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Publications in VIVO

Brain, David A Associate Professor


Research Areas research areas


research overview

  • Dr. Brain studies the atmospheres and plasma environments of unmagnetized planets, including Mars, Venus, and exoplanets. Charged particles and magnetic fields from the Sun are believed to have altered the atmospheres of these bodies over solar system history. By studying atmospheric processes that occur today we work to unravel how planets evolve, why their atmospheres can be different from our own, and what makes them habitable. Dr. Brain uses both spacecraft data and computer models in his research. He is currently a Deputy Investigator on the NASA MAVEN mission to study the Martian atmosphere, a leading Science Team member for the Emirates Mars Mission, and a team lead for NASA's Nexus for Exoplanet System Science. He's involved in two spacecraft missions in development.


  • planetary plasma environments, planetary atmospheres, unmagnetized planets, atmospheric loss processes, climate evolution


selected publications


courses taught

  • ASTR 1000 - The Solar System
    Primary Instructor - Spring 2020
    Introduction to the night sky, planets, moons and the life in our solar system. Highlights the latest discoveries from space. For non-science majors. Some lectures may be held at Fiske Planetarium. Offers opportunities for nighttime observations at Sommers-Bausch Observatory. Similar to ASTR 1010, but without lab. Degree credit not granted for this course and ASTR 1010 or ASTR 1030.
  • FYSM 1000 - First Year Seminar
    Primary Instructor - Fall 2019
    Provide first year students with an immersive experience in an interdisciplinary topic that addresses current issues including social, technical and global topics. Taught by faculty from across campus, the course provides students with an opportunity to interact in small classes, have project based learning experiences and gain valuable communication skills. Seminar style classes focused on discussion and projects.


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