Our Solar System Projects

Target of Opportunity Observation of an Episodic Storm on Uranus

Tuesday, November 04 2014 - 10:58 am, PST
Target of Opportunity Observation of an Episodic Storm on Uranus

Experiments to investigate Coherent Backscatter from atmosphereless bodies

Friday, October 31 2014 - 12:17 pm, PDT
We propose to conduct a set of controlled laboratory experiments to investigate the nature of coherent backscattering from high albedo, atmosphereless solar system bodies.

Orbital evolution of outer Solar System satellites

Thursday, September 01 2011 - 2:22 pm, PDT
This proposal focuses on the dynamics of satellites orbiting three outer Solar System objects: Jupiter, Saturn and the dwarf planet Haumea. The proposed work is divided into three main themes, each dealing with one of the above systems. In each case we use dynamical models to uncover the past of the system.

Planetary Protection: Policy Development, Implementation Issues, and Societal Concerns

Wednesday, April 13 2011 - 5:00 pm, PDT
Our work will maintain a focus on planetary protection policies and implementation in the context of scientific exploration in the solar system, and will also examine and communicate about the implications of new and revised PP policy in response to future planned human missions and commercial space activities on the Moon and Mars.

Formation of Solar and Extrasolar Giant Planets by Core-Nucleated Accretion

Wednesday, September 01 2010 - 2:27 pm, PDT
The objective of the proposed research is the improvement of the understanding of gas giant planet formation through the Core-Nucleated Accretion model, based on constraints derived from solar and extrasolar planet observations.

The Rings Node for the Planetary Data System

Friday, August 28 2009 - 2:14 pm, PDT
Continued improvements in the Planetary Data System, specifically the Rings Node, including development of an interactive website to engage the public about the diversity and significance of planetary ring systems.

Exploration of Planets Past, Present, and Future Habitability

Wednesday, January 07 2009 - 3:59 pm, PST
Planetary habitability is the measure of a planet's (or a satellite’s) potential to develop and sustain life. While life beyond the Earth is still uncertain, planetary missions show that conditions for habitability (i.e. water, energy, nutrients) were met in the past, and still possibly today in specific environments on Mars and on several moons of the outer solar system. Central to our investigation is the notion that habitability evolves with time. For instance, some planets could have been habitable in the past and may not be anymore; the Earth, that is not only habitable but has developed life, has seen its broad range of habitats change over geological times through climate cycles and planetary-scale catastrophes (e.g., asteroid and comet impacts) that were followed sometimes by near complete extinctions and the redistribution of habitats and dominant species. Currently, Global Warming is showing how rapidly habitats and species can disappear following climate change. Yet, humanity’s ability to explore and understand its environment can have positive consequences, which is in the case of our planet, to reduce human-induced biodiversity loss, and for other planets, to explore and engineer apparently sterile worlds (e.g., the Moon and Mars) to make them habitable and productive for future generations.

Properties of Saturn's Ring Particles from Occultations and Thermal Observations

Tuesday, May 13 2008 - 10:21 am, PDT
Analysis of Cassini data regarding Saturn’s main rings to further develop modeling of ring optical thickness and advance our understanding of how particle properties affect the evolution of the ring system.

A Coupled Thermal/Radiative Transfer Model Addressing the Infrared Emission of Saturn's Rings in Response to Radiative Forcing

Thursday, May 01 2008 - 10:09 am, PDT
A study to continue the development of a thermal/radiative transfer model of Saturn’s rings, accounting for orbital motion, spin, particle size distribution, and the vertical profile of the ring.