Tenure Track Faculty
Dr. Brain studies the atmospheres and plasma environments of rocky planets, including Mars, Venus, and exoplanets. Interaction between these planets and their host stars alter their atmospheres over time. By studying atmospheric processes that occur today we can unravel how planetary atmospheres evolve and why their atmospheres can be different from our own. A goal of this research is determining which combinations of characteristics of planets and stars lead to habitable atmospheres. Dr. Brain uses both spacecraft data and computer models in his research. He is the Principal Investigator of a NASA-funded team science center working to determine the influence of atmospheric escape on planetary habitability. He chairs a Science Advisory Board for the NASA MAVEN mission studying the escape of the Martian atmosphere and is a Science Team Member (and former Deputy Science Lead) for the Emirates Mars Mission. He is a team lead for NASA's Nexus for Exoplanet System Science, and is involved in three spacecraft missions in different stages of proposal and development.