Special Issue "Planetary Geosciences and Space Exploration"


A special issue of Geosciences (ISSN 2076-3263).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 December 2014)

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Jesus Martinez-Frias
Geosciences Institute, IGEO (CSIC-UCM) Facultad de Ciencias Geológicas C/ José Antonio Novais, 2 Ciudad Universitaria 28040 Madrid, SPAIN
Website: http://tierra.rediris.es/jmfrias/
E-Mail: j.m.frias@igeo.ucm-csic.es
Phone: +34 91 3944829
Fax: +34 91 3944798
Interests: planetary geology; astrobiology; natural resources of near earth space and sustainability; geo and biomarkers; extreme environments and planetary habitability; geodiversity and biodiversity; natural hazards and planetary ecosystems; mineralogy; geoethics in earth and space sciences; geoeducation; science and technology for development; emerging sciences, cultural implications; new paradigms

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Numerous planetary and space missions have marked our lives through the last decades. Since the foundation of Astrogeology in the early sixties, it is a fact that geology and geosciences have become crucial not only for a better understanding of our solar system (including the Earth), but also for obtaining unique information regarding the origin and evolution of the Moon, the characterization of natural resources in Near-Earth Space, the assessment of the habitability conditions of Mars and other planetary bodies, impact craters and events, etc. Advances over recent years have come from comparative planetology, large-scale geological and geodynamic studies, improvements of analytical methods for in-situ, planetary mineralogical, and geochemical analyses, computerization and imaging enhancement techniques; amazing information from asteroidal, lunar, and mars meteorites, and the use of terrestrial analogs and experimental tests using planetary chambers, among others.

Specifically, this Special Issue aims to provide an outlet for the rapid and widely accessible publication of peer-reviewed studies concerning the progress of geosciences towards space, of reviews that concern the state of the art and which suggest ways forward, of highlights regarding new findings (and which account for that multidisciplinary approaches that are required to reach the present state of development in the planetary geosciences), and of attempts to predict the nature of future scientific, social, and cultural challenges.

Prof. Dr. Jesus Martinez-Frias
Guest Editor


Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. Papers will be published continuously (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are refereed through a peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Geosciences is an international peer-reviewed Open Access quarterly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 300 CHF (Swiss Francs). English correction and/or formatting fees of 250 CHF (Swiss Francs) will be charged in certain cases for those articles accepted for publication that require extensive additional formatting and/or English corrections.

Special Issue Flyer

Please download the special issue flyer here.


  • astrogeology
  • planetary geosciences
  • Moon, Mars
  • asteroids
  • impact craters
  • Near-Earth Space
  • robotic and human exploration
  • meteorites
  • icy moons
  • extraterrestrial resources

Published Papers (2 papers)

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Displaying article 1-2
p. 95-116
by , ,  and
Geosciences 2015, 5(2), 95-116; doi:10.3390/geosciences5020095
Received: 27 June 2014 / Revised: 8 March 2015 / Accepted: 12 March 2015 / Published: 2 April 2015
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(This article belongs to the Special Issue Planetary Geosciences and Space Exploration)
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p. 30-44
by  and
Geosciences 2015, 5(1), 30-44; doi:10.3390/geosciences5010030
Received: 31 December 2014 / Accepted: 5 February 2015 / Published: 13 February 2015
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(This article belongs to the Special Issue Planetary Geosciences and Space Exploration)
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Planned Papers

The below list represents only planned manuscripts. Some of these manuscripts have not been received by the Editorial Office yet. Papers submitted to MDPI journals are subject to peer-review.

Type of Paper: Article
Title: Engaging Non-Science Majors through Model Rocketry
Nicholas P. Lang
Engaging non-science majors in a college-level science curriculum can prove challenging. However, topics such as planetary exploration have a unique way of capturing one’s imagination and may serve as a means of robustly engaging non-science majors. In this contribution, I describe my experiences with attempting to do that through the implementation of a model rocketry component in the laboratory portion of my introductory level non-major planetary geology course – Geol 112/113 Voyages to the Terrestrial Planets and Lab. Building from model rocketry lesson plans for physics coursework at the K-12 level, I have designed a multi-week lab exercise that involves students working in small groups to (1) design a mission to a solar system object to answer a geologic question, (2) construct a model rocket from an Estes EducatorTM bulk pack kit, (3) launch their rocket and collecting related data, (4) synthesize and evaluate their data, and 5) reporting their results in both oral and written forms; modifications of this exercise have also involved the students building their own rockets from scratch. The tasks of building and launching the model rocket serve as a vehicle that allows students to employ the scientific process while learning about planetary mission design and applying geologic and quantitative skills to a ‘practical’ problem. When launching their rocket, teams also collect data that will allow them to calculate the height their rocket attained as well as its upward and downward velocities and accelerations. Students then synthesize these data to report on the success of their launch. Quantifying student learning gains and analysis of student surveys suggests that the strength of this lab module is not necessarily in acquiring new knowledge, but rather in reinforcing scientific and quantitative skills while impressing an appreciation of how planetary missions are carried out.

Title: Multiple Meteoroid Impacts in Antarctica
Authors: J. G. Weihaupt, F. G. Van der Hoeven, F.B. Chambers, J. W. Wyckoff, C. Lorius and D. Castendyk
Abstract: The record of solar system meteoroid impacts displays a full range of impact structures from single microscopic to those with diameters in excess of five thousand kilometers. The largest known impact structures on terrestrial planets and satellites occur on objects that are smaller than Earth. These include impact structures on the moon, Mars, and Venus in spite of the statistical probability that structures of this size should also exist on Earth. Multiple impacts, consequences of atmospheric crushing or pre-entry bolide collisions, while less frequent than single impacts, are also apparent on most terrestrial objects in the solar system. We have examined the geophysical and geological signatures of multiple impacts, and find that there is a range of scatter ellipses, consequences of multiple impact, from comparatively frequent small to less frequent large scatter ellipses, and little if any evidence of large scatter ellipses on Earth. On the basis of the distribution of free air gravity anomalies in Antarctica we identify, however, a possible scatter ellipse that, if a function of multiple impact, is the largest thus far identified on Earth. The individual sites within the scatter ellipse define a region 3,600 km by 5,400 km in size. Collectively, these sites and the elliptical geometry of the distribution appear to satisfy many of the criteria recognized for the identification of multiple impact events, including the appearance of the largest sites in the fore-end of the distribution and the smallest in the aft-end of the distribution, similar to the distributions of impact craters in scatter ellipses of know multiple impact sites elsewhere on the planet.

Last update: 27 August 2014

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