Home > Organisation > Horizontal Structures > "Solar System" unit

"Solar System" unit

The main objective of the "Solar System Unit" (“Pôle Système Solaire”) is to federate the various activities led at IPSL in the field of solar system science. The main involved IPSL laboratories are LATMOS, LMD, LISA and LPMAA. Two other laboratories, LSCE and IDES , where studies about climate modelling and planetary geomorphology are conducted, are involved in the unit, and several laboratories in the field of Earth science, plasma physics and environment ( SISYPHE , MAGIE, LPP , GSMA, …) are closely associated to the unit. The unit works in close interaction with the "Planetology Unit" of UniverSud and the planetology group of the University Pierre and Marie Curie (UPMC).

The main research topics of the unit are :

  • The climate and meteorology of planets : study of atmospheres, sub-surfaces and climates of terrestrial planets (Mars, Titan, Venus, exoplanets), studies of Pluton and Triton, and, on the long term, modelling of the atmospheres of giant planets.
  • The origin of planets and life : origin and evolution of life, and its co-evolution with geological and atmospheric environments, processes of synthesis, evolution and degradation of organic matter (Mars, Titan, comets…), physics of comets.
  • The evolution of atmospheres and the magneto-heliospheric interactions : working of envelops at plasma-planet interfaces (Mercury, Mars, Titan), atmospheric escape (Mars, Titan), solar wind acceleration mechanisms, heliosphere, sun-planet connections.

The federative dynamics of the unit, composed of about forty researchers, consists of several specific and complementary actions :

  • Exchange of competences in numerical modelling, laboratory experiments and space instrumentation.
  • Conception and implementation of new inter-laboratory and interdisciplinary research axes (some of them being funded by IPSL).
  • Diffusion of the scientific information inside the unit (workshops, seminars, information letters…).
  • Promotion of the research carried out within the unit (unite publications, planetary atmosphere data base, teaching, outreach…).

The "Solar System Unit" is driving a Master 2 degree called Parcours de Planétologie at the level of Paris region.


Author : Eric Chassefière
Return to list of horizontal structures