Research Areas - Department of Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences - Purdue University Skip to main content

Research Areas


Atmospheric Sciences

We study extreme weather, climate change, and their impacts on both ecosystems and modern society.

Testing the water

Environmental Geoscience

We use biology, chemistry, geology, and physics to understand how the Earth System supports such a diversity of life and how human behavior is impacting this system.

Geodata Science Initiative

Data science is the fourth and the newest paradigm of science. In Geodata Science Initiative, we conduct transdisciplinary research, merging or articulating EAPS subject matters with technical areas in data science: statistical and machine learning methods and models, algorithms for the models and methods, and computational environments for data analysis.

Mountain ranges

Geology and Geophysics

We study the processes that shape our planet, from the building of mountains and oil-bearing sedimentary basins, to the flow of warm rocks and cold glaciers, to the triggering of earthquakes.

Spacecraft mission

Planetary Science

We study the evolution of the solar system and how planets evolve over time due to impacts, tectonics, and atmospheric processes, with an eye to the potential for past and future habitability.

Research News

Graduate Students Laura Chaves and Adeene Denton awarded NASA FINESST Grants


Two graduate students from the Department of Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences have been awarded grants from Future Investigators in NASA Earth and Space Science and Technology (FINESST). Laura Chaves and Adeene Denton have been awarded as NASA FINESST for their work in planetary sciences. Of the 246 proposals for the planetary division, only 34 were selected.

Meet the EAPS Faculty planting their scientific footprints on Mars


Earthlings have always had a fascination with Mars, our neighboring red planet. As research and technology has progressed, space programs around the world have set their sights on sending human beings to Mars. Mankind is far from that goal, but every paper published, every rover landed, and every Martian habitat explored gets humans closer to this exploration. Mars is currently only known to be inhabited by robots, and NASA is in the process of sending its next round of robotics: the Perseverance Rover and the first helicopter to accompany it on Mars. Professors from the Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Department (EAPS) of Purdue University have their scientific footprints on everything from the rovers of Mars, the atmosphere, the water, the ice, and even the moons.

NASA’s big move to search for life on Mars – and to bring rocks home


This summer, NASA is taking the next giant leap in the search for signs of life beyond Earth. On July 30, if the weather in Florida holds, NASA will launch its most sophisticated and ambitious spacecraft to Mars: the aptly named Perseverance rover. This will be the third launch to Mars this month, following the UAE’s Hope and China’s Tianwen-1 spacecraft. Perseverance will look for signatures of ancient life preserved in Mars rocks. And, for the first time, this rover will collect rock samples that will be brought back to Earth, where they can be scrutinized in laboratories for decades to come.

NASA Mars Rover: How Perseverance will hunt for signs of past life


A survey of the minerals in Jezero Crater by Dr Briony Horgan of Purdue University, Dr Melissa Rice of Western Washington University (both scientists on the mission) and colleagues, revealed carbonate deposits at the western edge of the ancient shore. These "marginal carbonates" were likened to a bathtub ring - the build-up of soap scum that's left after the water is drained.

Has life existed beyond Earth? Purdue professor going to great lengths to find out.


When the NASA Mars rover Perseverance launches in the next few weeks, it will travel to Jezero Crater, which preserves evidence of a time when rivers flowed on Mars. The mission will take the next leap in space science by searching for signs of past life on the red planet. Not the Martians of comic-book science fiction, but instead ancient microbes may have lived in Mars' rivers, lakes and swamps billions of years ago. This scientifically important landing site within Jezero Crater was selected by NASA following a presentation by Briony Horgan, Purdue University associate professor of planetary science, who is a member of the Perseverance science team.

All Departmental News

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