Located on the university science faculties of Nantes, Angers and Le Mans, the “Laboratoire de Planétologie et Géosciences” (LPG) is a multi-site Mixed Research Unit that is supported by the CNRS and the Universities of Nantes, Angers and Le Mans and is also associated with the University of La Rochelle. Its activities are divided into three research themes: Coastal and Marine Systems, Earth, and Planets and Moons. The organisation by themes, rather than classic research teams, aims to decompartmentalise activities and promote intellectual exchange, each researcher can devote the appropriate time to one or more of the four themes.

LPG’s research, extending from the Earth to the solid bodies of the solar system and exoplanets is recognised worldwide. Our research seeks to quantify and understand the structure of these bodies, from their center to their surface, as well as their current and past evolution. Our research covers a very wide disciplinary spectrum. We are or have been involved in international space missions in the past (e.g., Cassini probe in the Saturn system, InSight mission to Mars), ongoing (Curiosity rover and Perseverance rover on Mars), and upcoming (Europa Clipper and JUICE missionsEnVision mission to Venus). Our research into the evolution of the terrestrial environment, in particular its climate, are based around  the study of current and fossil biological indicators.

These activities are financed by international, national and regional research grant programs. They are based on various observation, analysis and experimentation platforms, at all scales, from space observations (remote sensing, magnetism) to geochemical analyzes, to field observations (seismology, geology, offshore missions), sample experiments (high pressure ice synthesis, thin section preparation, foraminiferal cultures, sedimentary core studies, soil remediation) and numerical modelling (structure and dynamics of terrestrial and planetary interiors, theoretical seismology, dynamo modelling).

Several activities are associated with observational tasks on a regional, national, or international scales. These activities are conducted within the “Observatoire des Sciences de l’Univers Nantes Atlantique” (OSUNA). They are concerned with seismology (within the national network of broadband seismometers RLBP and the RESIF project), planetary exploration (Cassini, InSight), coastline evolution and soil decontamination. Some of these observational activities are already recognised as national facilities by the French national agencies, others will become national facilities in the near future.