Planetary Group 2021–22 Graduate Recruitment

Welcome! On this website, we provide information regarding the faculty and research of the Planetary Group at Brown University for the purposes of graduate student (PhD) recruitment in the 2021–22 academic year. General information about the Brown DEEPS graduate program can be found here>>

Interested in applying to graduate school for planetary science? Brown University Department of Earth, Environmental, and Planetary Sciences Planetary group is having an info session for prospective grads on Wednesday, December 16, 2020 from 10-11 AM ET.  Join us on Zoom and bring your questions! Zoom ID: 99066009996

The diverse and expanding discipline of Planetary Science at Brown has developed a national and international reputation. A hallmark our efforts has been a strategic focus on fundamental processes that determine the character and evolution of planetary bodies. Examples include planetary impact cratering, volcanism, glaciation, physical and chemical weathering, the interaction of surface materials with the space environment (space weathering), and sedimentary processes. We combine observational, theoretical, and experimental approaches along with numerical modeling, laboratory analyses of terrestrial and extraterrestrial materials, and field studies in the U.S. and abroad (e.g., Argentina, Chile, Peru, Iceland, Antarctica, Spain). Faculty engaged in planetary science at Brown are known for nurturing excellent students who become leaders in a wide variety of cutting-edge science destinations, including NASA, academia, the Jet Propulsion Lab, Applied Physics Lab, Lawrence/Livermore, Sandia, and industry.

Brown’s strength in planetary geoscience includes leadership of NASA-supported facilities (e.g., the NASA Reflectance Experiment LABoratory housed in DEEPS, NASA Ames Vertical Gun Range and the Northeast Planetary Data Center) as well as extensive involvement in planetary exploration missions to Mercury, Venus, the Moon, Mars, asteroids, comets, and the outer solar system. The group of planetary scientists at Brown has benefited immensely from sustained intellectual engagement with other research themes across the department and has also developed strong collaborations with groups outside of Brown, including strong international connections with colleagues and space research institutions in Europe, Russia, Japan, Argentina, Uruguay, Canada, Ukraine, and China. As the Lead Institution for NASA Space Grant and NASA EPSCoR, we broaden engagement of NASA throughout RI.

Please note that faculty within the planetary group that are not accepting graduate students this year are not included in the list below. 

Our Faculty

Daubar, Ingrid

Assistant Professor of Research

(E-mail, Lab Website)
Actively Recruiting for 2021–22

Dr. Ingrid Daubar investigates active geologic processes that modify the surfaces of Mars, the Moon, and other terrestrial planets. She uses remote sensing data to study the morphology, mapping, and statistics of various geologic features to elucidate the physical mechanisms controlling their formation. Specific areas of interest include impact cratering and current bombardment, dust devils, albedo changes, and the dust cycle on Mars. She participates in science and operations on multiple NASA missions including Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, InSight, Europa Clipper, and Juno. More information can be found on her bio page. Please feel free to contact her about any of these research areas that interest you.


Evans, Alexander J

Assistant Professor

(E-Mail, Lab Website)
Actively Recruiting for 2021–22

Alex couples computational modeling and analyses of observational data to elucidate the complex histories of planetary interiors and surfaces. His research integrates across traditional disciplinary boundaries of geophysics, petrology, geomechanics, atmospheres, climate, geodesy, geology, geochemistry, and biology. His work includes analyses of altimetry, gravity, geomorphology, and tectonics and computational modeling of the structure, surface, and atmospheric and internal evolution of planetary bodies within and beyond our Solar System. Additionally, he has also been involved in the design, development, and implementation of planetary exploration missions. For more information on his research group, please visit the Geophysics of Stellar System Targets (GHOSST) Computational Lab website >>


Milliken, Ralph

Associate Professor

(E-mail, Lab Website)
Not Actively Recruiting for 2021–22

My research focuses on exploring the geology of planetary surfaces and how we can use remote sensing methods (e.g., satellite and rover-based data) to address geologic problems. Specific interests include undestanding the distribution and role of water in the evolution of our solar system, understanding the extent to which reflectance spectroscopy can be used to quantify mineral and volatile abundances in geologic materials, and investigating the sedimentary rock record of Mars. Researchers in my group integrate experiments, theory, and field/spacecraft data to address these questions. I am currently a science team member for the Mars Curiosity rover, and other projects include mapping water on the Moon, laboratory studies of meteorites, and field studies of potential Mars analogs. More information can be found on my website>>


Mustard, Jack


(E-mail, Lab Website)
Actively Recruiting for 2021–22

My research interests lie in the processes that shape planetary surfaces and the record of those processes that are capture in the composition. My research program has been engaged with fundamental problems on the Moon, Mars, and the Earth with an environmental science component related to land use and land cover change. My planetary research program is currently engaged around, aqueous processes in the shallow crust and at the surface, and alteration of primary lithologies due to water and the implications for habitability, and igneous processes including volcanic and plutonic. A focus if my research is exploring the hypothesis that Mars underwent fundamental re-organizations of its planetary processes at several times in its evolution that is recorded in the aqueous mineralogy. More information can be found here ( My group has begun an axis of inquiry understand Planets Underground. Here we are interested in the fate of water in the subsurface of planets and the implications for habitablilty. This is part of a new program funded in part by the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research (CIFAR) (

As you can see from this brief synopsis there are exciting directions that students at Brown working with me can be involved with the analysis. I am looking to bring a new student onboard. I would be delighted to hear your thoughts on these directions and where your interests lie.