Within the Space Research and Planetology Division there are several research groups each led by a member of the senior staff. The groups cover many aspects of solar system research including surface remote-sensing, in situ composition measurements, solar system formation and evolution (including extra-solar systems) and meteoritics. Links to the respective group sites are below.
The Cosmochemistry Group is chiefly involved in the study of meteorites with a view to understanding solar system formation processes. The team’s particular expertise is in the measurement of noble gas isotopes, either to determine the cosmic-ray exposure ages of meteorites and lunar rocks or to study the trapped noble gases in extraterrestrial matter.
From the origins to present day, the thermodynamical and compositional evolution of planets connects their formation with their observational characterization. The PlanetsInTime group studies this link with numerical and analytical models for planets inside and outside of the Solar System. Funded by the SNSF via a Starting Grant, the group is also involved in various astronomical observations.
The Planetary Imaging Group (PIG) studies solar system objects using remote-sensing techniques. The team specializes in objects and surfaces where phase changes occur (e.g. comets, Mars, and Europa). In addition to experiment building, the team works with ices in the lab. to look at their properties.
The ROSINA Group focuses on the exploitation of data acquired by the ROSINA experiment onboard the Rosetta spacecraft to comet Churyumov-Gerasimenko. The team studies the neutral gas and the resulting ions and uses these data to place constraints on the early history of the solar system. The team is also interested in future missions to cometary targets.
The Theoretical Astrophysics and Planetary Science Group (TAPS) carries out investigations aimed at understanding the physical and chemical processes involved in the formation and evolution of the solar and other planetary systems. Our research is based on detailed numerical calculations as well as end-to-end simulations which allow comparisons with observations.
TAPS is a member of the University of Bern Center for Space and Habitability (CSH) and of the Swiss National Centre of Competence in Research (NCCR) PlanetS.
The Space Science Group investigates the composition of tenuous gases in the vicinity of solar system objects and determines surface composition using the laser ablation technique. The team specializes in the development of highly compact mass spectrometers for flight on missions to Mercury, the Moon and Ganymede.