Related topics: earth · nasa · orbit · solar system · mars

New models hint at longer timescale for Mars formation

The early solar system was a chaotic place, with evidence indicating that Mars was likely struck by planetesimals, small protoplanets up to 1,200 miles in diameter, early in its history. Southwest Research Institute scientists ...

Investigating the rise of oxygenic photosynthesis

About 2.4 billion years ago, at the end of the Archean Eon, a planet-wide increase in oxygen levels called the Great Oxidation Event (GOE) created the familiar atmosphere we all breathe today. Researchers focused on life's ...

New study reveals secrets of Wolfe Creek Crater

A study by an international research team led by Professor Tim Barrows from the University of Wollongong has thrown new light on how frequently large meteorites strike the Earth.

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Planetary science

Planetary science is the scientific study of planets, moons, and planetary systems, in particular those of the Solar System. It studies objects ranging in size from micrometeoroids to gas giants, aiming to determine their composition, dynamics, formation, interrelations and history. It is a strongly interdisciplinary field, originally growing from astronomy and earth science, but which now incorporates many disciplines, including planetary astronomy, planetary geology (together with geochemistry, geophysics and geomorphology as applied to planets), atmospheric science, theoretical planetary science, and the study of extrasolar planets. Allied disciplines include space physics, when concerned with the effects of the Sun on the bodies of the Solar System, and astrobiology.

There are interrelated observational and theoretical branches of planetary science. Observational research can involve a combination of space exploration, predominantly with robotic spacecraft missions using remote sensing, and comparative, experimental work in Earth-based laboratories. The theoretical component involves considerable computer simulation and mathematical modelling.

Planetary scientists are generally located in the astronomy and physics or earth sciences departments of universities or research centres, though there are several purely planetary science institutes worldwide. There are several major conferences each year, and a wide range of peer-reviewed journals.

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