What is Planetary science: Definition and 21 Discussions

Planetary science or, more rarely, planetology, is the scientific study of planets (including Earth), moons, and planetary systems (in particular those of the Solar System) and the processes that form them. 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 geology (together with geochemistry and geophysics), cosmochemistry, atmospheric science, oceanography, hydrology, theoretical planetary science, glaciology, and exoplanetology. 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. Some planetary scientists work at private research centres and often initiate partnership research tasks.

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  1. S

    Requesting advice on astrobiology/planetary science career path and classes

    Hello, I am confused on whether to choose an astrobiology degree. I am planning to apply for planetary science or astronomy with computational intensive programmes in universities. My career aspirations are to work as a researcher/professor in astronomy or planetary science(I am interested in...
  2. xpell

    B At what distance would a Venus-like planet have a HZ temperature?

    Well... that: Please, could you please assist me in obtaining a rough estimate of the distance from the Sun at which a planet resembling Venus or a hypothetical Venus-like planet (for the sake of simplicity) would have a habitable-zone surface temperature? A "back-of-the-envelope" educated...
  3. V

    Programs Astrophysics or planetary science?

    Hi I am a computer science undergraduate working as a data scientist. I generally love studying physics and planetary science. I am aspiring to research in biomarkers and bio signatures in planets. If I have to choose this research path should I study masters in, astrophysics or...
  4. P

    I Do more impact craters always signify old age of a surface?

    I've learned that the surfaces of places like the moon and the surfaces on Mars corresponding to the Noachian period signify relatively old surfaces because weathering and erosion tend to make those cratered surfaces smooth. However, I heard a professor mention that this is also true for icy...
  5. S

    Moving from Computer Science to a PhD in Computational Astrophysics

    Hi I am planning to do phd in computational astrophysics or planetary science or scientific computing simulation (least preferred in case i am not allowed to the other two). Right now I have bachelors in computer science and planning to do masters in the same. My query is should i join...
  6. S

    Physics Computer vision engineer looking for career change into physics

    I am a computer science graduate working in computer vision , remote sensing field for a private company. Been studying physics on my own for curiosity(A levels, H&R books, feynman essentials) . I developed interest in physics few years back and I have been searching for ways to convert my...
  7. JGHunter

    What makes a planet habitable?

    I am more of a budding (sorry) botanist / plant scientist, but I have an interest in astrophysics, how planets came to be the way they are and how this can help us understand what makes a habitable planet. I'm also starting something of a novel regarding a failing terraformed utopia. I won't...
  8. F

    I Liquid water reservoir reported under Mars polar cap

    The analysis is based on 29 radar profiles collected between May 2012 and December 2015. The identified region is about 20-km wide. The report acknowledges the results are consistent with with water or water-laden sediments. A brief discussion on the BBC (with no citations) asserted that...
  9. itsarah55

    Other Industry Jobs for a Planetary Scientist

    I am recent undergraduate with a B.S in Astrophysics. I was looking at getting a PhD in planetary science, but curious what type of industry jobs are available. I'm not interested in working in academia.
  10. hhhp8cec1

    Semi major axis - planetary Science

    Homework Statement A comet with a perihelion distance of d = 1.242 is currently 211(degrees) from pericenter, and 4.499 AU from the Sun. Compute the semi-major axis a of this comet’s orbit. Homework Equations P(^2) = a^3The Attempt at a Solution I tried to use Kepler's third law but I don't...
  11. Tone L

    Schools Graduate schools with Planetary Sciences

    I was curious if anyone knew of any schools that offered graduate degrees in planetary sciences, specifically studying other planets atmospheres. May be it the study of the atmosphere itself or remote sensing techniques for planetary atmospheres. I know how to find schools that offer the...
  12. pioneerboy

    I What's Next for Astrogeology and Planetary Sciences?

    I dropped out of physics in college and have several career choices now for the near future being all vocational. In the far future I want to end up in planetary sciences again. So, I'll want to work again with planetesimals, dwarf planets, evolution of planets, their geology, and astrobiology...
  13. Bumpeh

    Exploring the Universe: My Journey in Planetary Science Careers

    First off, let me start by saying this isn't a thread asking about career prospects or salary prospects or anything like that. I've finally reached a point in my life where I know I want to pursue physics, and I'm extremely thrilled by the idea of Planetary Science. Nor do I have a romanticized...
  14. GiantSheeps

    Schools Schools with astronomy, observatory, and planetary science

    Hi! So I've begun the process of looking at colleges now and I really would like to go to a school in the US or Canada with an astronomy major, an observatory of its own, and some sort of planetary science program. I've made a list of the schools that I've been able to find with those things...
  15. pioneerboy

    Lunar and Planetary Laboratory vs. Steward Observatory

    Hi there, The University of Arizona has these two institutes (among many others, of course): - Lunar and Planetary Laboratory, LPL for short - Steward Observatory As far as I understand, both are into space research and astronomy. If I wanted to join either one or the other, I would have no...
  16. S

    Astrophysics or Planetary Science

    Astrophysics...or Planetary Science Hi Guys, I need some advice about Astrophysics and Planetary Science. I'm in Columbia U right now, freshman year intending to major in Astrophysics BA. Recently, I found myself getting more and more interested in Solar Physics. I looked around grad...
  17. D H

    NASA NASA planetary science budget woes

    This is from last week (I was on vacation and then I worked like a dog to make up for the vacation): Nature news article on the subject: http://www.nature.com/news/nasa-funding-shuffle-alarms-planetary-scientists-1.14304 Eric Berger on the subject...
  18. L

    Difference between Astrophysics and Planetary Science?

    What are the main differences between Astrophysics* and Planetary Science? What are their roles? And, which of the two is responsible for the first cloud map of a planet outside of our solar system? http://www.space.com/23043-alien-planet-cloud-map-image-kepler-7b.html *I mean just the...
  19. P

    Programs Majoring in Planetary Science?

    I am currently majoring in astrophysics as an undergrad, but my eventual goal is to have a masters or PhD in planetary science. I'm at the point of the course ladder where I've finished up the vanilla physics and math prereqs in order to start on my major specific courses. Long story short...
  20. T

    Astronomy or planetary science?

    My main interest in physics is b/c of astronomy. I'm doing physics undergrad as a stepping stone to grad school astronomy/astrophysics. However upon introspection I notice that my main interest in space lies in the solar system and exoplanets and the potential for life. Is astronomy then the...
  21. S

    Astronomy, Astrophysics, Cosmology, Planetary Science

    What exactly are the differences between Astronomy, Astrophysics, Cosmology, Planetary Science?