Professor Alian Wang and her team use spectroscopy to study the chemical properties (mineralogy, geochemistry, thermodynamics, kinetics) of planetary materials at surface/subsurface of geologic bodies, including planets, satellites, asteroids, comets.
Alian Wang studies fundamental planetary science with an emphasis on the phase transformations of hydrous salts (sulfates, chloride & oxychlorine salts) on Mars, the mechanisms and environmental conditions, the phase-transition rates and pathways. She also works with planetary mission preparation, operation, and data analysis, including both the Mars Exploration Rover and the ExoMars missions. Wang is the PI of several instruments under development for flight, leading the hardware development, the instrument science, and the field tests. The studies of extraterrestrial materials carried out by her team cover the Apollo lunar samples and lunar meteorites, Martian meteorites, and other extraterrestrial matter. Her work has taken her across the globe to study planetary analog sites at the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau in China; Svalbard in Norway; and the Atacama Desert in Chile. Wang and her team helped the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences build and maintain several international collaborations, as well as organize international workshops and conferences, including the 11th GeoRaman International Conference.