Systems Engineering is the school's newest and fastest growing focus area. Through this initiative, we are building the capacity to design and build a wide array of instruments to enable scientific research on Earth and in space. Our research teams are involved in both component development and system integration. Current projects fall into three broad categories: astronomical instrumentation, sensors and cameras for remote sensing and in situ characterization of planetary surfaces, and environmental robotics systems for a variety of terrestrial and space applications. Visit our Space Missions page for a full listing of the school's current space missions and instruments. 

Learn more about our Exploration Systems Design undergraduate degree and our PhD degrees in Exploration Systems Design InstrumentationExploration Systems Design Sensor Networks and Exploration Systems Design Systems Engineering

Explore Undergraduate Research Opportunities

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

Astronomical and Planetary Science Instrumentation

Our school is a world leader in the development of instrumentation for astronomy, cosmology and planetary science. We are one of a small handful of universities with the experience and facilities needed to develop, build and test instrumentation for major NASA space missions in-house. We build astrophysics instruments for major ground based telescopes, balloon borne observatories, sounding rockets and space missions, with an emphasis on UVOIR and radio/THz instrumentation. Several of our planetary science instruments have traveled to Mars and beyond and we have a particular expertise in thermal infrared imagers and spectrometers and optical multispectral imagers for planetary science.

Principal Faculty and Research Scientists

Research Groups

Engineering for Scientific Exploration

Principal Faculty and Research Scientists

Research Group

  • MESE (MicroElectroMechanical System for Earth and Space Exploration) 

Environmental Robotics

Using Artificial Intelligence (AI), robotics, and the power of human ingenuity, scientists and engineers use environmental robotics to build systems and algorithms to monitor environmental and biological processes at large geographic scales. This field of research includes aquatic, aerial, and ground robots for sampling and analysis in a variety of terrains and ecosystems.  

Principal Faculty and Research Scientists

Research Groups and Relevant Sites