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Planetary Environments Group (PEG) and Planetary Atmospheres

The Planetary Environments Group is home to academic and research staff and about ten PhD students. Our aim is to understand better the variety and evolutionary behaviour of planetary environments from a physical science perspective, where appropriate, focussing on aspects related to habitability. Currently the group’s research is directed towards the geology and geomorphology of terrestrial planets, and the weather and climate of planetary atmospheres. On the geological side we use remote sensing and planetary mapping techniques, including GIS and photogrammetry as well as terrestrial analogue fieldwork and laboratory and numerical simulation of planetary surface processes.

Our atmospheres research involves computer modelling using a variety of global and mesoscale models, but analysis of spacecraft remote sensing and in situ data also forms a large part of the work. For Mars, the atmosphere and geology strands are interlinked, and several ongoing projects explore surface-atmosphere interaction, or the effects of changing climate on surface processes. At present, much of our work is focussed on Mars and Mercury, but past and presentprojects have been, and will be, directed to other objects including Venus, large icy bodies, giant planets and even exoplanets.

Current Projects

  • Mars global atmospheric modelling (Lewis)
  • Mars local-scale atmospheric modelling (Lewis, Balme)
  • Mars trace gasses (Patel, Lewis)
  • Mars glacial features (Balme)
  • Mercury mapping (Rothery)