Planetary Geology and Atmospheres Group

Line coordinator:

Planetology and Habitability Department

The Planetary Geology and Atmospheres group studies planetary objects in the Universe that have solid surfaces, including the Earth. Specifically, it investigates the origin, composition, structure, and the processes and agents by which planets, satellites, comets, asteroids and meteorites evolve from their formation. These aspects are key to determining the habitability of planetary environments.

This group's lines of work are as follows:

  1. Study of impact cratering. Combination of field work and remote sensing of natural craters, physical experiments and numerical simulation to study target and projectile properties effects on the cratering process.
  1. Characterisation of geological processes that determine the evolution of planetary objects (characterisation, biogeochemical evolution; hydrothermalism and cryomagmatic evolution).
  1. Participation in mission development (MSL, ExoMars, JUICE, BepiColombo, DART-Hera).
  1. Study of lipid markers and their stable isotopes (specific isotopic composition) as biosignatures for the identification of life and taphonomic processes in organic matter.
  1. Development of numerical models for the study of external geodynamic processes affecting planetary surfaces such as impact cratering, landslides, subsidence, sinkholes, subsidence, fractures, transport and sedimentation phenomena.
  1. Collaboration with Mars Sample Return Science Planning Group-2 (MSPG-2) established by NASA and ESA to update the science community’s planning related to Mars Sample Return science objectives.
  1. Development of mission instrumentation such as the HabitAbility: Brines, Irradiance and Temperature (HABIT) which was integrated into the Surface Platform (Kazachock) of ESA’s ExoMars mission.
  1. Software development and technical preparation for the analysis of REMS data (MSL-Curiosity mission), including radiative transfer calculations for the interpretation of solar system and extrasolar planetary spectra. General studies on thermodynamics of planetary atmospheres and the modelling of early stages of terrestrial atmospheres.

Members | Researchers