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.


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. More...


Focus on Research

Planetary Materials Research Group

Planetary Materials are those pieces of condensed matter that were leftover from the time that our solar system formed over 4.5 billion years ago. Such materials include interplanetary dust particles, pre-solar grains, primitive meteorites and soils from the Moon and asteroids. The Planetary Materials Research Group studies the constituent minerals within such samples at scales ranging from microcenters down to the atomic. We use information on crystal structure and chemistry to understand the conditions under which such minerals formed.