We study habitability and potential biosignatures across a wide variety of bodies in the Universe, ranging from early Earth to exoplanets. Our work includes learning about the evolution of Earth’s atmosphere and oceans, biosignature preservation in the geologic record, astronomical life detection techniques, the history of habitable environments across the Solar System, and the relationship between planetary habitability and stellar properties. Faculty: Borlina, Horgan, Olson, Pearce
Planetary Atmospheres and Climate
We use laboratory experiments and computer simulations to study cloud formation and atmospheric evolution on a range of planets. We also analyze geological records in order to understand what they teach us about climate history on Earth, Mars, and beyond. Faculty: A. Johnson, Olson, Pearce, Tremblay
We study the interiors, geodynamics, tectonics, thermal evolution, and impact processes across the solid bodies of the Solar System using data returned from spacecraft missions and sophisticated numerical models. Faculty: Borlina, Bramson, Freed, B. Johnson, Sori
We study the mineralogical, morphological, and tectonic evolution of planetary surfaces using remote sensing analysis, field and laboratory analog studies, and computational methods to understand the processes and environments that shape the landscapes of planets. Faculty: Bramson, Horgan, B. Johnson, Minton, Sori, Thompson, Tremblay
We use state-of-the-art laboratory experiments to analyze extraterrestrial samples, including meteorites, Moon rocks returned by Apollo astronauts, and materials collected from asteroids. Our techniques allow us to study the physical and chemical evolution of the surface of the Earth and other planets and moons. Faculty: Borlina, Thompson, Tremblay
Solar System Dynamics
We use observations of populations of Solar System objects and their orbits, combined with computer simulations, to study the formation and evolution of planetary and satellite systems to understand how our Solar System and others developed through time. Faculty: Minton
We have been and are continuing to be involved with NASA and international spacecraft missions, including MESSENGER, Hayabusa2, OSIRIS-REx, GRAIL, the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, the Curiosity and Perseverance Mars rovers, Mars Odyssey, Dawn, and more. We are also active in planning the next generation of robotic spacecraft missions, human exploration, and astronomical observatories. Faculty: All
Planetary Science News
Odysseus Lunar Lander's Mission to the Moon
WLFI — It's been more than 50 years since the US first landed on the moon, and now there is a plan to pay it another visit. Ali Bramson, of Purdue EAPS, speaks with WLFI News about the planned lunar mission's life cycle.
MastCamZ captures solar eclipse on Mars
NASA — NASA's Mars Perseverance rover acquired images of a solar eclipse on Mars using its Left Mastcam-Z camera. Mastcam-Z is a pair of cameras located high on the rover's mast. Dr. Briony Horgan, of Purdue EAPS, is on the MastCam-Z team. Images were captured on Feb. 8, 2024 (Sol 1056) at the local mean solar time of 06:29:35.
12 states in path of totality during April 8 solar eclipse
FOX WEATHER — The highly-anticipated total solar eclipse will be visible across a large portion of the U.S. on April 8, covering several major cities such as Dallas, Indianapolis, Cleveland and more. During this event, the moon will completely cover the sun. Dr. Ali Bramson, of Purdue EAPS, joins FOX Weather to discuss why this path is unique and what makes it special.
Farewell to Our Flying Friend and Closing in on the Crater Rim
NASA — "While it is sad to be leaving Ingenuity behind, the future is bright for Perseverance and the science team is in high spirits. Ahead of us lies the mysterious crater rim, which may offer a window into a period of Mars’ history that no rover has ever seen before," writes Henry Manelski, PhD Student at Purdue EAPS for the NASA Mars Perseverance Rover Blog.
Empowering Voices in Science: A Collaborative Film Project Showcasing Female Scientists in Fieldwork
Scientists from Purdue University, University of Nevada, Reno, and Stanford University came together with the goal of highlighting female scientists conducting fieldwork. With funding from National Science Foundation (NSF)’s EAR Petrology and Geochemistry Program, the team partnered with students from the Reynolds School of Journalism to create a short film highlighting some of the women in science who were collaborating on a field project investigating a massive ancient volcanic eruption in central Nevada.
At the Mars Desert Research Station, Purdue crews live and work as if they are truly inhabiting the red planet
PURDUE NEWS — The Mars Desert Research Station (MDRS), located near Hanksville, Utah, has served as Mars on Earth for Purdue researchers since the first all-Boilermaker mission launched in 2017. "It’s a unique opportunity, especially for students who study habitats in extreme environments or in human space exploration,” says Purdue EAPS alumna Adriana Brown (BS environmental geoscience, ’22), commander of MDRS Crew 289.
NASA’s most high-risk endeavor in decades and other boundary-pushing space missions planned for 2024
CNN — The year ahead promises to deliver some spectacular pursuits, pushing human and scientific exploration of the cosmos further than it's gone in decades. Dr. Ali Bramson, of Purdue EAPS, explains which missions she is most excited about in the coming year in this interview with CNN.
The Tantalizing Mystery of the Solar System’s Hidden Oceans
WIRED — The moons orbiting Jupiter and Saturn appear to have subsurface oceans which could support life beyond Earth. But it’s not clear why these seas exist at all. Dr. Mike Sori, of Purdue EAPS, is quoted in this article by Wired.