What is CODEP?

CODEP is the UCSC Center for the Origin, Dynamics and Evolution of Planets and a component of the UC-wide Institute for Geophysics and Planetary Physics (IGPP). The primary mission of CODEP is to coordinate and promote campus activities related to planetary sciences in our Solar System and around other stars.

These activities include:

  • Hosting weekly seminars on planetary topics
  • Providing student travel awards to planetary conferences
  • Fostering communication between the campus departments involved (principally Earth and Planetary Sciences, Astronomy and Applied Math and Statistics)
  • Establishing links with other local planetary institutions:
  • Enhancing the quality of planetary science teaching at both the undergraduate and graduate level.
  • Research on Planetary Science topics is carried out in the Departments of Earth and Planetary Sciences, Astronomy, Applied Math and Statistics, and Physics.

    Recent highlights in which CODEP personnel were involved include:

  • Formation of the smooth lowlands of Mars by a giant impact (Asphaug, Nimmo)
  • Discovery of an extrasolar planet with a giant (70 Earth mass) solid core (Laughlin)
  • Generation of geysers on Saturn's moon Enceladus by back-and-forth motion on faults (Nimmo)
  • Valley networks on Mars were formed during a long period of episodic flooding (Barnhart)
  • Hit-and-run planetary collisions may be responsible for melting in the asteroid belt (Asphaug, Williams)
  • A method for moving the Earth away from the Sun (Korycansky)
  • The current director of CODEP is Don Korycansky.