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
Astrobiology is a vibrant field that focuses on the study of the origins, distribution and evolution of life in the universe. Astrobiology is an interdisciplinary field that combines astronomy, geology, biology and chemistry. At the University of Arizona, there are six academic departments that participate in the astrobiology program.
The University of Arizona offers one of the few astrobiology minor programs in the United States. Some of the questions we seek to answer include:
- How did life emerge?
- How did the first metabolic networks and organisms evolve?
- How did the translation machinery emerge and evolve?
- Can we provide insights into RNA world?
- Is life deterministic or repeatable?
- What is the likelihood that life comparable to our own has arisen elsewhere in the universe?