Our Facilities

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Featured Research Facilities

NASA's Planetary Data System Geosciences Node

The Geosciences Node of NASA's Planetary Data System (PDS) archives and distributes digital data related to the study of the surfaces and interiors of terrestrial planetary bodies. We work directly with NASA missions to help them generate well-documented, permanent data archives. We provide data to NASA-sponsored researchers along with expert assistance in using the data. All our archives are online and available to the public to download free of charge.


Fossett Laboratory for Virtual Planetary Exploration

The Fossett Laboratory for Virtual Planetary Exploration is an innovative facility for teaching and research managed by the Department of Earth, Environmental, and Planetary Sciences and housed in Rudolph Hall. In the Fossett Lab we collect, visualize, and explore three-dimensional data from the atomic to the planetary scale. To do so, we use traditional and aerial photography, remotely-sensed planetary data, photogrammetry, and Microsoft’s HoloLens Augmented Reality (AR) platform. The Fossett Laboratory for Virtual Planetary Exploration also supports some research and outreach activities within the Earth and Planetary Remote Sensing Laboratory, including use of virtual reality to help plan the Mars Curiosity rover paths.

Fossett Lab

Microanalysis Facility

The Earth, Environmental, and Planetary Sciences microanalysis facility is run by Professor Brad Jolliff and Paul Carpenter. The facility includes several pieces of equipment available for outside use:

electron microprobe

X-Ray Diffractometer

Micro X-ray Fluorescence Spectrometer

Use the online instrument scheduler to reserve time in the microanalysis facility.

Planetary Spectroscopy Facilities

The Department of Earth, Environmental, and Planetary Sciences has five different laboratories that are dedicated to planetary spectroscopy. These planetary spectroscopy facilities are run by Professor Alian Wang and located in Scott Rudolph Hall: Laser Raman imaging laboratory, laser Raman spectroscopy laboratory, NIR and MIR spectroscopy laboratory, planetary environmental analysis chamber, and laser induced breakdown spectroscopy laboratory.

We have tons of wonderful research facilities here at WashU, some of which are actually quite unique like the LVT and the piston cylinders. In addition to having these instruments here, we also have the experts who are able to teach the students how to use the instruments and what they’re actually doing.

―Andrea GoltzMcDonnell Center Graduate Fellow

More Research Opportunities

Visit our research page to learn more about the facilities and equipment associated with specific labs and research groups.