Center for Planetary Dynamics

illustration of planets in solar system

Center for Planetary Dynamics

The Center for Planetary Dynamics conducts scientific research into the evolution of planetary bodies in the solar system and beyond. Led by Hampton University Professor in Residence William B. Moore, and including Hampton University graduate students Kylie Lovato and Debajyoti Basu Sarkar, the CPD pursues two research thrusts: planetary exploration and planetary dynamical modeling.

Planetary exploration involves the proposal, analysis, and development of mission and instrument concepts, and participation in the development of NASA priorities and programs.  Planetary Dynamical Modeling is the development and application of physical models to the dynamics of solid planetary bodies of the solar system.

Current research investigations include:

  • The origin of plate tectonics on Earth and pre-tectonic heat flow mechanisms
  • Why Venus and Earth took such divergent evolutionary paths
  • How the Moon arrived at its unusual shape
  • How the evolution of planetary atmospheres controls interior dynamics and whether Venus or Earth is a more likely atmospheric outcome
  • How interactions between planets and their host stars through stellar winds and radiation affect the evolution of habitable worlds and our search for life there.