Orbital Dynamics

Orbital Dynamics

    Kepler's laws of planetary motion turn out to be far from the last word on planetary orbits. Orbits change over time, some changes are slow and periodic, others are chaotic and dramatic; these determine the architecture of planetary systems. In orbital dynamics research, we seek to discover the past and future of planetary systems - the diverse effects of gravity that shape where and how planets form and how their orbits evolve in time. We study the orbital evolution of planetary and satellite systems, and small bodies (asteroids and comets), as well as interplanetary dust, in the solar system and in exo-planetary systems. We seek discovery and understanding of the dynamical transport processes of planetary materials across vast distances in space and over geologically long times. We study how Earth's habitability is affected by its orbital history, and how orbital dynamics shapes extra-terrestrial environments.

    Recent News

    July 2020

    June 2020

    March 2020

    February 2020

    • Graduate student Hamish Hay successfully defended his PhD Dissertation, “A Tale of Tides: icy satellites, subsurface oceans, and tightly-packed planetary systems”
    • Graduate student Teddy Kareta led this paper on the new interstellar object 2I/Borisov Carbon Chain Depletion of 2I/Borisov

    December 2019 

    November 2019

    October 2019 

    August 2019

    April 2019

    March 2019

    • LPL’s 2019 Kuiper Award goes to graduate student Hamish Hay!

    February 2019

    December 2018

    November 2018

    September 2018 

    June 2018 

    December 2017

    Orbital Dynamics Faculty

    Renu Malhotra

    Louise Foucar Marshall Science Research Professor, Regents Professor

    Astrobiology, Exoplanets, Orbital Dynamics, Planetary Formation and Evolution, Small Bodies, Theoretical Astrophysics

    Orbital Dynamics Researchers

    Robert Melikyan

    PTYS Graduate Student

    Orbital Dynamics, Small Bodies

    Stephen Schwartz

    DCC Associate Staff Scientist (Asphaug)

    Orbital Dynamics, Planetary Astronomy, Planetary Surfaces, Small Bodies, Space Situational Awareness

    Kathryn Volk

    Research Scientist/Associate Staff Scientist

    Orbital Dynamics, Theoretical Astrophysics