The Institute for Planets and Exoplanets (iPLEX) is an academic consortium bridging the interests of UCLA faculty, researchers and students in the departments of Earth and Space Sciences, Physics and Astronomy, and Oceanic and Atmospheric Sciences. Our goal is to promote and...Read More
Distribution of the first annual iPLEX newsletter began on April 24, 2013. This 36-page publication highlights planetary research at UCLA undertaken by scientists from the Earth & Space Sciences, Astronomy, and Atmospheric & Oceanic Science departments, including the...Read More
More than 50 of the world’s top Mars scientists gathered in Royce Hall last week to discuss whether life could survive on the red planet. Three dozen talks over two days covered topics ranging widely from the current liquid water activity on Mars to NASA’s planetary...Read More
By Kim DeRose Planetary scientists have identified water ice and anomalously dark deposits within permanently shadowed regions at Mercury’s north pole. Using data collected by NASA’s MESSENGER spacecraft, a UCLA team crafted the first accurate thermal model of the solar...Read More
By Ivy S. Carpenter A giant gash scars the surface of Mars. Known as Valles Marineris, it is one of the largest and most recognizable topographic features in our solar system. Boasting a whopping 4000-km length and a depth ranging from 10 – 15 km, it easily dwarfs...Read More
What is it? A transit of Venus occurs when the planet passes directly between the Earth and the Sun. Then, Venus can be seen crossing the disk of the sun as a circular black spot. When will it occur? From Los Angeles, the transit will be visible on Tuesday, June 5, starting at...Read More
By Jonathan Aurnou & John Cantwell Spend a day at the ocean or just stop to watch the clouds: there’s ample evidence that the fluid systems around you—the oceans and the atmosphere—are in constant motion. These enormous systems are not only moving and constantly...Read More
By Jennifer Scully The above image was generated from Dawn topographic data and is a tilted view of Vesta’s Rheasilvia impact basin, which is a ~500km depression that dominates the topography of Vesta’s southern hemisphere. The Dawn spacecraft arrived at the asteroid Vesta...Read More
By Michaela Shopland The Diviner Lunar Radiometer team based at UCLA, played an integral role in the LCROSS experiment – not only did observations from their instrument help in the selection of the impact site, but the data they gathered after impact helped to eventually...Read More
By Christine Gabrielse Some planets have magnetic fields that act as invisible force fields against the solar wind and the sun’s radiation, called magnetospheres. Although their natural shape is more like a doughnut with the planet at the center, the solar wind is such a...Read More
Meteor Crater (aka Barringer Crater) is about 1 km in diameter and located an hour’s drive east from Flagstaff, Arizona. Formed 50,000 yrs ago by the impact of an iron-nickel asteroid perhaps 50 meters in diameter. Although seen by Barringer as an iron mining prospect,...Read More
Research in the planetary sciences at UCLA spans the full range of topics from solar system formation, planetary growth and structure, interior physics, geology, atmospheric and oceanic sciences, primitive bodies and debris disks and planets around other stars.
Students interested in Planetary Science at UCLA can major in Geophysics and Space Physics, Geochemistry or Geology within the Department of Earth and Space Sciences or in the Department of Physics and Astronomy, depending on their interests. A new major in Planetary Science is expected to be in place soon.