Located on the UFR Sciences of Nantes, Angers and Le Mans, the “Laboratoire de Planétologie et Géosciences” (LPG) is a Mixed Research Unit multi-site that currently depends on three supervisory bodies that are the CNRS and the Universities of Nantes, Angers and Le Mans and associates geological research professors from the University of Le Mans and La Rochelle. Its activities are divided into four research themes: Coastal and Marine Systems, Earth, and Planets and Moons. This structuring in themes rather than teams aims to decompartmentalize activities and promote exchanges, each researcher can devote the appropriate time to one or more of the four themes.
The research, whose objects of study extend from the Earth to the solid bodies of the solar system and exoplanets are recognized worldwide. They attempt to describe quantitatively and understand the structure of these bodies in their entirety, from their center to their surface, as well as their current and past evolution. They cover a very wide disciplinary spectrum. Thus, research in planetology is part of international space missions past (eg Cassini probe in the Saturn system, InSight mission), current (Curiosity rover and Perseverance rover on Mars), and long-term (Europa Clipper and JUICE missions, EnVision mission). to the Jupiter system), while those dealing with the evolution of the terrestrial environment, in particular climate, are based on the study of current and fossil biological indicators.
These activities are financed by replies to calls for tender for international, national and regional 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, lithopreparation, foraminiferal cultures, sedimentary core studies, soil remediation) and numerical modeling (structure and dynamics of terrestrial and planetary interiors, theoretical seismology, dynamo modeling).
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 labelled by the French national agencies, others will be labelled in the near future.