The Planetary Systems Branch is primarily in N245, with some laboratory facilities in N239.
Chief: Dr. Jeff Hollingsworth
Assistant Chief: Sandra Owen
Front Office: 650-604-5524
Observational, theoretical, and experimental research on the origin and evolution of planetary systems
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?
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.
Code SST Highlights
Title : Ames Volcanic Science Research Highlighted in EOS — POC: Jennifer Heldmann — Dr. Erika Rader (NPP, Code SST, Advisor Dr. Jennifer Heldmann) has conducted novel volcanic science experiments at the Syracuse Lava Project (SLP) which were recently highlighted in an article in EOS, the publication of the American Geophysical Union (AGU). […]
Saturn without rings? Jeff Cuzzi and Paul Estrada —We provided some material on this a few weeks ago, arising from new Cassini results first presented publicly at the Fall AGU meeting (J. Hollingsworth Powerpoint slide to Code S), but the story continues to resonate with this new article just out in National Geographic: https://news.nationalgeographic.com/2018/01/how-old-saturns-rings-moons-space-science/ containing a well-balanced discussion […]
BASALT Research Program Hawaii 2017 Field Deployment POC: Darlene Lim (Code SST) The NASA SMD funded BASALT (Biologic Analog Science Associated with Lava Terrains) research program completed their third and final field deployment to Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park (HVNP). […]
SUBSEA kicks-off three year program with ‘Observation Cruise’ research activities — Abstract:The SUBSEA (Systematic Underwater Biogeochemical Science and Exploration Analog) research program is led by PI Darlene Lim (SST), and comprises a multi-institution and multi-disciplinary team, including Code S and T participation. […]
BASALT field team about to embark on field deployment to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park Abstract: The BASALT (Biologic Analog Science Associated with Lava Terrains) research project is an on-going, multi-year program dedicated to conducting (non-simulated) field science research under simulated Mars mission conditions with the expressed goal of iteratively developing, implementing, and evaluating concepts of […]
new publication: Photochemistry of Coronene in Cosmic—Abstract:This work presents the photochemistry of ultraviolet (UV) irradiated coronene in water ices at 15K studied using mid-infrared Fourier transform (FTIR) spectroscopy for C24H12:H2O at concentrations of (1:50), (1:150), (1:200), (1:300), and (1:400). […]
On Thursday, October 19, 2017, Dr. Andrew Mattioda presented a talk covering the Ames’ NAI (NASA Astrobiology Institute) CAN 7 Team’s work supporting the Choctaw and Chickasaw Nations’ STEM camps (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics). […]
The Lunar Exploration Analysis Group (LEAG), one of NASA’s advisory bodies, held its annual meeting 10-12 October, 2017. Elphic and Colaprete were in attendance. […]
NASA Ames scientists Jennifer Heldmann and Darlene Lim were invited to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Boston, MA (3 Oct 2017) to discuss ongoing and future collaborations regarding planetary science and exploration (particularly robotics, human exploration, and analog research activities). […]
NASA Space Science Division researchers Anthony Colaprete, Richard Elphic, and Jennifer Heldmann delivered oral presentations at the 2017 Annual meeting of the Lunar Exploration Analysis Group (LEAG). […]