Advanced science.  Applied technology.

Planetary Science

Our research spans the evolution of asteroids, comets, meteoroids, dust and other small bodies while we explore how and when Earth formed and whether Earth-like planets exist elsewhere. The planetary astronomy research group, formed in 1994 by Southwest Research Institute (SwRI), is located in Boulder, Colorado, in the scientifically fertile region at the base of the Rocky Mountains. The office, which started with two scientists and a part-time administrative assistant, has grown to more than 65 employees who continue to:

  • Study nearly every aspect of the solar system and related astronomical topics
  • Lead and participate in space missions
  • Develop instrumentation
  • Conduct laboratory studies

The Planetary Science Directorate has established itself as a world-recognized center of planetary research. It hosts a steady stream of international visiting scientists and engineers and organizes workshops and meetings with focused scientific and space exploration topics. Its diverse areas of research include: