A Planetary Research FacilityΒΆ

The Planetary Impact Laboratory (PIL) is a unique facility to study planetary impact cratering and the emplacement of debris (ejecta) from craters. The PIL is composed of two main parts: an ejecta simulator and a low speed (<0.6 km/s) vertical gun range capable of firing at multiple angles and in a vacuum. Further, the planetary impact laboratory archives results of crater geomorphology studies on planets and asteroids undertaken by APL staff and their students. Aside from addressing fundamental science questions about planteray impact cratering, the purpose of this facility is to provide scientists who are primarily located in the mid-Atlantic region an easily accessible and relatively inexpensive facility to test out experimental ideas as well as impact-related diagnostic tools before proposing them to NASA for use at other more distant and costly but also more capable NASA facilities. We welcome undergraduate and graduate students from nearby universities who are interested in investigating planetary impact cratering processes.