Planetary Physics


Planetary Physics

The interior structure and evolution of planetary bodies are affected by endogenic processes acting deep inside the body and manifesting themselves at the surface through various geological and tectonic features. These can be identified and remotely sensed by using space probes carrying scientific instruments close to a target planet. A wealth of useful information can be gleaned then from multi-spectral imaging, collecting gravitational and magnetic field data, and analyzing neutral and charged particles. Although the evolution, composition, and interiors of terrestrial, or earth-like, planets have some features in common, such as iron-rich cores, slowly convecting silicate mantles, and rigid crustal layers – they are entirely different in many other respects. The main goal of the working group therefore consists in numerically modelling the relevant physical processes to better understand these similarities and differences. Furthermore, our studies may afford some insight into the exceptional position of Earth among the terrestrial planets.

Main science objectives

  • Interior structure of planetary bodies
  • Mantle convection in planets and moons
  • Gravitational and magnetic fields
  • Seismology of planetary bodies
  • Habitability and thermal evolution
  • Tectonics of planetary surfaces
  • Thermal and physical modeling of planetary surfaces
  • Thermal probes for heat flow measurements on planetary surfaces

Prof.Dr. Doris Breuer
German Aerospace Center

Institute of Planetary Research
, Planetary Physics
Tel: +49 30 67055-301

Fax: +49 30 67055-303

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