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Planetary Science




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: Horgan, Olson

Planetary Atmospheres and Climate

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, Tremblay

Planetary Geophysics

Planetary Geophysics


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: Bramson, Freed, B. Johnson, Sori

Planetary Surfaces

Planetary Surfaces


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

Sample Analysis

Sample Analysis


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: Thompson, Tremblay

Solar System Dynamics

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

Spacecraft missions

Spacecraft Missions


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

This solar system rocks
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Michelle Thompson is a geologist. But while “geo” means earth, she studies things that are decidedly unearthly, or at least extraterrestrial: the moon and asteroids.

'I am just so excited for this step to be taken' | Purdue professor weighs in on Artemis I launch
WTHR — Purdue's planetary science program is one of the largest programs in the country to use NASA spacecraft data to learn about the solar system. After countless delays, NASA's Artemis I moon rocket lifted off early Tuesday morning. It was a mission years in the making. Dr. Ali Bramson, planetary scientist at Purdue University EAPS, sat down with WTHR to discuss the launch and importance of Artemis I.

Purdue EAPS Student Spotlight: Emma Miller
Emma Miller is a Purdue EAPS senior undergraduate student studying atmospheric science. This summer, she attended the NCAR Undergraduate Leadership Workshop in Boulder, CO. In this video, she discusses her experiences with NCAR's Undergraduate Leadership Workshop and as a student within Purdue EAPS.

Science sleuths solve century-old mystery of Martian meteorite's discovery
A toxin which makes pigs vomit is the surprising key which has unlocked the century-old mystery of the origins of a Martian meteorite, and the possible identity of the Black student who discovered it. In 1931, an unusual stone stored in the geological collection of Purdue University in the USA was identified as a pristine example of a meteorite – a piece of space rock blasted from the surface of Mars millions of years ago before being pulled into the Earth’s atmosphere. Dr. Marissa Tremblay is a co-author of this work.

Science sleuths solve century-old mystery of Martian meteorite's discovery
PHYS.ORG — A toxin that makes pigs vomit is the surprising key which has unlocked the century-old mystery of the origins of a Martian meteorite, and the possible identity of the Black student who discovered it. Dr. Marissa Tremblay of Purdue EAPS is mentioned in this article by

Pig vomit toxin key to Martian meteorite mystery
BBC Scotland — The Lafayette meteorite was found in the drawer of an American university's biology department in 1929 but nobody at the Purdue University in Indiana could remember where it came from. One theory suggested that it was donated to them by a "black student" who witnessed it land in a pond while he was fishing. Scientists have attempted to piece together Lafayette's origins by several methods, including a pig vomit toxin. Dr. Marissa Tremblay's work is cited in this BBC Scotland article.

Science Sleuths Solve Century-Old Mystery Of Martian Meteorite's Discovery
FORBES — In 1931, an unusual stone stored in the geological collection of Purdue University was identified as a pristine example of a rare Martian meteorite. The meteorite was named Lafayette after the city of Lafayette in Tippecanoe County, Indiana, where it was supposedly found. However, no written records were taken when the stone arrived at the university and how it ended up in the collection has remained unclear for more than 90 years. Dr. Marissa Tremblay, of Purdue EAPS, is mentioned in this article from Forbes.

Planet-saving asteroid test mission shows need for global teamwork
YAHOO NEWS — If an asteroid large enough to threaten mankind's survival was on a collision course with Earth, inhabitants of every country would care according to Mark Bennett of the Tribune Star. Dr. Brandon Johnson, of Purdue EAPS, is quoted in this article.

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