All planets in our solar system (with the exception of Mercury) have an atmosphere but their composition and wind circulation patterns are completely different, derived e.g. via cloud tracking. In combination with model calculations including chemical reactions it is possible to dintinguish between dynamical and chemical processes in planetary atmospheres. [more]
The interior of planets is a major research topic at MPS. Theoretical modelling and computer simulations in combination with the data analysis of instruments like seismometers or laser altimeters are used as tools to investigate the dynamics of rocky mantles or iron cores. [more]
Comets and asteroids are relicts of the solar system about 4.5 billion years ago, a time when the planets did not yet exist. Observing these objects with groundbased telescopes or with camera systems and spectrometer onboard spacecraft allow us to study the properties of the early solar system. [more]
Planetary surfaces are the boundary locations where the solid or liquid material of the outer crust on planetary bodies comes into contact with the atmosphere or outer space. Planetary surfaces can be found on a variety of cosmic objects starting from terrestrial planets and their satellites to planetesimals. One of the main goals of the study of planetary surfaces is to develop an understanding of the basic physical processes underlying the morphology and evolution of planetary surfaces in our solar system.
The interplanetary space in the vicinity of planets and small bodies is filled with neutral and charged particles created during the interaction of the solar wind with planetary atmospheres, or created in sputtering processes of objects with solid surfaces without atmosphere, or created in volcanic processes existent on some moons in our solar system. Charged particles are trapped in the magnetic field of a planet or another object (e.g. the Jovian moon Ganymede) in its "magnetosphere". [more]