The Department of Planetary Sciences/Lunar and Planetary Laboratory is an academic institution that pursues scholarly research and education across the broad discipline of planetary and solar systems science through use of theoretical studies and data analysis, laboratory and field investigations, numerical modeling, telescopic observations, remote sensing, spacecraft instrumentation, and space mission development and operations.
Message from the Director
Welcome to the University of Arizona’s Department of Planetary Sciences (PTYS) and Lunar and Planetary Laboratory (LPL). The University of Arizona is one of the nation’s best research universities, annually ranking among the top in the nation in external financial support for research in the physical sciences.
Focus on Research
Orbital space around our Earth is congested, contested and competitive. Our research group is actively working to ensure sustainable management of this valuable resource for future generations. Our spectroscopy lab is capable of characterizing space material under space-like conditions so we can better interpret spectral properties of objects in Earth orbit and uniquely identify them. We have a dedicated telescope for collecting visible wavelength spectral data (0.35-1.0 µm) of space objects. Undergraduate engineering students built the RAPTORS telescope that will enable us to characterize objects in geostationary belt.
Projects related to small bodies include characterization of near-Earth asteroids for planetary defense, asteroid-meteorite link, rapid recovery of meteorites using radar and ground-based support for spacecraft missions. Space surveillance topics of interest include daytime imaging, telescopic and laboratory spectral characterization of space materials, sensor tasking, and cyber infrastructure for big data.