Planetary Systems Branch (Code SST)

Observational, theoretical, and experimental research on the origin and evolution of planetary systems
Hubble observations that discovered rings of Uranus

Hubble observations that discovered rings of Uranus

How common are planetary systems around nearby stars? Which conditions are necessary for planet formation? Are there other Earth-like planets capable of harboring life? What forms of life can be sustained in different physical and chemical environments?

Solar nebula models have revolutionized conceptions of solar system formation

Solar nebula models have revolutionized conceptions of solar system formation

We have world-class expertise in planetary geology and geophysics, planetary atmospheres and climate, and planetary disks and rings.

Solar nebula models have revolutionized conceptions of solar system formation.

Our scientists are at the very forefront of many observational and theoretical studies.

Extensive Mars research efforts include global circulation modeling of the atmosphere, and detailed studies of the geology, chemistry and mineralogy of surface materials.

Ames scientists also provide science and engineering leadership in sub-surface exploration, with a demonstrated capability in developing and testing drills.

Branch scientists conduct a large array of Mars analog field campaigns in arid sites such as Antarctica, the Atacama desert in Chile, California’s Mojave desert, and the Rio Tinto region of Spain, making critical tests of technologies and practices that will be integrated into future missions.

Branch scientists are conducting science and engineering concept studies for future missions including Mars Scout concepts like the Mars Polar Drill and Mars Meteorology Orbiter.

 

 

MARTE Drilling and Sampling System

MARTE Drilling and Sampling System

 


Instruments such as the Mars Oxidant Analyzer (MOI) for the ESA 2011 ExoMars Mission show that we have an international reputati

Instruments such as the Mars Oxidant Analyzer (MOI) for the ESA 2011 ExoMars Mission show that we have an international reputat

SST participation in current and future Mars Missions

SST participation in current and future Mars Missions

SST

SST

SST2

SST2

Deep Impact mission graph

Ground-based observations by our scientists helped to make the Deep Impact mission a success and led to three papers in Science

The Planetary Systems Branch is primarily in N245, with some laboratory facilities in N239.

Chief: Dr. Jeff Hollingsworth
Email: Jeffery.L.Hollingsworth@nasa.gov

Assistant Chief: Sandra Owen
Email: Sandra.Owen@nasa.gov

Front Office: 650-604-5524

 Highlights

FINESSE and BASALT Media Day

FINESSE and BASALT programs hold Media Day at Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve

NASA's Field Investigations to Enable Solar System Science and Exploration (FINESSE) and Biologic Analog Science Associated with Lava Terrains (BASALT) teams partnered with the National Park Service (NPS) to host a Media Day at the Robert Limbert Visitor Center at Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve in Idaho (August 2015).  

Resource Prospector Prototype Rover and Payload get Dirty!

Resource Prospector Prototype Rover and Payload get Dirty!

For the last several weeks (3-17 August, 2015) the Resource Prospector (RP) team has been conducting functional and performance testing of an RP rover and payload prototype at JSC. 
Leonard Medal awarded to Dr. Jeff Cuzzi

Leonard Medal awarded to Dr. Jeff Cuzzi

The Meteoritical Society gave its highest award, the Leonard Medal, to Ames' Jeff Cuzzi at the 2015 annual meeting, this year held on the UC Berkeley campus.

LADEE Solves Decades-Old Question About Moon’s Neon

The Christian Science Monitor (8/18, Warner, 455K) continues coverage of how the LADEE spacecraft confirmed that the moon’s atmosphere, also known as an exosphere contains neon. Mehdi Benna of the Goddard Space Flight Center, the lead author of the study, said, “The presence of neon in the exosphere of the moon has been a subject of speculation since the Apollo missions, but no credible detections were made. ...
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