Education and
Public Engagement
at the Lunar and Planetary Institute

The Solar System and the Periodic Table

The Periodic Table of Chemical Elements is one of the most significant achievements in science, capturing the essence of not only chemistry, but also of physics and biology. It is a unique tool, enabling scientists to predict the appearance and properties of matter on the Earth and in the Universe.

2019 marks the 150th anniversary of Dmitri Mendeleev’s development of the Periodic System and has been proclaimed the "International Year of the Periodic Table of Chemical Elements" (IYPT2019) by the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

In recognition of and in cooperation with IYPT2019 and planetary scientists from across the globe, the Lunar and Planetary Institute has created a series of informational graphics illustrating the Top 5 Chemical elements found at each of the solar system’s planets, plus the Moon and Pluto. The front of each graphic includes a picture of the planet, a histogram showing the abundance of the Top 5 elements at that planet, and an outline of the Periodic Table highlighting the location of those elements on the table. The back of each graphic features a biography of a planetary scientist who studies the planet and a short discussion written by the scientist of what makes that planet chemically unique in the solar system.