Earth and Planetary Science involves various fields and a wide range of time span: solid Earth, atmosphere and ocean, surface environments including biosphere, planets and minor objects in the solar system, and space beyond the solar system over and beyond a duration of the evolution of the solar system. Diverse research methods are thus required in such a wide variety of research fields such as field work, observation, laboratory experiments, chemical analyses, theoretical modeling, simulations and so on.
In order to effectively drive forward Earth and Planetary Science which involves diverse research fields and methodologies, more cooperation and alliance have recently been made among various researchers to realize large-scale interdisciplinary projects, domestically and internationally.
Earth and Planetary Science major thus encompasses a broad range of EPS research and education that are extensive in timescale, fields and methodologies. In the course of developing fundamental research in respective field, we train students and researchers who can become leading figures in ever expanding international and interdisciplinary projects.
Social Mission of the Earth and Planetary Science
Recent outstanding development of Earth and Planetary Science enables us to understand a planet in the context of interdependent system of inner, surficial and outer planet elements, and to consider the evolution of a planet from past to future as a time evolution process. These changes in scientific understanding and expansion of research fields of Earth and Planetary Science are deeply related to two notable changes of research environment: drastic technological progress and ever increasing social needs.
The expansion of research fields due to technological innovation can be recognized in increasing large scale national research projects such as earth observation satellite mission, lunar and planetary exploration mission , space station project, next generation super computer project, international deep sea drilling project. These interdisciplinary large scale projects will obviously stand in need of numerous researchers with expertise in science, engineering and administrative domain for coming decades.
Furthermore, the proximity of Earth and Planetary Science and human society is ever-increasing. For instance, forecasting natural disasters such as earhquakes, volcano eruptions, extreme weather, global warming, desertification, El Nino and Ozone Crisis, are quintessential enviromental science aspects.
Understanding these issues that siginificantly influence human activity is a crucial social mission for Earth and Planetary Science, and various research projects have already been initiated. Meeting these social needs requires many talented researchers with international-mindedness, open-mind and high-level skillsets. Further, newly appeared professions such as earth environment forecast, natural disaster prevention, environmental protection and assessment seek professionals with applied Earth and Planetary Science expertise.