Planetary scientists seek answers to fundamental questions that involve the extended family of planets, moons, asteroids and other bodies in the Solar System. We are a part of more than a dozen NASA missions and our chief areas of planetary research include the Moon, Mars, and the asteroids Psyche, Bennu, and the Trojan asteroids. Our scientists are engaged in exploring these objects' geological processes and histories, their chemical and mineralogical composition, as well as the origin and evolution of life on Earth and the potential for life outside it. 

The School's laboratory facilities for analyzing meteorites and extraterrestrial samples are among the world's finest and most up to date, and we are the home of ASU's Center for Meteorite Studies where researchers seek to understand the origin of our Solar System and planets, including the pathways to forming habitable worlds through the study of cosmochemistry, planetary geochemistry and planetary mineralogy. 

Learn more about our Earth and Space Exploration undergraduate degrees as well as masters and PhD degrees in Exploration Systems Design and Geological Sciences.

Search the tabs below for a list of faculty, research groups, labs and resources that comprise the school's Planetary Sciences

Astrobiology

Astrobiology is the scientific study of the distribution of life in the Universe. Is life a ubiquitous phenomenon? Or are we alone? We want to know - and whatever the answer is, we want to understand why it is so. This area of research is one of the most rapidly advancing in all of science. Working together, astronomers, geoscientists, biologists, engineers, are rapidly turning yesterday's science fiction into today’s science fact.

Principal Faculty and Research Scientists

Research Groups

Cosmochemistry, Planetary Geochemistry, and Planetary Mineralogy

These areas of research are the study of our Solar System objects, their formation history, and the processes that shaped the small bodies and planets. The investigations involve analysis of extraterrestrial samples for their mineralogy, chemistry and isotopic compositions using laboratory instrumentation or in situ measurements done by spacecraft. Faculty and researchers in the school use laboratory instrumentation to study meteorites (from differentiated and undifferentiated asteroids, Mars, and the Moon), lunar samples (Apollo mission), micrometeorites and interplanetary dust particles, samples returned from asteroids (Hayabusa), samples from the Sun (Genesis, Long Duration Exposure Facility), and in situ remote observations made by cameras flown to Mars, the Moon, and asteroids (Mars Odyssey Orbiter, Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, OSIRIS-REx, Hayabusa2). 

 Principal Faculty and Research Scientists

Research Groups

Planetary Geoscience

Although the prefix “geo” originates from the Greek word for Earth, it now is widely applied to science disciplines beyond our home world. Planetary geoscience spans the range from surface geology and geomorphology to planetary interiors. Processes that form and build planetary bodies and those that erode and destroy them fall within the purview of our research activities. Observations provided by spacecraft, fieldwork in analog environments on Earth, laboratory studies, and computer modeling serve as the basis for exploring the geoscience of other worlds.

Principal Faculty and Research Scientists

Research Groups