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Image of Mars

Planetary science is the study of the interiors, surfaces, and atmospheres of solar system objects and the processes that govern them. This is done through computer simulations, laboratory experiments, field studies of Earth analogs, and spacecraft investigations. ESS is active in all of these aspects with a focus on investigations of the Moon, Mars, and the icy satellites of outer planets. We take an interdisciplinary approach to better understand various aspects of planetary systems, such as:

  • The relationship between the solar wind, magnetosphere, and atmospheric development
  • Compositional and radiative properties of planetary atmospheres and their evolution
  • Polar and periglacial features and the behavior of ices
  • Surface morphology, dynamics, and composition (e.g. soil mineralogy) as indicators of past climates, hydrological cycles and geochemical processes
  • The potential for the development of life under present and past conditions in surface and subsurface environments
  • The composition and development of the crust and planetary interiors

Group Website:

Planetary Science at UW

Faculty Members:

David Catling
Alan Gillespie
Erika Harnett
Dave Montgomery
Dale Winebrenner
Stephen Wood