Research Focus Areas

Asteroid Surveys

LPL is home to two programs dedicated to scanning the sky for near-earth objects, including potentially hazardous asteroids: Catalina Sky Survey and SPACEWATCH®
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Astrobiology

Astrobiology is a vibrant field that focuses on the study of the origins, distribution and evolution of life in the...
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Cosmochemistry

Planetary Materials are those pieces of condensed matter that were leftover from the time that our solar system formed over...
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Earth

Collecting information about Earth from space provides new information about how Earth systems work, how they are changing, and how humans might anticipate and respond to changes.
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Exoplanets

Understanding how planets form and evolve and how life emerged on Earth are among the most fundamental questions in planetary...
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Lunar Studies

Lunar research was one of the hallmarks of the Lunar and Planetary Laboratory in its first decade (the 1960s) as...
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Orbital Dynamics

Kepler's laws of planetary motion turn out to be far from the last word on planetary orbits. Orbits change over...
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Planetary Analogs

LPL scientists investigate surface processes to understand the history of terrestrial bodies in the Solar System.
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Planetary Astronomy

The planets of the solar system, along with their satellite systems, are our only accessible example of the end state...
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Planetary Atmospheres

Planetary Surfaces

Planetary surfaces are influenced by their interior processes (e.g. volcanoes), exterior effects (e.g. impact cratering) and their atmospheres (e.g. wind...
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Small Bodies

LPL scientists study asteroids, comets, and meteorites using groundbased observations, spacecraft missions, and modeling techniques.
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Solar & Heliospheric

LPL's Solar and Heliospheric Research Group studies the Sun’s atmosphere and magnetic field as it moves outward at supersonic speeds throughout the solar system until it encounters the local interstellar medium.
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Space Situational Awareness

Orbital space around our Earth is congested, contested and competitive. Our research group is actively working to ensure sustainable management of this valuable resource for future generations.
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Theoretical Astrophysics

The Theoretical Astrophysics Program (TAP) is an interdisciplinary research program that includes the departments of Physics, Astronomy, Planetary Sciences, and Applied Mathematics, as well as the National Optical Astronomy Observatory.
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Titan & Outer Solar System

LPL scientists are exploring Titan and the outer solar system.
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