Planetary Systems Branch (Code SST)

Solar nebula models have revolutionized conceptions of solar system formation
Solar nebula models have revolutionized conceptions of solar system formation

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

Observational, theoretical, and experimental research on the origin and evolution of planetary systems

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?

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

SS Weekly Highlight

Title: NASA Ames NAI Team CAN 7 Team and Ames Astrochemistry Laboratory collaborates with Silicon Valley Chapter of the American Chemical Society for National Chemistry Week — Short Story: NASA Ames NAI CAN7 team and the Ames Astrochemistry Laboratory collaborated with the Silicon Valley Chapter of the American Chemical Society (ACS) for several National Chemistry […]

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SS Weekly Highlight

Strategic Plan Core Capability/Objective Reference : Planetary Systems, Obj Understand formation of planets, satellites and rings & their long-term evolution and dynamics.  Analog Research and Instrument Development, Obj Positively affect robotic and human spaceflight utilizing terrestrial environments.  On Friday, 26 October 2018, Jennifer Heldmann (SST) was invited to represent NASA at a White House event in […]

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SS Weekly Highlighs

Title: First results from Cassini’s Grand Finale published — Short Story: In September 2017, the Cassini orbiter plunged into Saturn after completing a highly successful 13 year orbital tour, that started with the delivery of a Titan entry probe – a concept and design first developed at Ames. […]

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SS Weekly highlight

Title: SUBSEA research project completes successful mission to the Lo`ihi Seamount off the coast of the Big Island of Hawai`i. — Short Story:The SUBSEA research project is lead by Dr. Darlene Lim from Code SST at the NASA Ames Research Center in Silicon Valley.  SUBSEA is funded by the NASA SMD P-STAR program with significant […]

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SS Weekly Highlight

Title: Washboard and Fluted Terrains on Pluto as Evidence for Ancient Glaciation— Short Story:  Strategic Plan Core Capability/Objective Reference: 2.3 (Understand Formation of Planets, Satellites and Rings, and Their Long-Term Evolution and Dynamics).  On September 7th 2018 the journal Nature Astronomy accepted a letter authored by Oliver White of the SETI Institute/NASA ARC, which included […]

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SS Weekly Highlight

Title: Great Expectations: Plans and Predictions for New Horizons Encounter With Kuiper Belt Object 2014 MU69
(“Ultima Thule”)—-Short Story: Strategic Plan Core Capability/Objective Reference: 2.3 (Understand Formation of Planets, Satellites and Rings, and Their Long-Term Evolution and Dynamics). On August 2nd 2018 the journal Geophysical Research Letters published a manuscript authored by Jeff Moore of NASA […]

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SS Weekly Highlight

Title: Formation of Metre-Scale Bladed Roughness on Europa’s Surface by Ablation of Ice —- Short Story: Strategic Plan Core Capability/Objective Reference: 1.3 (Landform Evolution Modeling) The journal Nature Geoscience has accepted a manuscript that includes co-authors Jeff Moore of NASA ARC and Ames-based Orkan Umurhan.  The paper describes research to model the formation of jagged, […]

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SS Division Scientist of the Month

    1.Where are you from? And What is your educational background?1. I was born and raised in Minnesota. I went to college in Nebraska where I studied meteorology. I wanted to do that since I was a kid so I knew that I would go to school somewhere where there was a little bit more […]

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SS Weekly Highlight

Title: The NASA Ames NAI Team participates in the Choctaw Nation STEM camp — Short Story: On June 26, 2018, members of the NASA Ames NAI CAN 7 team led a summer STEM camp for high-school students of the Choctaw Nation in Hartshorne, Oklahoma.  […]

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SS Weekly Highlight

Title: The NASA Ames NAI Team participates in the Chickasaw Nation Aeronautics and Space Academy (CNASA) —  Short Story: Drs. Gustavo Cruz-Diaz and Christopher Materese of the NAI Ames CAN 7 Team participated in the Chickasaw Nation Aviation and Space Academy (CNASA) held in Ada, Oklahoma. The Chickasaw Nation have been conducts this week-long camp […]

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