Planetary Geophysics

Planetary Geophysics

    At LPL, we use planetary geophysics to study the interior structure and dynamics of solid planetary bodies. Geophysical data provides a means to see beneath the surfaces of the planets. Radar data is used to peer through the clouds of Venus and Titan, to measure the surface topography of Venus and Titan, and to probe the interiors of glaciers and lava flows on Mars. Laser altimeters have measured the surface topography of Mars and the Moon with incredible precision. Gravity data illuminates the structure of the crust and mantle of the Moon, Mars, Venus, and Mercury.  Magnetic data reveals the presence of ancient dynamos in the cores of the Moon and Mars and an active dynamo on Mercury. The global shapes and gravity fields of the planets and how they deform in response to rotation and tides reveal the deep interior structure all the way down to the core.

    Geophysical models provide a means to study the processes operating at and below the surfaces of the planets, both today and in the past. Models of the flow of water through surface and ground water, and as ice through glaciers inform our understanding of the past hydrology and climate of Mars, while models of methane flow on Titan help us understand its active hydrocarbon hydrology.  Models of volcanic and tectonic processes and the response of the lithosphere reveal details of the crustal evolution of the terrestrial planets and other solid-surface bodies. Models of impacts show the dynamics of cosmic collisions ranging from small crater-forming impacts to the Moon-forming impact. Models of the rotational and tidal deformation of planets and satellites help constrain their internal structure and thermal evolution. Together, geophysical data and models provide the keys to unlocking the past evolution and present-day structure of the planets.


    Terrestrial And Planetary Investigations and Reconnaissance (TAPIR)

    TAPIR research themes include debris-covered glaciers, terrestrial glaciers and ice sheets, Mars polar studies, and geophysical instrumentation techniques.

    Planetary Geophysics Faculty

    Jeffrey Andrews-Hanna

    Associate Professor

    Lunar Studies, Planetary Geophysics, Planetary Surfaces, Titan & Outer Solar System

    Erik Asphaug

    Professor

    Lunar Studies, Planetary Analogs, Planetary Geophysics, Planetary Surfaces, Small Bodies, Theoretical Astrophysics, Titan & Outer Solar System

    Shane Byrne

    Professor

    Astrobiology, Planetary Analogs, Planetary Geophysics, Planetary Surfaces, Titan & Outer Solar System

    Lynn Carter

    Associate Professor, University Distinguished Scholar

    Earth, Lunar Studies, Planetary Analogs, Planetary Geophysics, Planetary Surfaces, Titan & Outer Solar System

    Dani Mendoza DellaGiustina

    Assistant Professor, Deputy Principal Investigator, OSIRIS-REx, Principal Investigator, OSIRIS-APEX

    Earth, Planetary Analogs, Planetary Geophysics, Planetary Surfaces, Small Bodies

    Christopher Hamilton

    Associate Professor

    Astrobiology, Earth, Lunar Studies, Planetary Analogs, Planetary Geophysics, Planetary Surfaces

    Jack Holt

    Professor, EDO Director

    Planetary Surfaces, Planetary Analogs, Earth, Planetary Geophysics

    Lon Hood

    Research Professor

    Earth, Lunar Studies, Planetary Geophysics

    Angela Marusiak

    Assistant Research Professor

    Lunar Studies, Planetary Analogs, Planetary Geophysics, Small Bodies, Titan & Outer Solar System

    Isamu Matsuyama

    Professor

    Astrobiology, Exoplanets, Lunar Studies, Planetary Formation and Evolution, Planetary Geophysics, Theoretical Astrophysics, Titan & Outer Solar System

    Alfred McEwen

    Regents Professor

    Astrobiology, Lunar Studies, Planetary Analogs, Planetary Geophysics, Planetary Surfaces

    Planetary Geophysics Researchers

    Namya Baijal

    PTYS Graduate Student

    Planetary Geophysics, Planetary Surfaces, Small Bodies

    Rishi Chandra

    PTYS Graduate Student

    Earth, Lunar Studies, Planetary Analogs, Planetary Geophysics, Planetary Surfaces, Small Bodies

    Claire Cook

    PTYS Graduate Student

    Planetary Analogs, Planetary Geophysics, Planetary Surfaces, Titan & Outer Solar System

    Adeene Denton

    Postdoctoral Research Associate

    Planetary Geophysics, Planetary Surfaces, Small Bodies, Titan & Outer Solar System

    Ruby Fulford

    PTYS Graduate Student

    Astrobiology, Planetary Geophysics, Planetary Surfaces, Small Bodies, Titan & Outer Solar System

    Mackenzie Mills

    PTYS Graduate Student

    Planetary Analogs, Planetary Geophysics, Planetary Surfaces, Titan & Outer Solar System

    Samantha Moruzzi

    PTYS Graduate Student

    Planetary Analogs, Planetary Geophysics, Planetary Surfaces, Titan & Outer Solar System

    Stefano Nerozzi

    Postdoctoral Research Associate

    Planetary Geophysics, Planetary Surfaces

    Arnaud Salvador

    Postdoctoral Research Associate

    Astrobiology, Earth, Exoplanets, Planetary Atmospheres, Planetary Geophysics