Our research contributes to our understanding of the chemical and physical evolution of the Earth, planets and minor bodies of the Solar System. Based in our labs at The University of Manchester, we take a closer look at the make-up of terrestrial rocks, gases and fluids, and extraterrestrial material, including samples from the Moon, Mars, asteroids, comets and the interplanetary and interstellar medium. Alongside developing our understanding of the universe, we are also provide support for planning planetary missions and studying the surface processes of planetary bodies.

Comparing astronomical objects by studying their chemical structure allows us to understand how they formed and what effects the Universe has on them. We look at the effects of magnetism, impact from comets and asteroids, and climates and sedimentation to see how they modify planets. If we can understand these elements we can build up a stronger picture for the conditions necessary for life in the universe and our own origins on Earth.

Research techniques

To progress our research and understanding, we develop new analytical techniques including: resonance ionization mass spectrometers for ultra-high sensitivity xenon and krypton isotopic determinations, and time-of-flight secondary ion mass spectrometers for multi-element and molecular isotopic analysis at exceptionally high spatial resolution.

Our research expertise

Find out more about our planetary research.

Planetary missions

We are involved in many planetary research missions.