About the Center

Introduction The Arkansas Center for Space and Planetary Sciences serves two distinct but interrelated roles at the University. Created initially in 2000 with funding from NSF, it is a research center which maintains facilities, equipment, instrumentation, and associated infrastructure for interdisciplinary research over a wide range of topics in space science, planetary science, and engineering. Additionally, the Center administers the interdisciplinary graduate degree programs in Space and Planetary Sciences, created in 2005.

Center faculty are drawn from the departments of Biological Sciences, Chemistry and Biochemistry, Electrical Engineering, Geosciences, Mechanical Engineering, and Physics, providing the wide range of expertise needed to address our research areas, while the graduate degree programs operate under the Graduate School and International Education.

Research Areas

Water on Mars

Thermodynamics, evaporation and sublimation rates, regolith interactions, geochemistry, brines, biological implications, data analysis.


Methanogens, microorganisms in the domain Archaea, models for life on Mars and Enceladus, sulfate-reducing bacteria.

Ices and Lakes on Titan

Evaporation rates of liquid methane and methane/ethane mixtures, particulate effects, tholins, freezing of hydrocarbons.

Atmosphere/Surface Interactions on Venus

Condensation of volatile atmospheric metallic compounds on planetary uplands.

Ices on Pluto

Infrared analysis and identification of candidate Pluto surface ices.

Planetary Geomorphology

Application of experimental and remote sensing methodologies to investigation of slope processes on Mars and Titan.

Galactic and Extragalactic Astronomy

Galaxy evolution, active galactic nuclei, effect of supermassive black holes on galaxy structure, spiral arm analysis, dwarf galaxies.

Extreme-temperature Electronics

Development of electronic components and systems capable of operating at extremely high and low temperatures, uncooled electronics for application to Venus surface landers.

Small Spacecraft Development and Operations

Cubesat propulsion and attitude control, formation flight, inflatables, communications, mission concepts. Remote sensing: Multi-sensor integration, GIS workflows, InSAR, digital image processing, geocomputation.

Meteorite and Impactite Analysis

Inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometer analysis of meteorite and impactite samples.

As a university research center, we are student-oriented. In partnership with the academic departments, we offer masters and doctoral programs in space and planetary science, and we offer concentrations in space and planetary science within the departmental graduate programs in biology, geology, geography, and physics. For undergraduate students, the Center frequently hosts a competitive Summer Research Experience for undergraduates. Finally, we take the excitement of our research to the general public and to future generations of scientists and their teachers in the public schools and community through a variety of outreach programs

We invite you to explore this site to learn more about us, our students, our research, and other activities. Please contact us if you would like to participate with the Center as a visiting scientist, post-doctoral researcher, graduate student, or summer intern.

Larry Roe —Director

Arkansas Center for Space and Planetary Sciences