Planetary scientists work to improve our understanding of the planets, satellites and smaller bodies in the solar system. By studying the atmospheres, surfaces and interiors of planets, researchers can get clues to the origins and mechanics of our own home planet. Examples of these studies focus on understanding the origins of planets, using radar to determine the physical characteristics of asteroids, and searching for asteroids that may pose a hazard to Earth. Research is carried out in the laboratory, from astronomical facilities throughout the world, and from spacecraft and landers.
Efforts in radio science at JPL have contributed to significant findings in researching planetary rings, atmospheres, and surfaces.
Europa, Titan, and Enceladus are some of the icy bodies in our solar system that researchers are currently studying as they search for life.