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.
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
- GPGN 420 Electrical & Electromagnetics
- GPGN 470 Remote Sensing
- SPRS 501 Space Resources
- GPGN 4xx Planetary Geophysics
Geology and Geological Engineering
- GEOL 410 Planetary Geology
- PHYS 200 Physics II: Electromagnetics and Optics
- MATH 201 Intro to Statistics