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
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 […]
http://www.greatmindsinstem.org/professionals/award-winners-2015.htm Great Minds in STEM: Vision Be a national leader in keeping America technologically strong by promoting Science, Technology, Engineering and Math careers especially in underserved communities. Mission To inspire and motivate underserved students to pursue careers in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) To enlighten and engage families, educators, communities and employers to assist […]
Read the story here: http://www.wsj.com/articles/nathalie-cabrol-looks-for-life-on-mars-1429298416?tesla=y […]
The Resource Prospector (RP) team successfully completed testing of the Near InfraRed Volatiles Spectrometer System (NIRVSS) and Drill system in lunar-like conditions. The test was conducted in the GRC VF-13 vacuum chamber to evaluate/test/assess RP’s method for regolith sample acquisition and sub-surface volatiles quantification. The VF-13 chamber uses a drill tube of cryogenically-frozen lunar simulant […]
Conversations with microbes. Planetary explorer Nathalie Cabrol delves into some of the biggest questions of the universe: How did Earth come to have life? Are we alone in the universe? And how soon can we find out? To learn the answers to these questions, she explores extreme biology and environmental conditions on Earth that have […]
Each year, the Ames-led FINESSE (Field Investigations to Enable Solar System Science & Exploration) team conducts planetary analog fieldwork in the volcanic landscape in and around Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve, Idaho. Fieldwork focuses on understand the processes, geomorphic features and rock types related to fissure eruptions, volcanic constructs, lava tubes, flows […]
NASA Ames recently led the “Mojave Volatiles Prospector” (MVP) robotic field test to study the use of in-situ prospecting instruments in a real-time robotic surface mission.The field test was designed as a high-fidelity lunar analog mission where scientists (Code S) operated the Ames K-Rex rover (Code T) in the Mojave Desert as a lunar analog […]
Ames is currently conducting the “Mojave Volatiles Prospector” (MVP) robotic field test to study the use of in-situ prospecting instruments in a real-time robotic surface mission.The field test is designed as a high-fidelity lunar analog mission, with emphasis on field science and “high-tempo” science operations. The experience, lessons learned, and results from MVP will inform […]
http://www.nasa.gov/ames/rover-searches-california-desert-for-water-to-simulate-future-lunar-missions/ The K-Rex rover during an engieering field test at the Basalt Hills quarry, California in October 2012. Image Credit: NASA […]
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. The team collected samples from the extreme hyper-arid core of the Atacama, which receives less than […]