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Brain, David A Associate Professor


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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 hope 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 Supporting Investigator for the European Space Agency Venus Express mission, a leading Science Team member for the Emirates Mars Mission, a Co-Investigator on a NASA Solar System Exploration Research Virtual Institute led by the University of Colorado, and a team lead for NASA's Nexus for Exoplanetary System Science. He's involved in three spacecraft missions in development.


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


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