Other Researchers Working in Planetary Astronomy
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.