Planetary exploration

Planetary Exploration

The theme of planetary exploration concerns the application of the expertise of the department to define instruments, trajectories and missions for exploring the characteristics of other planets and moons in our solar system. Major sub-themes are autonomous navigation and extremely precise deep-space tracking with innovative laser ranging and Very Long Baseline Interferometry (VLBI) techniques. It also encompasses planetary physics. This development was enhanced by the appointment of Prof. I. de Pater from Berkeley, the internationally acknowledged expert in planetary sciences, as part-time professor to the department in 2010. The department therefore started to build
a new capacity group in this field and has already received grants from NWO and the European Union. The ambition is to become the principal investigator for a dedicated instrument on one of the future international planetary missions. There is a particular interest in sub-surface oceans on planetary moons, but planetary ring systems also belong in this field because of our expertise in orbital mechanics. 

copyright: Michael Carroll, JPL

Poster with MSc topics on Solar System Exploration (click for larger version)

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