Stanford University
Illustration of planet

planetary science

exploring other worlds

photo by nasa/jpl

why study planets?

like pioneers, planetary scientists explore new worlds and push the boundaries of humankind’s reach in the universe. as planetary scientists, we lay eyes on landscapes never seen before, and use our observations to seek answers to some of the most fundamental and existential questions there are. where do we come from? where are we going? are we alone in the universe?

in addition to its fundamental and exploratory aspirations, planetary science has concrete applications to pressing issues for humankind. earth is a planet, and by looking at other planets, we can get a glimpse at earth’s past and potential futures. humans are affecting earth in ways that may threaten its long-term habitability. other planets can teach us how to adjust our interactions with the natural world towards sustainable habitability, and potentially provide a source of raw materials and energy through in situ resource utilization.

why study planetary science at stanford?

we have access to cutting-edge facilities and infrastructures at both the university main campus and at slac. stanford sits at the heart of a vibrant community of planetary scientists around the bay area, including researchers at uc berkeley, uc santa cruz, uc davis, nasa ames, the seti institute, and lawrence livermore national lab. our research also benefits from silicon valley’s long history and culture of data-driven science and innovation.

meet our community

faculty, researchers, postdocs, and external affiliates.

navigate to item-申博体育_申博开户

planetary science-related events

join seminars and forums for planetary scientists.

bay area planetary science forum

join our regional group of scientists, researchers, and academics working in planetary science. watch for events on this page, contact mathieu lapôtre at or visit the baps website.

navigate to item-申博体育_申博开户

planetary science news

researchers model source of eruption on jupiter’s moon europa

a new model shows how brine on jupiter’s moon europa can migrate within the icy shell to form pockets of salty water that erupt to the surface when freezing. the findings, which are important for the upcoming europa clipper mission, may explain cryovolcanic eruptions across icy bodies in the solar system.

navigate to researchers model source of eruption on jupiter’s moon europa-申博体育_申博开户

perseverance will seek signs of life on mars

according to stanford university mars experts, nasa’s latest martian rover will drive a wave of exciting discoveries when it lands on the red planet – and possibly alter scientists’ understanding of the blue one it launches from.

navigate to perseverance will seek signs of life on mars-申博体育_申博开户

a steaming cauldron follows the dinosaurs’ demise

the chicxulub impact crater that is linked to the extinction of the dinosaurs hosted a hydrothermal system that chemically and mineralogically modified more than 100,000 cubic kilometers of earth’s crust, according to new research.

navigate to a steaming cauldron follows the dinosaurs’ demise-申博体育_申博开户

hunting down clues to earth's early molten days

scientists are still trying to piece together how earth transformed from a molten planet to one with living creatures walking around on its silicate mantle and crust. hints lie in the strange ways materials behave under extreme temperatures and pressures.

navigate to hunting down clues to earths early molten days-申博体育_申博开户
icons-申博体育_申博开户list of icons used on the sitemail-申博体育_申博开户linkedin-申博体育_申博开户double carrot left-申博体育_申博开户arrow left-申博体育_申博开户double carrot-申博体育_申博开户player-申博体育_申博开户instagram-申博体育_申博开户close-申博体育_申博开户carrot-申博体育_申博开户quote-申博体育_申博开户facebook-申博体育_申博开户twitter-申博体育_申博开户plus-申博体育_申博开户minus-申博体育_申博开户search-申博体育_申博开户menu-申博体育_申博开户arrow-申博体育_申博开户cloud-申博体育_申博开户clock-申博体育_申博开户