What else have the members of the Department of Astronomy & Planetary Science been doing?
Our faculty, staff, and students are making a difference on campus and around the world. Read about some of our achievements, activities, and successes.
Thanks to David Trilling for keeping track of all these accomplishments!
Diego Munoz was an invited speaker at the recent “Open Problems in Astrophysics of Gas Giants” conference Accordion Closed
in very-far-south Puerto Natales, Chile (in the backyard of Torres del Paine National Park).
PhD student Maria Chernyavskaya will be one of the two new early career representatives for the Solar System Science Collaboration of the LSST Accordion Closed
The Legacy Survey of Space and Time project that will achieve first light on a really big telescope in Chile sometime in the next 18 months.
Loren Larrieu was named this fall’s Distinguished Senior from the College of Engineering, Informatics, and Applied Science (CEIAS) Accordion Closed
Loren’s major is electrical engineering, but they minored in astronomy (as well as physics and music!) and have made a number of really important contributions to projects in astronomy and planetary science over the past few years, so we get to celebrate Loren as well!
Congratulations to all our presenters at last week’s America Geophysical Union meeting Accordion Closed
Faculty Christopher Edwards, Mark Salvatore; postdocs Ari Koeppel, Aurelien Stcherbinine; and graduate students Helen Eifert, Natalie Jones, Laura Lee. There are many more people who are co-authors on presentations at AGU.
Congratulations to all of you!
NAU alumnus Jay Kueny (BS 2019), now a PhD student in optical sciences at UA, has a new paper out Accordion Closed
New papers from Cristina Thomas Accordion Closed
Will Oldroyd (postdoc), Colin Chandler (recent PhD), Chad Trujillo (faculty), Will Burris (grad student), Jarod DeSpain (undergrad), and Kennedy Farrell (grad student) have a new paper out Accordion Closed
Amber Young (recent PhD), Tyler Robinson (recent faculty), and James Windsor (grad student) have a new paper out Accordion Closed
Catherine Clark (recent PhD) has a new paper out Accordion Closed
Josh Emery (faculty) and Audrey Martin (recent PhD) have a new paper out Accordion Closed
MS alumnus Kyle Pearson has a new paper out Accordion Closed
Congratulations to Hunter Brooks, Loren Larrieu, Will Oldroyd, Sam Hemmelgarn, Jarod Despain, and Rachel Fry on making such a great impression at the highest level! Accordion Closed
Vice President Kamala Harris visited NAU in mid-October. The White House invited a group of five students plus one postdoc to have a special gathering with the Vice President (and the Secretary of Education, Miguel Cardona), where the students talked about their research, their interests, and their career goals.
David Trilling writes,
Ribbon cutting and grand opening for our new roll-off roof facility, which will be used for our liberal/general studies AST181L classes Accordion Closed
Support for this new facility comes from the university’s Elevating Excellence program, run by the Provost’s office and Laurie Dickson. Thanks to all of them for their outstanding support of our department.
Lisa Chien was invited to have breakfast with the NAU President, Arizona Governor, and ABOR members as part of the recent ABOR meeting held here in Flagstaff. Accordion Closed
Emeritus professor, Dave Koerner, was recently designated Grand Canyon Astronomer in Residence for Fall 2024 Accordion Closed
Very cool! Congratulations, Dave!
Tri University ABOR proposal on which Christopher Edwards is a Co-I was selected for funding Accordion Closed
This award fully funds a graduate student and postdoc at NAU for 3 years to carry out UAV-based activities. The award is for ~$500K direct costs. The NAU team will support the remote-sensing based characterization of the mine tailing sites under investigation. They will model the top-layer thermal inertia following methods developed by former grad student Ari Koeppel to determine the likelihood of material mobilization. While carrying out the thermophysical investigation is a primary aspect, characterizing the volume is the second goal NAU will support. They will precisely map the topography of the site using RTK (Real Time Knowledge) providing accuracy down to cm scales and finish by mapping the bottom layer boundary using a to be purchased ground penetrating radar on a UAV.
You can read more about it here: Mining Arizona’s hidden treasure
David Trilling, Chad Trujillo, Ryder Strauss, Will Oldroyd, and the rest of the DEEP team (including former NAU folks Colin Chandler, Michael Mommert, and Andrew McNeill) have three more papers out Accordion Closed
Cristina Thomas is on several new papers Accordion Closed
Senior Claire Gibson (native of Flagstaff!) reports from the Geological Society of America meeting in Pittsburgh Accordion Closed
Congratulations on doing this great work, Claire!
Josh Emery has a new paper Accordion Closed
Authors also include sabbatical visitor John Stansberry and adjunct faculty Will Grundy.
Cristina Thomas is a co-author on a new paper Accordion Closed
Cristina Thomas gave an invited/featured/highlighted presentation at the Flagstaff Festival of Science last week about results from the DART mission Accordion Closed
Graduate Students Dede Chapline and Ian Marrs accompanied Christopher Edwards, with support from Mark Salvatore, to carry out testing of remote sensing technologies to aid in the remediation of oil fields. Accordion Closed
The group from NAU is providing in-situ measurements to aid in UAS ground truth field validation and will measure a suite of collected samples across multiple sites to determine the best remote sensing technology to identify remediation targets and results.
Recent PhD graduate Audrey Martin and professor Josh Emery have a new paper out Accordion Closed
Former postdocs Andrew McNeill and Michael Mommert, along with professor David Trilling and APS affiliate faculty Mike Gowanlock (SICCS), have a new paper out Accordion Closed
It’s particularly great to see that Andrew has his own advisee who has joined the author list.
The DEEP team’s papers are starting to appear Accordion Closed
Beginning with papers led by David Trilling and PhD student Ryder Strauss.
This team also includes professor Chad Trujillo, postdoc Will Oldroyd, former postdocs Andrew McNeill and Michael Mommert, and former PhD student Colin Chandler.
Another paper from this team is also available:
Adjunct faculty Will Grundy has a new paper out Accordion Closed
Co-authors include professors Steve Tegler and Mark Loeffler, REU students Alex Jasko and BP Blakley, PhD students Shae Raposa, Anna Engle, Cece Thieberger, and Aidan Madden-Watson, friend of the department Jennifer Hanley, and affiliate faculty Gerrick Lindberg. What a list!
Adjunct faculty Will Grundy has another new paper out Accordion Closed
where the author list includes Josh Emery and our sabbatical visitor John Stansberry.
Adjunct faculty Will Grundy an sabbatical visitor John Stansberry are is a co-authors on a new paper Accordion Closed
VPR Jason Wilder and professor David Trilling participated in the Arizona Space Summit in April, 2023, at ASU, and the beautiful report has just been published Accordion Closed
Christopher Edwards Awarded a New Grant Accordion Closed
Edwards had a NASA PDAR (Planetary Science Data ARchiving program)funded with JPL which includes funding for a graduate student to derive near-global rock abundance on Mars from Thermal Emission Imaging System data at 100m/px. Total to NAU: $341K.
New faculty member Diego Munoz recently published an article in the Annual Review of Astronomy and Astrophysics Accordion Closed
Associate Professor and Associate Chair Mark Salvatore was recently named a Co-Principal Investigator on the McMurdo Dry Valleys Long Term Ecological Research (MCM LTER) Project. Accordion Closed
This program investigates short- and long-term ecosystem dynamics within the Antarctic landscape and uses this cold and dry environment as a terrestrial endmember for understanding how the Earth is more broadly responding to climate change. The Planetary Exploration Lab here at NAU will be contributing remote sensing, spectroscopic, and GIS-based techniques to these investigations to help bridge the gap between the science that must be done in situ and the science that can be done remotely.
Second year PhD student Ana Morgan is principal investigator of a newly selected Cycle 31 Hubble Space Telescope program Accordion Closed
The program is entitled, An archival search for faint Trans-Neptunian Objects.
David Trilling is a co-investigator on this project, in which Ana and her team will analyze a decade’s worth of archival HST data for faint objects in the outer Solar System. David notes that “it’s pretty unusual for grad students to lead, let alone win, HST proposals, and I can’t think of another case where a student in their first year (when Ana wrote this proposal) had a selected proposal.”
Adjunct faculty Phil Massey had *two* HST proposals Accordion Closed
One is archival, and the other is new observations.
New faculty member Diego Munoz is a Co-I on a recently accepted proposal in NASA’s XRP program (Exoplanets Research) Accordion Closed
for the project entitled, Building and Detecting Dust Enshrouded Planets. This is a 3 year program that will support an NAU grad student for two years. The total award is $476,091 and the sub-award to NAU is $178,196.
Ryleigh Davis was an MS student in Mark Loeffler’s lab a few years ago and has a new paper out Accordion Closed
She is presently a PhD student at Caltech.
Congratulations to Ian Marrs and Lucas McClure upon having their NASA FINESST proposals selected Accordion Closed
These are independent graduate fellowships awarded in a very competitive process; FINESST is the Future Investigators in NASA Earth and Space Science and Technology. Congratulations also to their mentors — Mark Salvatore and Josh Emery, respectively — for this terrific result.
Typically NASA selects around 30 planetary science FINESST awards each year, and 2 of them this year are coming to NAU. By our records, NAU has had around 7 planetary science FINESST awards in the past four years, which is probably the highest, or one of the highest, of any university in the country.
PhD student Ian Marrs, undergraduate student Lleyton Hull, and associate professor Mark Salvatore conducted several days of field work in California Accordion Closed
They were collecting samples in support of Ian’s recently funded FINESST (see above) proposal entitled Using Trace Elements to Investigate the Role of Serpentinization in Jezero Crater Carbonate Formation. Serpentinization is an exothermic reaction where igneous rocks are altered in the presence of liquid water, making it an interesting process in the context of astrobiology. The team is currently busy preparing rock samples for spectral, mineralogical, and geochemical analyses.
A new paper by long-time-ago MS alumna Laura Flagg Accordion Closed
Laura is currently a research associate (senior postdoc?) at Cornell.
A new paper by long-time-ago BS alumnus JJ Zanazzi Accordion Closed
JJ is currently a postdoc at UC-Berkeley.
Recent PhD’s and current postdocs starting new positions Accordion Closed
Recent PhD and current postdoc Christian Tai Udovicic will soon start a postdoc position at the University of Hawaii.
Recent PhD and current postdoc Ari Koeppel will soon start a postdoc position at NASA Goddard.
Congratulations to three students who successfully defended their dissertations Accordion Closed
- Amber Young (mentor: Ty Robinson)
- Lori Pigue (mentors: Kristen Bennett and Christopher Edwards)
- Chris Wolfe (mentor: Christopher Edwards)
PhD student Laura Lee presented VISIONS Accordion Closed
A student camera that is designed for the upcoming NASA EscaPADE mission to Mars, at the project’s science team meeting.
Christopher Edwards is co-author on a presentation at the Ancient Future Brines conference Accordion Closed
APS undergrad Riley Williams’ poster was selected as the Librarian’s Choice as top poster for the College of the Environment, Forestry, and Natural Sciences Accordion Closed
Each year, the research librarians of Cline Library review all poster presentations from across the university at the Undergraduate Symposium and select the top research presentation from each college. Riley Williams’ poster was selected as the Librarian’s Choice as top poster for the College of the Environment, Forestry, and Natural Sciences, for work done under Josh Emery’s mentorship. This is quite an achievement considering we had hundreds of presenters this year and only seven were selected for this honor.
Several national parks held star parties in June Accordion Closed
PhD students Alicia Allen and Maria Chernyavskaya attended and helped lead the star party at Bryce Canyon National Park.
Staff members Ed Anderson and Mary Lara lead monthly star parties for Yavapai Lodge at the Grand Canyon.
Thanks to all of you!
MS alumnus Dan Avner reports that he has a new job Accordion Closed
He will be a Full-Stack Software Engineer III for NOIRLab; and will be working on pipelines for Gemini, at least as a starting place. Great to see our alumni landing great jobs!
A new paper by current postdoc Aurelien Stcherbinine, faculty Christopher Edwards, postdoc Chris Haberle, and data scientists Nathan Smith and Kezman Saboi, among others Accordion Closed
Recent MS Informatics graduate Daniel Kramer’s paper is out Accordion Closed
BS alumnus Carver Bierson as on author on this recent paper in Science Advances Accordion Closed
PhD student James Windsor has a paper out Accordion Closed
Co-authors include former NAU faculty Ty Robinson, current PhD student Amber Young and David Trilling.
Former NAU postdoc Kristen Bennett awarded a NASA SSW grant Accordion Closed
Kristen, who worked with Christopher Edwards and as is now a USGS Research scientist, was awarded a $1.5M NASA SSW grant to carry out field work in Wildcat Hills (Utah) as a Lunar Silicic Domes analog. This project includes Edwards as a Co-I and funding for a graduate student for 3 years.
NAU and Lowell hosted the Asteroids, Comets, Meteors conference in June Accordion Closed
David Trilling was the host and chair of the local organizing committee; Nick Moskovitz (Lowell) and former NAU postdoc Maggie McAdam were co-chairs of the science organizing committee.
There were 521 in-person attendees for the meeting, from six continents! This is a major international meeting — previous meetings were held in Uruguay (2017), Finland (2014), and Japan (2012). [No meeting in 2020….] There were 30-50 abstracts that list NAU people as co-authors, which is around 5-10% of all presentations at the meeting. There also were many NAU alumni who presented at the meeting.
Thanks to NAU members of the LOC (including faculty Josh Emery, Cristina Thomas, Chad Trujillo, adjunct faculty Will Grundy, and extra thanks to recent Phd graduate Oriel Humes) and of the SOC (including PhD student Andy Lopez Oquendo and recent PhD alumna Audrey Martin).
NAU hosted a public event during the meeting, featuring our own Cristina Thomas as one of three speakers; the emcee was KNAU’s Melissa Sevigny.
Special shout-out goes to PhD student Ryder Strauss, current undergrad Gavin Moriarty, and recent BS alumna Hannah Zigo for attempting a occultation observation with the campus telescope on the Wednesday night during the meeting.
Congratulations to FOUR PhD students who have recently defended their dissertations Accordion Closed
Congratulations Graduates Accordion Closed
Congratulations to our senior Van Nhi Haong Nguyen, who was chosen as the CEFNS standard bearer.
Congratulations also to our own Jagoda Janiszewska, who graduated with a BA in sociology — her second bachelor’s degree.
Our alumna Kim Ward-Duong (BS 2010) continues to participate in impactful research Accordion Closed
Here’s a recent paper that she is on in Nature Astronomy: Spatially resolved imaging of the inner Fomalhaut disk using JWST/MIRI
and some accompanying media attention from the New York Times: Webb Telescope Finds a Star Cloaked in 3 Rings of Ruined Worlds
Watch the President’s “Top 10ish highlights from the spring semester” Accordion Closed
It’s fun to watch, and you might especially enjoy the “excellence in research” segment that starts at around 3:00 in the video. If you watch carefully you’ll see Mark Loeffler, Josh Emery, Christopher Edwards and former undergrad student Heshani Pieris, as well as a Mars rover, go by.
The James Webb Space Telescope Cycle 2 selections came out last week Accordion Closed
A proposal led by David Trilling (and including PhD student Ana Morgan) entitled “Searching for ultra-faint trans-Neptunian objects in archival NIRCam calibration data” was selected.
- DAPS adjunct faculty Will Grundy is PI of one successful proposal and CoI on another;
- Josh Emery and Cristina Thomas are CoIs on yet another successful proposal;
- NAU alumna Ryleigh Davis (nee Fitzpatrick) is CoI on two successful Mike Brown/Caltech proposals;
- former NAU postdoc Maggie McAdam is a CoI on a different successful proposal.
David Trilling and Jason Wilder presented on panels at the Arizona Space Summit hosted at ASU on April 6 Accordion Closed
Three DAPS undergrads won HURA research awards for the 2023/24 academic year Accordion Closed
- Kayla Blair (mentor: Lisa Chien)
- Claire Gibson (mentor: Mark Salvatore)
- Jack Kohm (mentor: Lisa Chien)
Congratulations to these students and their mentors!
Postdoc Christian Tai Udovicic has a new paper Accordion Closed
NAU had a great showing at LPSC Accordion Closed
NAU had a great showing at the Lunar and Planetary Science Conference last month (with major early career representation). Grad students Laura Lee, Jessica Walsh, Nicole Ozdowski, Oriel Humes, Lori Pigue, Anna Engle, Ari Koeppel; postdocs Will Oldroyd, Christian Tai Udovicic; assistant research professor Ali Rutledge and visiting professor Jennifer Hanley all presented work (not mentioned here are many more DAPS coauthors).
You might even see a couple of familiar faces — Jessica Walsh and Laura Lee — in the highlight reel!
Christopher Edwards’ Martian Moons eXplorer Participating Scientist proposal was selected for ~6 years ~$650K support Accordion Closed
This includes support for a graduate student for 3 years. They will be deriving thermal inertia, conducting Phobos rover operations, and attempting to derive 3µm band depths among other things.
Here are some links to articles in the press!
PhD student Amber Young is the poster child (literally) for the AAS! Accordion Closed
The AAS (American Astronomical Society) sent out remindrs to register for their upcoming meeting, and a familiar face is on the flyer!
AST184L (Life in the Universe Lab) field trip Accordion Closed
GTA/Instructor Ian Marrs led a field trip this past weekend, along with lecturer Jasmine Garani.
They took 18 students went to Meteor Crater and Sunset Crater; and 17 students to the Grand Canyon. Students were asked to make observations about these sites and relate them to the development of, and search for, life in the Universe.
There is no other university in the world where students can visit such a diverse and wonderful set of analog locations and be home in time for dinner.
The Flagstaff Astronomy Symposium was held on April 12 Accordion Closed
Congratulations to the many NAU undergraduates, grad students, postdocs, and faculty who presented there!
Grad students Ari Koeppel and Andy Lopez Oquendo presented at the 4th workshop on thermal models for planetary science (TherMoPS IV) in Noordwijk (Netherlands) Accordion Closed
Faculty Christopher Edwards, Devon Burr (solicited talk!), and Josh Emery presented at the European Geophysical Union conference in Vienna (Austria) Accordion Closed
Christopher Edwards’ presentation about Mars’ moon Deimos got a lot of press attention:
- NASA selects NAU researcher for international mission to Martian moons
- In Photos: Historic Flyby Of Bean-Shaped Martian Moon Casts Doubt On Its Origin
- News at a glance: U.S. rules on carbon emissions, better vehicle batteries, and a Mars moon’s close-up
Cristina Thomas presented at the Planetary Defense Conference (also held in Vienna) Accordion Closed
Several students were involved in the AZ AstroBio Symposium held at ASU Accordion Closed
Grad-student Schuyler Borges was on the organizing committee, and several of our students attended/presented.
Daniel Kramer (MS student in informatics), Mike Gowanlock (DAPS affiliate faculty), David Trilling, and others have a new paper out Accordion Closed
This is Daniel’s first first-author paper!
The primary results from the DART mission have now appeared in press Accordion Closed
Featuring Cristina Thomas’s paper that was published in Nature:
Orbital Period Change of Dimorphos Due to the DART Kinetic Impact
as well as these Nature papers:
Successful Kinetic Impact into an Asteroid for Planetary Defense
Ejecta from the DART-produced active asteroid Dimorphos
Other papers include:
Orbital Period Change of Dimorphos Due to the DART Kinetic Impact
Ejecta from the DART-produced active asteroid Dimorphos
Successful Kinetic Impact into an Asteroid for Planetary Defense
Cristina Thomas was invited to the Science Magazine Breakthrough Session at the AAAS Annual Meeting Accordion Closed
Cristina and Andy Rivkin were invited to present on behalf of DART in the Science Magazine Breakthrough Session. They were one of the runners up for Science breakthrough of the year — JWST was the winner.
Patrick Tribbett has accepted a postdoctoral research position with Dr. Chris Materese in the Cosmic Ice Lab at NASA Goddard Accordion Closed
He will be examining the radiation-driven alteration of astrophysical ice analogs containing organic interstellar molecules.
Postdoc and former PhD student, Will Oldroyd, and a lots of familiars recently published a paper Accordion Closed
Co-authors include former PhD student Colin Chandler; faculty Chad Trujillo; former REU student Will Burris; former undergrad Jay Kueny; current PhD student Kennedy Farrell; and current undergrad Jarod DeSpain.
Postdoc Aurélien Stcherbinine and a host of familiars published a paper Accordion Closed
Co-authors include faculty Christopher Edwards, postdoc Chris Haberle, and data scientists Nathan Smith and Kezman Saboi.
Former PhD student Shih-Yun Tang has a new paper out Accordion Closed
Assistant Research Professor Allie Rutledge is co-author on a recent review paper about eskers on Mars Accordion Closed
Allie Rutledge awarded a NASA grant ($47K) to augment their esker project in Iceland. Accordion Closed
These funds will allow her, Christopher Edwards, Ari Koeppel, Natalie Jones, and collaborators to extend their Summer 2023 field season and gather even more data at the glacier.
Recent PhD graduates Colin Chandler and Will Oldroyd and a host of local talent have a new paper out Accordion Closed
Co-authors include current faculty Chad Trujillo, incoming PhD student Will Burris, former undergrad Jay Kueny, current undergrad Jarod DeSpain, and current grad student Kennedy Farrell.
Lisa Chien and AST210 TAS presented to the NAU Showcase of Strategies of Student Success Accordion Closed
Lisa and her AST210 undergraduate TAs– Aidan Madden-Watson, Joey Green, Jarod Despain, presented their AST210 course to the NAU Showcase of Strategies of Student Success event at the High Country Conference Center. Their poster was titled NAU’s first EDIJ in STEM course: AST210 Celebrating Diversity in Astronomy and they talked about this course to some of the NAU leadership, including the CEFNS Dean and Vice President of Student Affairs.
Recent PhD alumnus Colin Chandler has a new paper out Accordion Closed
Postdoc Chris Haberle’s proposal to NASA’s New Frontiers Data Analysis Program was selected Accordion Closed
Chris is the PI and Christopher Edwards is the sole Co-I. The title is “Refining the surface composition of asteroid (101955) Bennu through improved derivation of OTES emissivity” and it is a 3-yr project with a start date in June.”
Ryder Strauss, Jessica Walsh, and Maria Chernyavskaya participated in a 200-person occultation campaign Accordion Closed
Chad Trujillo and David Trilling are co-authors on one of the American Astronomical Society’s most downloaded papers of 2022 Accordion Closed
NASA’s DART mission gets a featured listing in NAU’s “Most-read stories of 2022” Accordion Closed
You know you’ve made it when you appear in the president’s Twitter feed! Accordion Closed
Steve Tegler reports about NAU alumna Kim Ward-Duong (BS 2010) Accordion Closed
“I came across an article in Radiations, the magazine of the Society of Physics Students (attached), describing my former undergraduate research student’s career track and her work with JWST and exoplanets. Kim made her first study of exoplanets here on campus with me in the early days of the Barry Lutz Telescope. Kim called out her NAU work on exoplanets in the article. She is now an assistant professor at Smith College. I love reading about the success of our students.”
“I remember Kim well — such a smart, capable, hard-working, and positive person. Great to see her continuing to succeed!”
PhD student Rebecca (Becks) Carmack has published her first first-author paper Accordion Closed
The other authors are PhD student Patrick Tribbett and their faculty advisor Mark Loeffler.
David Trilling, Mike Gowanlock (SICCS), Daniel Kramer (SICCS), Andrew McNeill (former postdoc) have a new paper out Accordion Closed
Mike Gowanlock is a faculty member of NAU’s School of Informatics, Computing, and Cyber Systems (SICCS) and an affiliate of DAPS; Daniel Kramer is a DAPS Alumnus (BS 2021, Astroinformatics, Astronomy Minor) and is currently a Master’s student at NAU/SICCS; Andrew McNeill is a former DAPS Postdoctoral Scholar and is currently at Lehigh University.
Information from AST184L (“Life in the Universe — Lab”) from fall, 2022 Accordion Closed
GTAs Jessica Walsh and Ian Marrs report that there were approximately 30-45 students who participated in field trips to Meteor Crater, Sunset Crater, and the Grand Canyon.
There is no other university in the world that can visit these sites on day trips as part of a regular one credit lab class.
Meteor Crater: Meteor Crater is relevant for the discussion of life in the universe because it affords us the opportunity to discuss meteor impact events as potential extinction events. While Meteor Crater is not thought to have significantly affected the biosphere (unlike the K-T impact) it is one of the most well-preserved impact craters on Earth and is therefore a useful field location to discuss impact events generally.
Sunset Crater: Sunset Crater and the surrounding volcanic fields are relevant for the discussion of life in the universe because they afford us the opportunity to discuss volcanism as a geologic process that mobilizes biologically relevant elements. Volcanoes are thought to have been critical to the development of life on Earth and the relatively recent lava flows at Sunset give the students a chance to understand the scale and context of volcanic eruptions.
Grand Canyon: The Grand Canyon is one of the best places on Earth to view a largely continuous exposure of the terrestrial geologic record.
This location is relevant for the discussion of life in the universe because it demonstrates to students how investigating geologic material can inform our understanding of the history of a planet in terms of biology, geology, meteorology, etc. Such investigations are how professional planetary scientists search for life on other planets and our understanding of the terrestrial geologic record helps us search for evidence of extraterrestrial life.
Mark Loeffler is a Co-I on a recently selected proposal to NASA’s Solar System Workings program Accordion Closed
Titled: “An Experimental Investigation of Space Weathering Processes on the Surface of Mercury,” 5he proposal is
$1.3 M for 3 years and brings about $100K to NAU.
Helen Eifert participated in a NASA astronaut field geology training camp over winter break Accordion Closed
“Over the last few years, I have been observing drying trends of saturated surfaces at various Mars-analogous sites in the deserts of the southwestern United States. Over the holiday break, I took this analog research of studying Mars on Earth a step further. I served as the crew geologist for Crew 271 at the Mars Desert Research Station near Hanksville, Utah. After discovering the research facility during a field trip for the DAPS planetary analogs class [taught by Christopher Edwards], I applied to participate in a two week astronaut simulation mission. Here, I acquired supplemental visible near infrared data of drying trends over multiple days in a mission simulated environment. This data will inform one of my dissertation chapters by providing a better understanding of the residence of water in clay mineral structures. As a bonus, I experienced the unique challenges of conducting science on Mars. This work will help to better understand thermophysical properties of geologic surfaces, Mars’ water history, and how we might detect moisture on Mars. All of which should help inform human missions to Mars in the future.”
Lisa Chien presented about how she brings career resources in her courses to the faculty of the College of Arts and Letters Accordion Closed
and received a very enthusiastic thank you for bringing her energy, enthusiasm, and experience to our CAL colleagues.
Thank you, Lisa, and congratulations!