Space Geophysics

Moon as seen by NIMS


Artist’s concept of a view looking down on NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. The spacecraft is using its Shallow Subsurface Radar instrument (SHARAD) to “look” under the surface of Mars. The radar instrument will seek liquid or frozen water within the first few hundred feet (up to a kilometer) under the Martian surface. 

What is Space Geophysics?

  • Space Geophysics investigates the surfaces and interiors of planetary bodies to give insight into the Solar System’s formation and evolution, provide access to natural resources, and enable planetary defense.








Space geophysics is a rapidly growing field of study. Whether working for NASA, a major private contractor, or a startup run by former Mines’ students, space geophysics enables you to play with a wide variety of airborne and ground-based remote sensing tools, to study the structure/composition of asteroids, and to understand the volcanic and seismic activity of nearby planets. Not only can you design and apply for NASA mission proposals, but you will also study important geophysical techniques that are equally applicable for careers in the mining and energy industries on Earth.

Nicholas Dorogy

PhD Student, Mines Geophysics

Image right: The STS-99 Shuttle Radar Topographic Mission (SRTM) was the most ambitious Earth mapping mission to date. This illustration shows the Space Shuttle Endeavour orbiting some 145 miles (233 kilometers) above Earth. (NASA)

Explore the Work

Space Geophysicists map the interiors of comets and asteroids to explore for in-situ resources and guide planetary defense. (Photo: NASA)

Space Geophysicists provide early warning for solar storms, facilitating protection of critical space infrastructure and electric grids. (Image: NASA)

Space Geophysicists identify, map and characterize natural resources and safe habitats required for human presence on the Moon. (Image: NASA/GSFC/ASU)

Space Geophysicists guide the search for life on Mars, provide insight into past climate, and access resources for human habitation. (Perry, PSI)

Components of the Track

Geophysics Courses

  • GPGN 411 Gravity and Magnetics Methods
  • GPGN 420 Electrical & Electromagnetics Methods
  • GPGN 455 Earthquake Seismology
  • GPGN 470 Remote Sensing
  • GPGN 473 Cryosphere Geophysics
  • GPGN 4xx Planetary Geophysics*

*Course is under development

Geology and Geological Engineering

  • GEOL 410 Planetary Geology
  • GEGN 475 Application of GIS


  • MATH 432 Spatial Statistics

Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences

  • HASS 360 Research, Values, Communication
  • HASS 427 Risk Communication

Economics and Business

  • EBGN 201 Principles of Economics
  • EBGN 310 Environment & Resource Economics

Mechanical Engineering

  • MEGN 408 Introduction to Space Exploration


  • PHGN 324 Introduction to Astronomy

Space Resources

  • SPRS 501 Space Resources
Student Perspective