Planetary Sciences Division

Chairman: Prof. Varun Sheel


Our research programs involve the applications of stable and radioactive isotopes to characterize and determine time scales of processes occurring in the early solar system. The aim is to study the origin and evolution of the solar system with a focus on inner planets. We also aim to understand the physical and chemical processes of planetary atmospheres using observations, theoretical simulations, and modeling of planetary atmospheres (Earth & Mars) and comets. The division is also running the Planetary Science and Exploration Programme (PLANEX, Co-ordinator: Dr. D. Banerjee)

Research Programmes:

  1. Petrographic, chemical, and isotopic studies of Meteorites to understand cosmic ray exposure and evolutionary history
  2. Solar X-ray and fluorescence emission from Lunar Surface
  3. Reflectance Spectroscopy of Terrestrial and Lunar samples
  4. Isotope cosmochemistry and early solar system processes
  5. Study of presolar grains to understand various nucleosynthetic processes and stellar evolution
  6. Galactic chemical evolution
  7. Observations and modeling of trace gases, ions, and dust, in the lower atmosphere of Mars
  8. Energetics, optical and X-ray emissions and dynamics of planetary ionospheres with emphasis on the interaction of solar wind and EUV radiation with planetary and cometary atmospheres
  9. PLANEX (Planetary Science and Exploration Programme): Develop payloads for planetary missions, Establishment of National facilities for research in planetary sciences, encourage research projects related to planetary sciences at universities and institutes in India. An Xray Fluorescence Spectrometer, Electron Probe Micro Analyser, Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectrometer and a Noble Gas Mass Spectrometer have been procured and are part of the National Facilities for analysis of Astro materials at PRL.


  • Noble Gas Mass Spectrometer
  • Inductively coupled Plasma Mass spectrometer(ICPMS)
  • Electron Probe Micro Analysis (EPMA)
  • X-ray Fluorescence Spectrometer (XRF)
  • Nano Secondary Ion Mass Spectrometer (NanoSIMS)
  • Multi Collector Inductively coupled Plasma Mass Spectrometer (MC-ICPMS)
  • Reflectance Spectroscopy

Ph. D. Courses Offered:

  • Physics and Chemistry of the Solar System
  • Isotopes in Planetary Science
  • Nuclear Physics and Applications
  • Numerical and Statistical Methods
  • Planetary Atmospheres
  • Modeling of Earth and Planetary Atmospheres
  • Planetary Remote Sensing and Reflectance Spectroscopy