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
The planets of the solar system, along with their satellite systems, are our only accessible example of the end state of planetary system development. Observational study of these worlds provides us insight into how systems of planets form, the role of migration, bombardment and stellar interaction in their evolution, and the range of potential sites of habitability. Planetary astronomy at LPL targets planets on multiple levels ranging from observations of surface features and composition, through the dynamic and chemical processes in their atmospheres, and ultimately to the interface of their magnetic and atmospheric interaction with the solar wind. These measurements are obtained from a combination of in situ robotic probes, a global network of ground and space-based observatories, and customized instrumentation developed by LPL scientists and engineers. The results are then interpreted in coordination with local laboratory based and theoretical facilities to improve our understanding of the solar neighborhood.