Planetary Science

Planetary Science


  • Develop quantitative models of planetary processes
  • Develop new mission concepts
  • Design new instruments for planetary missions

Why it Matters

  • Understanding how other planets function enables us to more confidently predict the behavior of our own planet, Earth
  • Planetary exploration is exciting to both the scientific community and the public at large

Recent Accomplishments

  • Leading the Living, Breathing Planet project, part of NASA’s Nexus for Exoplanet System Science
  • New models for the response of Earth’s magnetosphere to disturbances
  • Developed new non-hydrostatic 3-D atmospheric models for Earth, Mars, Titan, Jupiter, and Saturn
  • Identified a new era in the geological history of Earth and other terrestrial planets, the heat-pipe era that precedes plate tectonics


  • NASA Science Directorate
  • Mars Space Laboratory Entry Descent Landing and Atmosphere Reconstruction
  • MAVEN Co-I neutral atmosphere
  • National Science Foundation

Participants / Collaborators

  • National Institute of Aerospace
  • Hampton University
  • Virginia Tech
  • University of Virginia

Planetary Science

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