University of Bristol Planetary Science Group

Bristol Planetary Science Group

Cosmochemistry is the study of elements that form stars, planetary materials, meteorites/asteroids and the interstellar medium. Cosmochemists seek to understand the origin and fate of bodies in stellar systems, often using precise measurments of the isotopic composition of minerals.

Planetary seismology is used to infer the interior structure of planets by modelling and measuring seismic waves that propogate through planets and reflect/refract across boundaries in thier interiors.

Dynamical modelling of the formation of hypothetical planetary systems and of collisions between planetary bodies is performed on supercomputers and tells us how planets form and evolve.

Planetary atmospheres are studied by retreiving information from spectra acquired by instruments aboard spacecraft, such as NASA's Cassini (observing Saturn's moon Titan) or ESA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter spacecraft. Observed atmospheric data are compared with those predicted by computer models to derive atmospheric composition and dynamic behaviour.

Planetary surfaces are studied using data returned from orbiting spacecraft. Images in the visible and infrared at a variety of spatial resolutions are used to interpret planetary geology and thermophysical properties. Laser ranging from orbit and stereo-images allow derivation of surface topography. Infrared imaging spectrometers return hyperspectral data that is interrogated to detect spectral features indicative of key minerals.

Group Members

Jack Dobinson (Schools of Earth Sciences & Physics) Dynamics, supervised by Drs. Leinhardt & Teanby
Prof. Tim Elliott (School of Earth Sciences) Cosmochemistry
Dr. Zoƫ Leinhardt (School of Physics) Dynamics
Dr. Elliot Sefton-Nash (School of Earth Sciences) Surfaces and atmospheres
Jennifer Taylor (School of Earth Sciences) Planetary seismology, supervised by Drs. Teanby & Wookey
Dr. Nicholas Teanby (School of Earth Sciences) Planetary seismology, atmospheres and surfaces
Dr. James Wookey (School of Earth Sciences) Planetary seismology

Page maintained by Elliot Sefton-Nash
School of Earth Sciences, University of Bristol, Wills Memorial Building, Queen's Road, Bristol, BS8 1RJ, U.K.