Planetary Sciences

Planetary scientists seek answers to fundamental questions that involve the extended family of planets, moons, asteroids, and other bodies in the Solar System. Chief areas of planetary research at SESE include Mercury, the Moon, Mars, meteorites, and Jupiter's moon Europa. SESE scientists are engaged in exploring these objects' geological processes and histories, plus their chemical and mineralogical composition. Researchers are currently principal investigators or co-investigators for instruments on spacecraft at Mercury, Mars (both in orbit and on the ground), and, shortly, the Moon. Other SESE research in planetary science explores the origin and evolution of life on Earth and the potential for life outside it, for example on Mars and Europa. SESE's laboratory faciltiies for analyzing meteorites and extraterrestrial samples are among the world's finest and most up to date.

Undergraduate students looking to pursue a career in astrobiology are encouraged to look at our Astrobiology and Biogeosciences concentration within the B.S. in Earth and Space Exploration.

A great resource is the Women in Planetary Science page.


Principal Faculty and Research Scientists
Thematic Research Groups


Cosmochemistry, Planetary Geochemistry, and Planetary Mineralogy

Principal Faculty and Research Scientists

Bell personal website
Buseck personal website
Christensen personal website
Desch personal website
Shock personal website
Shim personal website
Till personal website
Zolotov personal website

Thematic Research Groups


 Planetary Geoscience