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

MB Atacama 1

Sampling for Biomarkers in the Atacama Desert

NASA Ames Pathway PhD Candidate, Mary Beth Wilhelm, conducted Mars analog field work in the Atacama Desert in Chile with Senior Research Scientist Dr. Alfonso Davila of the SETI Institute and Civil Servant Dr. Jennifer Eigenbrode of NASA Goddard.

LIDAR scan of FINESSE team members in a lava tube

FINESSE team conducts fieldwork and hosts Media Day at Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve

The Field Investigations to Enable Solar System Science and Exploration (FINESSE) team's first field campaign occurred in Idaho from July 29 to August 8, 2014. 
 
The FINESSE team, led by NASA's Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, California, is focused on a science and exploration field-based research program to generate strategic knowledge in preparation for human and robotic exploration of our moon, Mars’ moons Phobos and Deimos, and near-Earth asteroids.
 
FINESSE Forum

Ames FINESSE Team Presents Science Data at NASA's Exploration Science Forum

The FINESSE (Field Investigations to Enable Solar System Science and Exploration) team participated in the NASA Exploration Science Forum last week at Ames.
FINESS KB-COM

FINESSE team completes first field deployment to Craters of the Moon, Idaho

NASA's FINESSE (Field Investigations to Enable Solar System Science & Exploration) completed the project's first field deployment in July 2014.  
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