Planetology and space exploration

Planetology and Space Exploration" course of the Master's degree in Earth, Planetary and Environmental Sciences (STePE, Université Paris-Saclay)


The Master's degree in Earth, Planetary, and Environmental Sciences (STePE) aims at training high-level scientists to deal with issues related to the Earth, the environment, and the planets. It also provides a solid foundation in one or two disciplines (earth sciences, physics, chemistry, mechanics) and an openness to other specialties (including human and social sciences).

The "Planetology and Space Exploration" (P&ES) course of the STePE Master highlights the study of solar system objects, exoplanets, and exobiology with multidisciplinary teaching touching on all aspects of fundamental research and Research & Development in planetary sciences.

The first objective of this training is the mastery of the fundamental elements necessary for understanding the Earth system, planetary and exoplanetary systems: propagation and interaction of radiation-matter, dynamics of neutral and ionized fluids, chemical, mechanical and thermal kinetics, tracing methods and isotopic dating, planetary geomorphology, meteorites and planetary differentiation, impact physics, exobiology, etc.

Students also learn the application of these basic concepts to understand planetary environments and their diversity so that they comprehend the structure and evolution of Solar System bodies and Exoplanets. The lessons concern terrestrial environments and explore comparative planetology to improve our understanding of the mechanisms governing our planet. These include climate change, geological evolution, the appearance of life, paleoclimates, etc.

The course teaches the concepts of onboard space instrumentation for observing the Earth and planets, by remote sensing and in situ measurements.


Planetology Île-de-France

The course

The Île-de-France Planetology program is a Master's level program (M1 and M2) initiated in 2004. This program includes theoretical and practical courses in physics, chemistry, Earth sciences, biology, space sciences, computer science, and signal processing that concern the study of bodies in the solar system (planets, satellites, asteroids, comets, meteorites) as well as exoplanets.

This training is both inter-institutional (universities, research institutes) and multidisciplinary (students from physics, earth sciences, chemistry, and biology).

It is intended for students who would like to acquire a solid background to orient themselves toward research in Planetology and for those simply wishing to extend their general knowledge to this fascinating field.


Master M1

The teaching units of planetology proposed at the M1 level are opening units given in the various partner institutions. Their main objective is the exploration of some particular aspects of planetology to improve students' knowledge and facilitate their later orientation (M2, Ph.D.). Since 2015-2016, the University of Paris-Saclay has offered a complete M1 in Planetology and Space Exploration.


Master M2

The teaching units at the M2 level are available as "full" courses (in one of the proposed majors, "Internal planetary envelopes" or "External planetary envelopes" with specializations in physics, chemistry, or geology), or as mixed courses with modules from other formations, subject to the agreement of the courses' teaching teams as to the coherence of their choices. This M2 level can lead to a thesis in Planetology or fields related to the environment or astrophysics.

Se former à la planétologie et l’exploration spatiale