A framework to study the themo-chemical evolution of rocky and icy bodies (planets, moons, and planetoids) in the solar system and beyond.


What GAIA can do for you



  • Study the thermal and thermo-chemical evolution of planetary bodies
  • Study the influence of plate tectonics, magnetic field development, magma oceans, partial melting and mantle differentiation
  • Study the effects of varying viscosities on materials under natural convection
  • Study the phenomena of natural convection in rocky and icy bodies


  • Solves Navier-Stokes equations for incompressible, low Mach number flows
  • Solves different types of energy equations
  • Solves Magneto-Hydro-Dynamics (MHD) equations
  • Finite-Volume discretization for Voronoi cells
  • Irregular grid for arbitrary geometries (2D + 3D)
  • Domain-decomposition for MPI parallelization (HPC-ready)
  • GPU ready CUDA / hybrid (GPU+CPU) solver, also MPI ready
  • No third party libraries or dependencies, DLR C++ code
  • Optional interface to MUMPS solver for 2D applications
  • Paraview plugins for visualization
  • Particle / Tracer system
  • Many available linear iterative solvers on CSR matrices (e.g. BiCGS(l), IDRS, GMRES, ..)


  • Natural convection of water-like substance under an extreme heat gradient: (upper part: velocity, lower part: temperature)
  • Natural convection of water-like substance under a less extreme heat gradient in 3D: (left: temperature, right: strain rate)
  • A heavy DLR Logo with a low viscosity and brittle material sinking in a fluid: (left: material, right upper: strain rate, right lower: viscosity)
  • Hot liquid in a full-sphere (core-convection) under self-gravity cooled at the boundary under a rotating reference frame: (left: temperature side-view, right: temperature top view onto rotation axis)

Online Demo

A JS compiled (older) version can be found here: . Just click Run in the Run tab and switch to Temperature or Velocity tab.

Participating organisations

German Aerospace Center (DLR)

Reference papers



Golden Spike Award 2012, Project: A particle-in-cell Method to model the Influence of Partial Melt on Mantle Convection
Höchstleistungsrechenzentrum Stuttgart,
Golden Spike Award 2015, Project: Large Scale Numerical Simulations of Planetary Interiors
Höchstleistungsrechenzentrum Stuttgart,
One of six HPC codes selected to run on HLRS supercomputer Hornet, a Cray XC40 system
HPCwire 2015,
Selected cover image for the cover of Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets, Wiley. Publication: Onset of solid-state mantle convection and mixing during magma ocean solidification
Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets, Wiley 2017,
Selected cover image for the cover of Geophysical Research Letters, Wiley. Publication: The Thermal State and Interior Structure of Mars
Geophysical Research Letters, Wiley 2018,
By comparing the numerical simulations with the experiment data, we are able to verify the validity of our computer models and expand the parameter space to ranges not applicable for an experiment.
Numerical Simulations for the GeoFlow Experiment onboard ISS,