of Titan, E. R. Stofan, C. Elachi, J. I. Lunine, R. D. Lorenz, B. Stiles, K. L. Mitchell, S. Ostro, L. Soderblom, et al., Nature, 445, 7123, pp. 61-64, 2007, http://doi.org/10.1038/nature05438
High-Resolution Land Topography, D. Massonnet and C. Elachi, Comptes Rendus Geoscience, 338, 14-15, pp. 1029-1041, 2006, http://doi.org/10.1016/j.crte.2006.06.001
Mapping of Titan: Results from the First Titan Radar Passes, E. R. Stofan, J. I. Lunine, R. Lopes, F. Paganelli, R. D. Lorenz, C. A. Wood, R. Kirk, S. Wall, et al., Icarus, 185, 2, pp. 443-456, 2006, http://doi.org/10.1016/j.icarus.2006.07.015
Models of Synthetic Aperture Radar Backscattering for Bright Flows and Dark Spots on Titan, P. Paillou, M. Crapeau, C. Elachi, S. Wall and P. Encrenaz, Journal of Geophysical Research-Planets, 111, E11, 2006, http://doi.org/10.1029/2006je002724
The Sand Seas of Titan: Cassini Radar Observations of Longitudinal Dunes, R. D. Lorenz, S. Wall, J. Radebaugh, G. Boubin, E. Reffet, M. Janssen, E. Stofan, R. Lopes, et al., Science, 312, 5774, pp. 724-727, 2006, http://doi.org/10.1126/science.1123257
Titan Radar Mapper Observations from Cassini's T3 Fly-By, C. Elachi, S. Wall, M. Janssen, E. Stofan, R. Lopes, R. Kirk, R. Lorenz, J. Lunine, et al., Nature, 441, 7094, pp. 709-713, 2006, http://doi.org/10.1038/nature04786
Cassini Radar Views the Surface of Titan, C. Elachi, S. Wall, M. Allison, Y. Anderson, R. Boehmer, P. Callahan, P. Encrenaz, E. Flamini, et al., Science, 308, 5724, pp. 970-974, 2005, http://doi.org/10.1126/science.1109919
Seasat - a 25-Year Legacy of Success, D. L. Evans, W. Alpers, A. Cazenave, C. Elachi, T. Farr, D. Glackin, B. Holt, L. Jones, et al., Remote Sensing of Environment, 94, 3, pp. 384-404, 2005, http://doi.org/10.1016/j.rse.2004.09.011
Radar: The Cassini Titan Radar Mapper, C. Elachi, M. D. Allison, L. Borgarelli, P. Encrenaz, E. Im, M. A. Janssen, W. T. K. Johnson, R. L. Kirk, et al., Space Science Reviews, 115, 1-4, pp. 71-110, 2004, http://doi.org/10.1007/s11214-004-1438-9
Ultra-Relativistic Electrons in Jupiter's Radiation Belts, S. J. Bolton, M. Janssen, R. Thorne, S. Levin, M. Klein, S. Gulkis, T. Bastian, R. Sault, et al., Nature, 415, 6875, pp. 987-991, 2002, http://doi.org/10.1038/415987a
Cassini Radio Detection and Ranging (Radar): Earth and Venus Observations, R. D. Lorenz, C. Elachi, R. D. West, W. T. K. Johnson, M. A. Janssen, M. Moghaddam, G. A. Hamilton, O. Liepack, et al., Journal of Geophysical Research-Space Physics, 106, A12, pp. 30271-30279, 2001, http://doi.org/10.1029/2001ja900035
Space Imaging Radar in Planetary Exploration and Earth Observation, Elachi, C., AIAA Paper 2000-0001.
Recent Advances in Radar Technology and Techniques for Affordable Planetary Remote Sensing, Van Zyl, J., C. Elachi, and K. Yunjin, Proceedings of the IEEE 2000 International Radar Conference, pp. 12-16, 2000.
Solar System Exploration in the Next Decade, Elachi, C., IAF Paper 99-Q206, 1999.
Exploring the Solar System - a Current Overview, Huckins, E. K., III, D. V. Woods, and C. Elachi, IAF Paper 99-Q201, 1999.
The Cassini Radar: Instrument and Investigation, Wall, S., L. Roth, R. Lorenz, and C. Elachi, Proceedings of EURSAR'98: European Conference on Synthetic Aperture Radar, pp. 69-71, 1998.
Comet Nucleus Sounding Experiment by Radiowave Transmission, Kofman, W., Y. Barbin, J. Klinger, A. C. Levasseur-Regourd, J. P. Barriot, A. Herique, T. Hagfors, E. Nielsen, E. Grun, P. Edenhofer, H. Kochan, G. Picardi, R. Seu, J. Van Zyl, C. Elachi, J. Melosh, J. Veverka, P. Weissman, L. H. Svedhem, S. E. Hamran, and I. P. Williams, Space Exploration of the Outer Space Solar System and Cometary Nuclei, (Advances in Space Research, Vol. 21) Oxford : Pergamon Press Ltd, pp. 1589-1598, 1998.
Mars Glob - Creation of an International Network of Mars Surface Landers, Galeev, A., V. Moroz, V. Linkin, R. Kremnev, G. Rogovsky, K. Pichkhadze, B. Martynov, O. Papkov, A. Eremenko, E. Galimov, Y. Surkov, C. Elachi, R. Bourke, and J. Mcnamee, In-Situ Impact Detection Techniques, Interplanetary Dust, and Future Mars Exploration, (Advances in Space Research, Vol. 17), Oxford : Pergamon Press Ltd, pp. 15-20, 1995.
Impact of Space on Science, Elachi, C., British Interplanetary Society, Journal of the, Vol. 46, No. 11 p. 431-438 November 1993.
The SIR-C/X-SAR Mission, Way, J., D. Evans, and C. Elachi, Proceedings of IGARSS '93 IEEE International Geoscience and Remote Sensing Symposium, Vol.2, pp. 593, 1993.
Low-Emissivity Impact Craters on Venus, Weitz, C. M., C. Elachi, H. J. Moore, A. T. Basilevsky, B. A. Ivanov, and G. G. Schaber, Papers Presented to the International Colloquium on Venus, Lunar and Planetary Institute, p 129-131, 1993.
Aeolian Features on Venus - Preliminary Magellan Results, Greeley, R., R. E. Arvidson, C. Elachi, M. A. Geringer, J. J. Plaut, R. S. Saunders, G. Schubert, E. R. Stofan, E. J. P. Thouvenot, S. D. Wall, and C. M. Weitz, Journal of Geophysical Research, Vol. 97, No. E8, p. 13,319-13,345, Aug. 25, 1992.
Synthetic Aperture Radar Applications: Now and in the Future, Elachi, C., Proceedings of the International Symposium on Remote Sensing, p. 41-65, 1992.
Venus Volcanism - Initial Analysis from Magellan Data, Head, J. W., D. B. Campbell, C. Elachi, J. E. Guest, D. P. McKenzie, R. S. Saunders, G. G. Schaber, and G. Schubert, Science, Vol. 252, No. 5003 pp. 276-288, 1991.
Cassini Titan Radar Mapper, Elachi, C., E. Im, L. E. Roth, and C. L. Werner, IEEE Proceedings, Vol. 79, June 1991, p. 867-880.
Magellan - Electrical and Physical- Properties of Venus Surface, Tyler, G. L., P. G. Ford, D. B. Campbell, C. Elachi, G. H. Pettengill, and R. A. Simpson, Science, Vol. 252, No. 5003 pp. 265-270, 1991.
Magellan - Initial Analysis of Venus Surface Modification, Arvidson, R. E., V. R. Baker, C. Elachi, R. S. Saunders, and J. A. Wood, Science, Vol. 252, No. 5003 pp. 270-275, 1991.
Global Digital Topography Mapping with a Synthetic Aperture Scanning Radar Altimeter, Elachi, C., K. E. Im, and E. Rodriguez, International Journal of Remote Sensing, Vol. 11, p. 585-601, April 1990.
Microwave Penetration and Attenuation in Desert Soil: A Field Experiment with Shuttle Imaging Radar, Farr, T. G., C. Elachi, P. Hartl, and K. Chowdhury, IEEE Transactions on Geoscience and Remote Sensing, Vol. GE-24, No. 4, pp. 590-594, July 1986.
Overview of the Shuttle Imaging Radar-B Preliminary Scientific Results, Elachi, C., J. B. Cimino, and M. Settle, Science, Vol. 232, pp. 1511-1516, June 20, 1986.
Spaceborne Radar Subsurface Imaging in Hyperarid Regions, Elachi, C., L.E. Roth, and G.G. Schaber, IEEE Transactions on Geoscience and Remote Sensing, Vol. GE-22, No. 4, pp. 383-388, July 1984.
Spaceborne Imaging Radar: Geologic and Oceanographic Applications, Elachi, C., Science, Vol. 209, No. 4461, pp. 1073-1082, September 5, 1980.
Observation of the Grand Canyon Wall Structure with an Airborne Imaging Radar, Elachi, C. and T. G. Farr, Remote Sensing of Environment, Vol. 9, pp. 171-174, 1979.
Precipitation on Venus: Properties and Possibilities of Detection, Cimino, J. B. and C. Elachi, Journal of the Atmospheric Sciences, Vol. 36, No. 7, pp. 1168-1177, July 1979.
Wave Tilt Sounding of a Linearly Inhomogeneous Layered Half-Space, Warne, L., D. Evans, and C. Elachi, IEEE Transactions on Antennas and Propagation, Vol. AP-27, No. 3, pp. 417-422, May 1979.
Mapping of Sea Ice and Measurement of Its Drift Using Aircraft Synthetic Aperture Radar Images, Leberl, F., M. L. Bryan, C. Elachi, T. Farr, and W. Campbell, Journal of Geophysical Research, Vol. 84, No. C4, pp. 1827-1835, April 20, 1979.
Liquid Content of the Lower Clouds of Venus as Determined from Mariner 10 Radio Occultation, Kliore, A. J. , C. Elachi, I. R. Patel, and J. B. Cimino, Icarus, Vol. 37, No. 1, pp. 51-72, January 1979.
Imaging Radar Observations of Askja Caldera, Iceland , Malin, M. C., D. Evans, and C. Elachi, Geophysical Research Letters, Vol. 5, No. 11, pp. 931-934, November 1978.
Discrimination of Geologic Units in Death Valley Using Dual Frequency and Polarization Imaging Radar Data, Daily, M., C. Elachi, T. Farr, and G. Schaber, Geophysical Research Letters, Vol. 5, No. 10, pp. 889-892, October 1978.
Preliminary Studies of Electromagnetic Sounding of Cometary Nuclei, Gabriel, A., L. Warne, S. Bednarczyk, and C. Elachi, JPL Publication 78-44, October 1, 1978.
Application of Multispectral Radar and LANDSAT Imagery to Geologic Mapping in Death Valley, Daily, M., C. Elachi, T. Farr, W. Stromberg, S. Williams, and G. Schaber, JPL Publication 78-19, March 30, 1978.
Radar Imaging of the Ocean Surface, Elachi, C., Boundary-Layer Meteorology, Vol. 13, pp. 165-179, 1978.
Ocean Wave Patterns Under Hurricane Gloria: Observation with an Airborne Synthetic-Aperture Radar, Elachi, C., T. W. Thompson, and D. King, Science, Vol. 198, pp. 609-610, November 11, 1977.
Synthetic Aperture Radar Imagery of the AIDJEX Triangle, Bryan, L. , T. Farr, F. Leberl, and C. Elachi, AIDJEX Bulletin, No. 37, pp. 161-187, September 1977.
Higher-Order Bragg Coupling in Periodic Media With Gain or Loss, Jaggard, D. L and C. Elachi, Journal of Applied Physics, Vol. 48, No. 4, pp. 1461-1466, April 1977.
Equipotential Doming in Flooded Circular Basins on the Moon, Roth, L. E., C. Elachi, and R. J. Phillips, Proceedings of the Eighth Lunar Science Conference, Houston, Tex., March 14-18, pp. 643-654, 1977.
Effects of Random Phase Changes on the Formation of Synthetic Aperture Radar Imagery, Elachi, C. and D. D. Evans, IEEE Transactions on Antennas and Propagation, Vol. AP-25, No. 1, pp. 149-153, January 1977.
Models of Radar Imaging of the Ocean Surface Waves, Elachi, C. and W. E. Brown, Jr., IEEE Transactions on Antennas and Propagation, Vol. AP-25, No. 1, pp. 84-95, January 1977.
Waves in Active and Passive Periodic Structures: A Review, Elachi, C., IEEE Proceedings, Vol. 64, No. 12, pp. 1666-1698, December 1976.
Application of Remote Sensors in Coastal Zone Observations, Caillat, J.-M., C. Elachi, and W. E. Brown, Jr., JPL Technical Memorandum 33-750, November 15, 1975.
The JPL Imaging Radar Experiment in GATE: A Preliminary Report, Elachi, C., JPL Technical Memorandum 33-751, November 15, 1975.
Coherent Electromagnetic Losses by Scattering From Volume Inhomogeneities, Roth, L. E. and C. Elachi, IEEE Transactions on Antennas and Propagation, Vol. AP-23, No. 5, pp. 674-675, September 1975.
Transients in a Periodic Slab: Coupled Waves Approach, Elachi, C., D. L. Jaggard, and C. Yeh, IEEE Transactions on Antennas and Propagation, Vol. AP-23, No. 3, pp. 352-358, May 1975.
Imaging and Sounding of Ice Fields With Airborne Coherent Radars, Elachi, C. and W. E. Brown, Jr., Journal of Geophysical Research, Vol. 80, No. 8, pp. 1113-1119, March 10, 1975.
Magnetic Wave Propagation in a Periodic Medium, Elachi, C., IEEE Transactions on Magnetics, Vol. MAG-11, No. 1, pp. 36-39, January 1975.
Proposed Distributed Feedback Crystal Cavities for X-Ray Lasers, Elachi, C., G. Evans, and F. J. Grunthaner, Applied Optics, Vol. 14, No. 1, p. 14, January 1975.
Distributed Feedback Acoustic Surface Wave Oscillator, Elachi, C., IEEE Transactions on Microwave Theory and Techniques, Vol. MTT-22, No. 10, pp. 907-908, October 1974.
Mode Conversion in Periodically Disturbed Thin-Film Waveguides, Elachi, C. and C. Yeh, Journal of Applied Physics, Vol. 45, No. 8, pp. 3494-3499, August 1974.
Parametric Interactions Between Alfven Waves and Sonic Waves, Elachi, C., IEEE Transactions on Antennas and Propagation, Vol. AP-21, No. 6, pp. 907-909, November 1973.
Periodic Structures in Integrated Optics, Elachi, C. and C. Yeh, Journal of Applied Physics, Vol. 44, No. 7, pp. 3146-3152, July 1973.
Cerenkov and Transition Radiation in Space-Time Periodic Media, C. Elachi., Journal of Applied Physics, Vol. 43, No. 9, pp. 3719-3723, September 1972.
Electromagnetic Wave Propagation and Wave-Vector Diagram in Space-Time Periodic Media, Elachi, C., IEEE Transactions on Antennas and Propagation, Vol. AP-20, No. 4, pp. 534-536, July 1972.
Dipole Antenna in Space-Time Periodic Media, C. Elachi, IEEE Transactions on Antennas and Propagation, Vol. AP-20, No. 3, pp. 280-287, May 1972.