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
FINESSE (Field Investigations to Enable Solar System Science & Exploration) The ARC / SST – led FINESSE team completed its 4th field deployment to Craters of the Moon National Monument & Preserve in Idaho […]
SSERVI August 2017 Report – FINESSE (Heldmann/Lim/Colaprete) -EXPLORATION talk: Marc Seibert (NASA Space Communications & Naviga?on Group at HQ) will be presenting comms analytics from our analog missions and applying these data to the construction of comms architecture guidelines in support of deep-space/Moon/Mars human exploration at the AIAA SPACE Forum, Special Analog Research Forum 360 […]
Relating relaxation of impact crater topography to past heat flow through the crusts of icy satellites is a technique that has been applied to satellites around Jupiter and Saturn. This study led by Oliver White, a SETI researcher based at Ames, was published in Icarus on 15 May 2017 and uses global digital elevation models […]
LIBS instrument demonstration for FINESSE team to assess LIBS capabilities for field research from SciAps Inc, HMC Analytical Instrumentation. FINESSE Field Instrument Working Group activity. […]
Heldmann spoke with Heldmann = featured speaker on CLSE (SSERVI team) monthly Google Hangout to discuss FINESSE research with online community: “Solar System Science, Exploration, and Education”. […]
National Park Service (NPS) has created a video highlighting FINESSE research at Craters of the Moon! https://www.facebook.com/NatureNPS […]
NASA Ames researchers have long been involved in Mars research, particularly focused on astrobiology, habitability, human exploration, and the search for water on Mars. National Geographic has recently begun airing a new docu-series focused on the first human landing on Mars set in 2033. The series chronicles this journey to the Red Planet, and also […]
The 2016 Stanford-Brown iGEM team, under the direction of Lynn Rothschild (SST) and her invaluable lab group, has once come home from the “Jamboree” (competition) laden with awards, including earning a gold medal, Best Measurement and runner-up for Best in Manufacturing, an award they won in 2015. In September five of the Brown students on […]
Dr. Ana Ferreira de Barros (Professor and Researcher at the Federal Center for Technological Education CEFET/RJ), Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, has started a 1 year Visiting Researcher position in the NASA Ames Astrochemistry Laboratory, working with Dr. Andrew Mattioda on the photochemistry of PAHs (Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons) in water ice, Dr. Max Bernstein is serving […]
The 2016 first place award winner for NASA’s Exploration Science Forum Student Poster Competition (hosted annually by NASA’s Solar System Science and Exploration Research Virtual Institute in July) was Yasvanth Poondla, a graduate student at the University of Texas at Austin for his poster titled “Modeling the LCROSS impact plume photodissociation and sublimation of water”. […]