Viewed from space, a planet’s (or moon’s) atmosphere (or lack thereof) is its most distinctive feature. Atmospheres are created in the latter stages of a planet’s formation. They then evolve in response to external forces (such as the changing luminosity of the Sun and the escape of hydrogen) and internal forces (such as climate change).
Understanding an atmosphere’s present state and evolution requires fusing knowledge from many scientific disciplines and synthesizing results from laboratory studies, numerical modeling, and observations.
Our research seeks to identify and understand the important chemical and physical processes in planetary atmospheres and how they have evolved. We use a combination of numerical modelling, analysis of spacecraft observations, spectroscopy, and chemical kinetics experiments to study the atmospheres of Venus, the Earth, and Titan. Dr Frank Mills is a member of the European Space Agency’s Venus Express spacecraft team and we have active collaborations with researchers at CSIRO, the BoM and other laboratories throughout the world.
Research projects are available for students from a range of disciplines, including astronomy, chemistry, computer science, earth science, engineering, environmental science, mathematics, and physics.
Download our student project flyer (1.4MB PDF)
Images: Counterclockwise from top left are Titan, Venus’ Clouds, Venus’ Airglow, and Southeast Australia. Courtesy ESA media gallery.