A Distinctive Approach to Polar and Planetary Geophysics
Scientists at the University of Texas Institute for Geophysics (UTIG) employ space-based, airborne, land-based, and marine geophysical methods to better understand ice sheet evolution, climate, and geologic processes in the polar regions. Our scientists devise and implement investigations that use cutting edge tools and field campaigns to monitor current oceanographic, glacial, and ice sheet processes, to determine past rates of polar geological evolution, and to predict how elements of the polar Earth system will evolve in the future.
By taking a distinctively geophysical approach to studying planetary systems, UTIG scientists are building the scientific and technical foundations to lead the next generation of geophysical planetary missions, instruments, and discoveries. UTIG researchers study planetary systems via the tools of terrestrial analog field programs, geophysical modeling, and mission science. With a breadth of research areas ranging from planetary ionospheres to planetary cores, including a strong focus on the cryosphere/hydrosphere, impacts, and deep interior, UTIG specializes on problems relating to Mars, icy satellites, and giant planets.
UTIG researchers seamlessly transfer technologies, tools, and approaches from polar science to bring new insights to planetary exploration. This interplay between expeditionary polar science and planetary missions and data analysis also allows planetary discoveries and technologies to feed back into the development of new tools and new understandings of Earth system processes.
Learn more about our researchers and students studying polar regions and planetary systems.
Graduate Education Opportunities
Every other summer, UTIG offers a Field Methods for Polar and Planetary Science field course designed to provide hands-on training in the collection and processing of geophysical and geomorphic data for graduate and upper-level undergraduate students. The class involves travel to a planetary analog landform (past sites have included debris-covered glaciers in Utah and Wyoming), opportunities to plan and execute an exploration field campaign, and collaborative data analysis opportunities after the fieldwork to synthesize results into abstracts that can be presented at US and international conferences. For more information, contact Jack Holt.
Planetary Geology and Geophysics: This course, taught by Jack Holt every other spring semester, examines the rocky planets and moons of our solar system with an emphasis on surface processes, remote sensing and geophysical techniques. Students read both seminal and cutting-edge papers, learn about missions, instruments, and data types, and conduct research projects. A field trip to study terrestrial analog sites provides hands-on experience geology and remote sensing data.