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Planetary Geology and Geophysics
Planetary geology and geophysics activities focus on exploring Earth and the other planets in our solar system. Researchers are involved in volcanology, tectonics, mantle dynamics, and mineralogy. Most recently, several JPL researchers have been involved in studies that are analyzing surface data from the Mars Exploration Rovers (MER) and the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL), known as the Curiosity rover.
‘Cumberland' Target Drilled by Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity rover drill.
Planetary science geophysics and geosciences studies focus on the solid bodies in the solar system, with particular emphasis on planets and major satellites. Research topics include:
surface geochemistry, mineralogy, and morphology
lithosphere and mantle dynamics
gravity and magnetic field interpretation
The planetary bodies at the center of most studies include Mars, Earth, Venus, Moon, Io, Europa, Titan, Vesta and Ceres, and methods include image interpretation (visible, infrared, radar), laboratory work, field work, infrared spectroscopy, geophysical data interpretation, modeling and laboratory work.
Research efforts originate from a variety of NASA and JPL programs, including: