Planetary Sciences

AGU’s Planetary Sciences Section encompasses basic research into the nature of planets and how they work, as well as the planning and implementation of space missions for exploration and discovery.

Members of the Section are interested in understanding both the current properties of the known planets and the formation and evolution of each planetary body and its environment from the core through the magnetosphere. Small bodies, that is, rings, satellites, comets, asteroids and Kuiper Belt Objects are also within our purview. The area of Astrobiology seeks to understand the conditions and environments that might have been conducive to the origin and evolution of life, and to the formation, detection and characterization of extra-solar planets.

Approaches to planetary research include acquisition and analysis of data accumulated from spacecraft and telescopes, analytical and experimental laboratory analyses, and the formulation and testing of analytical and numerical models of natural systems. Geophysical and geochemical principles from all sections of AGU are tested and applied as new discoveries are made that illuminate complex planetary processes.

The Planetary Sciences section has established a total of two awards and three named lectures which recognize scientists who are in the early, mid, and advanced stages of their career. Details about each honor are provided below.