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Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics

Planetary Science Workforce Survey

Why a survey? How is the Planetary Workforce Changing?

NASA spends ~$1.5B in the Planetary Science Division, mostly on missions that explore the solar system.  Yet, we know very little about the planetary science workforce, the people who work on such missions or the data they produce. One reason is that planetary science is a highly interdisciplinary field. Planetary scientists are trained in many areas of science (from math to physics to geology to atmospheric science to chemistry), work in a variety of types of institutions (government labs, non-profit labs, industries, universities), and belong to different professional organizations (AGU, DPS, LPSC, GSA). The objective of this study is to gather statistics on professional planetary science (estimated to be about 2000 people) and to provide the analysis of these data to NASA’s Planetary Science Division, and back to the DPS, AGU, GSA – and the community.

Part A: The first component of the project is a survey of US academic departments that include planetary science.

Part B: A survey to individual members of the AAS/DPS, the AGU Planetary Science Section, as well as attendees of the LPSC. In the second survey we include GSA.

We are grateful to the Statistical Research Center (SRC) at the American Institute of Physics (AIP) who assist us with design of both surveys and will carry out Part B. Check out the SRC’s great website full of amazing statistics about the physical sciences.

The 2020 Survey

After 2 years of waiting for NASA funding we have halted this survey. Instead the AIP/SRC is doing a survey funded by the AAS/DPS. Surveys are sent to AAS-DPS members, GSA-Planetary Section, LPSC attendees. Unfortunately the AGU is not willing to participate.

Departmental survey sent out Feb. 2018.

Results of 2011 survey

Responses from 2622 people associated with the AGU, DPS and LPSC (62% response).