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On Mars, the wind wins

Cosmic Diary by Lori Fenton - January 26, 2015

A piece of Mars: This scene (600×450 m or 1969×1476 ft) is covered in small craters, formed by the splash of a larger crater nearby. They cover everything, even the bright ripples visible on the right. So the ripples were there before the impact that formed all these little craters. And yet… there are itsy little gray ripples on the upper right, merging with the crater rims – these are new ripples, younger than the craters. On Mars, it’s the wind that wins in the end. (HiRISE ESP_039057_1485, NASA/JPL/Univ. of Arizona)

Skeptic Check: Mummy Dearest

ENCORE  Shh …mummy’s the word! We don’t want to provoke the curse of King Tut. Except that there are many curses associated with this fossilized pharaoh – from evil spirits to alien malevolence. So it’s hard to know which one we’d face.

We’ll unravel secrets about the famous young pharaoh, including the bizarre events that transpired after the discovery of his tomb in the Valley of the Kings, and learn what modern imaging reveals about life 3,000 years ago.

Plus, we dispel myths about how to make a mummy, while learning the origin of that notorious mummy curse. Also, discover why superstitions have survival value.

Guests:

•   Jo Marchant – Author of The Shadow King: The Bizarre Afterlife of King Tut’s Mummy

•   Andrew Wade – Physical anthropologist, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario

•   Salim Ikram – Professor of Egyptology, American University, Cairo

•   Stuart Vyse – Professor of psychology, Connecticut College, New London, Connecticut, author of Believing in Magic: The Psychology of Superstition

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•   F. DeWolfe Miller – Professor of Epidemiology at the University of Hawaii at Manoa

 

First released June 24, 2013.

Wind eroded mantle

Cosmic Diary by Lori Fenton - January 21, 2015

A piece of Mars: The curving ridge of a mountain has signs of many small landslides. Mantled on top of these is an older set of landslides that has been partially eroded away. The rippled edge of this older deposit suggests that it is wind that has done the erosion. So the history here goes: mountains, then landslides, then wind erosion, then new smaller landslides. (HiRISE ESP_039195_1755 NASA/JPL/Univ. of Arizona)

Big Questions Somewhat Answered

Here are questions that give a cosmologist – and maybe even you – insomnia: What happened after the Big Bang? What is dark matter? Will dark energy tear the universe apart?

Let us help you catch those zzzzs. We’re going to provide answers to the biggest cosmic puzzlers of our time. Somewhat. Each question is the focus of new experiments that are either underway or in the queue.

Hear the latest results in the search for gravitational waves that would be evidence for cosmic inflation, as well as the hunt for dark matter and dark energy. And because these questions are bigger than big, we’ve enlisted cosmologist Sean Carroll as our guide to what these experiments might reveal and what it all means.

Guests:

•   Sean Carroll – Cosmologist, California Institute of Technology

•   Jamie Bock – Experimental cosmologist at the California Institute of Technology and NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory and a member of the BICEP team

•   Brendan Crill – Cosmologist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory and member of the Planck collaboration

•   Jeff Filippini – Post-doctoral Fellow, California Institute of Technology, assistant professor of physics at the University of Illinois and member of the Spider team

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•   Neil Gehrels – Astrophysicist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, project scientist for WFIRST

Bearded craters and dunes

Cosmic Diary by Lori Fenton - January 12, 2015


A piece of Mars: This 600×450 m (1969×1476 ft) scene has a complex sedimentary history. How are bearded craters and dunes formed? They weren’t always bearded. At some point, a deposit of bright material accumulated on this surface, and was then eroded so that all that remains of it is what is protected by topography (anything that pokes up like dunes or crater rims). Can you find the boulder that has tumbled downslope (it too has a beard!). (HiRISE ESP_038826_1700, NASA/JPL/Univ. of Arizona)

How to Talk to Aliens

"Dear E.T. …” So far, so good. But now what? Writing is never easy, but what if your task was to craft a message to aliens living elsewhere in the universe, and your prose would represent all humankind? Got writer’s block yet?

What to say to the aliens was the focus of a recent conference in which participants shifted their attentions away from listening for extraterrestrial signals to transmitting some. In this show, we report on the “Communicating Across the Cosmos” conference held at the SETI Institute in December 2014.

Find out what scientists think we should say. Also, how archeology could help us craft messages to an unfamiliar culture. Plus, why journalists might be well-suited to writing the message. And, a response to Stephen Hawking’s warning that attempting to contact aliens is too dangerous.

Guests:

•   Douglas Vakoch – Director of interstellar message composition, SETI Institute

•   Paul Wason – Archaeologist, anthropologist and vice president for the life sciences and genetics program at the Templeton Foundation

•   Al Harrison – Emeritus professor of psychology, University of California, Davis

•   Morris Jones – Journalist and space analyst in Sydney, Australia

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•   Shari Wells-Jensen – Professor of English, Bowling Green State University

Happy New Year to the planet!

Cosmic Diary Marchis - January 05, 2015

I decided to do something new to start the New Year. I translated a podcast from a program called Geopolitics on France Inter written by Anthony Bellanger. You can listen to the original French version here.

I like the text since it is quite optimistic and it summarizes the progresses that we have made over the past 50 years. The world is not perfect yet, but it is indeed a better place.

Are there any reasons to wish people a Happy New Year 2015?

I believe there are many and would like to explain why.

First: our health. Never have so many people all over the world been so healthy and well cared for.

It may seem strange to say that when nearly 8,000 people have died of Ebola in West Africa in recent months, and when the epidemic is far from defeated—yet it’s true.

Over the last half century , the infant mortality rate has fallen by two-thirds” and the average human lifespan has increased by twenty years and continues to grow. Better yet, the difference in life expectancy between rich and poor countries is narrowing year by year.

Thanks to modern medicine, diseases that decimated entire populations throughout history are almost eradicated. The number of polio cases, for example, has fallen by 99% since 1988.

Between 2000 and 2015, the number of global malaria cases has dropped in half thanks to a global mobilization against the disease. Even AIDS, which appeared only 30 years ago, is now tested for and treated all over the world.

What about hunger and education?

Here, too, things are looking up. Hunger around the world declines annually. Since the early 90s — only 25 ago! — the percentage of undernourished people around the world has fallen by half.

The great famines that killed tens of thousands of people in the 1980s — in Ethiopia, for example —have disappeared. The world is better organized than ever and extremely efficient at delivering emergency medical and food aid when and where it is needed.

On the education front, results are even more impressive: In only 10 years, school enrollment for boys and girls has increased from 84 to 89% in primary grades and 60 to 73% in secondary grades. Around the world, three out of four children go to school until they are at least 14 years old!

We see similar improvements in the area of extreme poverty, which has fallen by 50 percent since 1990. This is unheard of in human history.

What is the source of this improvement?

We all are! Despite what we may hear or say, international institutions — the UN, NGOs and many others —work effectively: they treat, train, vaccinate, feed and intervene anywhere in the world where they are needed.

Even freedom is rising: in the last half century, the number of democratic states has tripled, and half the world’s population now lives under this type of government which — though often imperfect — is a unique achievement in human history.

So yes, one may wish people a Happy New Year, knowing that there will be wars, massacres, and many other disasters but also knowing that we have never been better educated, cared for and nurtured than we are in 2015.

The long, low dune

Cosmic Diary by Lori Fenton - January 05, 2015

A piece of Mars: A long, low dune covered in long, linear ripples stretches across the scene (600×450 m; 1969×1476 ft). Dark gray areas on the dune show where sand has most recently moved. A small slip face has formed on the southeast side of the dune, but ripples have formed on it, so there haven’t been any recent avalanches here. (ESP_038615_1665, NASA/JPL/Univ. of Arizona)

Meet Your Replacements

ENCORE There’s no one like you. At least, not yet. But in some visions of the future, androids can do just about everything, computers will hook directly into your brain, and genetic human-hybrids with exotic traits will be walking the streets. So could humans become an endangered species?

Be prepared to meet the new-and-improved you. But how much human would actually remain in the humanoids of the future?

Plus, tips for preventing our own extinction in the face of inevitable natural catastrophes.

Guests:

•   Robin Hanson – Associate professor of economics, George Mason University

•   Luke Muehlhauser – Executive director of the Machine Intelligence Research Institute

•   Stuart Newman – Professor of cell biology and anatomy, New York Medical College

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•   Annalee Newitz – Editor of io9.com, and author of Scatter, Adapt, and Remember: How Humans Will Survive a Mass Extinction

 

First released July 1, 2013.

Skeptic Check: Got a Sweet Truth?

Big Picture Science Latest Shows - December 29, 2014

ENCORE  The sweet stuff is getting sour press. Some researchers say sugar is toxic. A new study seems to support that idea: mice fed the human equivalent of an extra three sodas a day become infertile or die. But should cupcakes be regulated like alcohol?

Hear both sides of the debate. Another researcher says that animal studies are misleading, and that, for good health, you should count calories, not candy and carbs.

Plus, an investigative reporter exposes the tricks that giant food companies employ to keep you hooked on sugar, salt, and fat.

It’s Skeptic Check … but don’t take our word for it!

Guests:

•   Robert Lustig – University of California, San Francisco, author of Fat Chance: Beating the Odds Against Sugar, Processed Food, Obesity, and Disease

•   James Ruff – Biologist post-doc at The University of Utah

•   John Sievenpiper – Knowledge Synthesis Lead of the Toronto 3D Knowledge Synthesis and Clinical Trials Unit, St. Michael’s Hospital, University of Toronto, Canada

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•   Michael Moss – Pulitzer prize-winning journalist at The New York Times, and author of Salt Sugar Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us

 

First released August 19, 2013.

Science Fiction True

Big Picture Science Latest Shows - December 22, 2014

Don’t believe everything you see on TV or the movies. Science fiction is just a guide to how our future might unfold. It can be misleading, as anyone who yearns for a flying car can tell you. And yet, sometimes fantasy becomes fact. Think of the prototype cellphones in Star Trek

We take a look at science that seems inspired by filmic sci-fi, for example scientists manipulating memory as in Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. And despite his famous film meltdown, Charleton Heston hasn’t stopped the Soylent company from producing what it calls the food of the future.

Plus, why eco-disaster films have the science wrong, but not in the way you might think. And, what if our brains are simply wired to accept film as fact?

Guests:

•   Steve Ramirez -Neuroscientist, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

•   Rob Rhinehart – CEO and founder of Soylent

•   Jason Mark – Editor of Earth Island Journal

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•   Jeffrey Zacks – Cognitive Neuroscientist, Washington University, St. Louis, and author of Flicker: Your Brain on Movies

Wind, wind, impact(!), and then more wind…

Cosmic Diary by Lori Fenton - December 19, 2014

A piece of Mars: Some time ago, something hit the ground on Mars and made this impact crater, right into a field of ripples. Stuff thrown up during the impact fell back down, burying the ripples with the gray ejecta rays that radiate from the crater. But the wind kept blowing, and in some places you can see where new ripples have formed on top of the ejecta. That’s Mars for you: wind, wind, wind, impact(!), more wind… (HiRISE ESP_038918_1650, NASA/JPL/Univ. of Arizona)

AGU Fall Meeting 2014: Solar System Small Bodies: Relics of Formation and New Worlds to Explore

Cosmic Diary Marchis - December 18, 2014

Can you believe it is December already!? As usual, it is a busy month with the AGU Fall Conference.  I co-organized a session on small solar system bodies with Padma Yanamandra-Fisher (PSI)  and Julie Castillo (JPL).  We will talk about recent discoveries in this emerging field including the discovery of rings around Chariklo, the understanding of regolith motion on asteroids, the new lander for Hayabusa 2 (MASCOT) and off course adaptive optics observations of asteroids. Below more info. See you there!

Where: Thursday, December 18, 2014 01:40 PM – 03:40 PM
When: Moscone West 3002

Why: The composition and physical properties of Small Solar System Bodies (SSSBs), remnants of the formation of planets, are key to better understand the origins of our solar system and their potential as resources is necessary for robotic and human exploration. Missions such as ESA/Gaia, NASA/OSIRIS-REx, JAXA/Hyabusa-2, NASA/Dawn and NASA/New Horizons, to study asteroids, comets, dwarf planets and TNOs are poised to provide new in situ information. on SSSBs.  Recent remote observations of bright and main belt comets; asteroid Chariklo, with its ring system; asteroid and KBO binaries illustrate that the distinction between comets and asteroids is blurred, providing a new paradigm for such classification. This session welcomes abstracts on the remarkable results bringing information on the internal structure and composition of SSSBs based on space and ground-based data, numerical models, as well as instrument/mission concepts in theprospect of future exploration.

Artistic representation of the triple asteroid system showing the large 270-km asteroid Sylvia surrounded by its two satellites, Romulus and Remus. The differentiated interior of the asteroid is shown through a cutaway diagram. The primary asteroid of the system may have a dense, regularly-shaped core, surrounding by a fluffy or fractured material. The two moons are shown to be strongly elongated, and composed of two lobes, as suggested by the recently observed occultation data by the satellite Romulus. (credits: D. Futselaar & F. Marchis)


Primary Conveners
Franck Marchis – Carl Sagan Center, SETI institute

Co-conveners
Padma Yanamandra-Fisher
Space Science Institute

Julie Castillo
NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory

Carey Lisse
JHU-APL

 Program: 

1:40 PM
P43F-01 The Ring System Discovered Around the Centaur Object (10199) Chariklo (Invited)
Felipe Braga-Ribas1, Bruno Sicardy2, Jose L Ortiz3, Roberto Vieira Martins1, Francois Colas4, Rene Duffard3, Julio I.B. Camargo1, Josselin Desmars1, Amanda Gulbis5,6, Marcelo Assafin7, Lucie Maquet2, Wolfgang Beisker8, Gustavo Benedetti-Rossi1, Frederic Vachier4, Christophe Dumas9, Valentin D. Ivanov9, Stefan Renner4,10, Karl-Ludwig Bath11, Alain Klotz12 and Joseph T. Pollock13, (1)Observatorio Nacional, GPA, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, (2)Paris Observatory Meudon, LESIA, Meudon, France, (3)Instituto de Astrofisica de Andalucia, Granada, Spain, (4)Observatoire de Paris, IMCCE, Paris, France, (5)Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA, United States, (6)South African Astronomycal Observatory, Cape Town, South Africa, (7)Observatório do Valongo, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, (8)Internetional Occultation Timing Associatios, European Section, Munich, Germany, (9)European Southern Observatory, Santiago, Chile, (10)Université de Lille, Villeneuve d’Ascq, France, (11)Internationale Amateursternwarte, Heidelberg, Germany, (12)Universite de Toulouse, Toulouse, France, (13)Appalachian State University, Boone, NC, United States

1:55 PM
P43F-02 A new mechanism for the formation of regolith on asteroids (Invited)
Marco Delbo1, Guy Libourel1,2, Justin Wilkerson3, Naomi Murdoch4, Patrick Michel1, K. T. Ramesh3, Clément Ganino2, Chrystele Verati2 and Simone Marchi5, (1)UNS-CNRS-Observatoire de la Cote d’Azur, Laboratoire Lagrange, NIce, France, (2)UNS-CNRS-Observatoire de la Cote d’Azur, Laboratoire Géoazur, NIce, France, (3)Johns Hopkins University, Hopkins Extreme Materials Institute (HEMI), Baltimore, MD, United States, (4)Institut Superieur de l’Aeronautique et de l’Espace, Toulouse, France, (5)NASA Lunar Science Institute, Boulder, CO, United States

2:10 PM
P43F-03 New Dust Measurements throughout the Solar System
Mihaly Horanyi, University of Colorado at Boulder, Boulder, CO, United States
2:25 PM
P43F-04 The Water Regime of Ceres and its Potential Habitability (Invited)
Jian-Yang Li, Planetary Science Institute Tucson, Tucson, AZ, United States, Mark V Sykes, Planetary Science Institute, Tucson, AZ, United States, Julie C Castillo, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, CA, United States and Lucy-Ann McFadden, Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD, United States

2:40 PM
P43F-05 Vesta’s Pinaria Region- A window on Vesta’s Ancient Crust
ABSTRACT WITHDRAWN

2:52 PM
P43F-06 Composition of Rheasilvia Basin on Asteroid Vesta.
Eleonora Ammannito1, Maria Cristina De Sanctis2, Fabrizio Capaccioni2, Maria Teresa Capria2, Jean Philippe Combe3, Alessandro Frigeri2, Ralf Jaumann4, Andrea Longobardo2, Simone Marchi5, Thomas B McCord3, Harry Y McSween Jr6, David W Mittlefehldt7, Katrin Stephan8, Federico Tosi9, Carol A Raymond10, Christopher T Russell11 and Dawn Science Team, (1)University of California Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA, United States, (2)IAPS-INAF, Rome, Italy, (3)Bear Fight Institute, Winthrop, WA, United States, (4)German Aerospace Center DLR Berlin, Berlin, Germany, (5)NASA Lunar Science Institute, Boulder, CO, United States, (6)University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN, United States, (7)NASA/Johnson Space Center, Houston, TX, United States, (8)German Aerospace Center, Berlin, Germany, (9)INAF, Rome, Italy, (10)NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, CA, United States, (11)Univ California, Los Angeles, CA, United States
3:04 PM
P43F-07 A Mobile Asteroid Surface Scout (MASCOT) for the Hayabusa 2 Mission to 1999 JU3: The Scientific Approach
Ralf Jaumann1, J.-P. Bibring2, Karl-Heinz Glassmeier3, Matthias Grott1, T.-M. Ho4, Stephan Ulamec5, Nicole Schmitz1, Hans Ulrich Auster3, Jens Biele5, H. Kuninaka6, Tatsuaki Okada7, Masako Yoshikawa8, Seiichiro Watanabe9, Masaki Fujimoto10, Tilman Spohn1, Alexander Koncz1, D. Hercik3 and Harald Michaelis1, (1)German Aerospace Center DLR Berlin, Berlin, Germany, (2)Univ. de Paris Sud-Orsay, IAS, Orsay, France, (3)Technical University of Braunschweig, Braunschweig, Germany, (4)German Aerospace Center DLR Bremen, Bremen, Germany, (5)German Aerospace Center DLR Cologne, Cologne, Germany, (6)JSPEC/JAXA, Yoshinodai, Chuo, Sagamihara, Kanagawa, Japan, (7)ISAS/JAXA, Kanagawa, Japan, (8)Kyoto University, Kyoto, Japan, (9)Nagoya University, Nagoya, Japan, (10)JAXA Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, Sagamihara, Japan

3:16 PM
P43F-08 The Potential of Extreme Adaptive Optics Systems for Asteroid Studies
Franck Marchis1, David Vega1 and Gemini Planet Imager Science Team, (1)SETI Institute Mountain View, Mountain View, CA, United States
Pa 3:28 PM
P43F-09 End of Life Scenarios for Rubble Pile Asteroids
Daniel Jay Scheeres, University of Colorado Boulder, Boulder, CO, United States

Poster session

When: Friday, December 19, 201408:00 AM – 12:20 PM
Where: Moscone South Poster Hall

P51D-3975 The IMACS Occultation Survey: I. Pilot Study
Matthew Jon Holman1, Matthew John Payne1, Charles Alcock2, Hilke Schlichting3, David Osip4, Federica Bianco5, Brian McLeod1, Ruth Murray-Clay1, Paul Nulsen2, Pavlos Protopapas6, Ian Thompson4, Greg Burley7 and Christoph Birk4, (1)Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, Cambridge, MA, United States, (2)Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory, Cambridge, MA, United States, (3)Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences, Cambridge, MA, United States, (4)Carnegie Inst Washington, Las Campanas Observatory, Washington, DC, United States, (5)New York University, Center for Cosmology and Particle Physics, New York, NY, United States, (6)Harvard University, School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, Cambridge, MA, United States, (7)NRC Canada, Herzberg Astrophysics, Victoria, BC, Canada

P51D-3967 Lessons from Dynamic Heds: Diagonite Microstructures Suggest Solid-State Deformation, Annealing and Incipient Differentiation
Sandra Piazolo1, Tracy A Rushmer1 and Vladimir Luzin2, (1)Macquarie University, Sydney, NSW, Australia, (2)Australian Nuclear Science & Technology Organisation, Bragg Institute, Lucas Heights, Australia

P51D-3969 Preparing for NEO Sample Return: Simulating the Effects of Laser Space Weathering on Macromolecular Carbon
Jeffrey Gillis-Davis1, Patrick James Gasda1, John P. Bradley1, Song ChengYu2 and VORTICES science team, (1)Hawai’i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology, Honolulu, HI, United States, (2)Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Berkeley, CA, United States

P51D-3970 Gullies and Lobate Deposits as Geomorphological Evidence for Impact-induced Transient Water Flow and Localized, Buried Ice-bearing Deposits on Vesta.
Jennifer E. C. Scully1, C. T. Russell2, An Yin1, Ralf Jaumann3, Elizabeth M. Carey4, Harry Y McSween Jr5, Julie C Castillo6, Carol A Raymond6, Vishnu Reddy7 and Lucille Le Corre7, (1)University of California Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA, United States, (2)Univ California, Los Angeles, CA, United States, (3)German Aerospace Center DLR Berlin, Berlin, Germany, (4)Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, CA, United States, (5)University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN, United States, (6)NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, CA, United States, (7)Planetary Science Institute Tucson, Tucson, AZ, United States

P51D-3971 A Deep Moho in “Small Planet” Vesta and Implication Regarding the Chondritic Nature of Protoplanets
Harold Clenet1, Martin Jutzi2, Jean-Alix Barrat3, Erik I Asphaug4, Willy Benz2 and Philippe Gillet1, (1)EPFL Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne, Lausanne, Switzerland, (2)University of Bern, Physics Institute, Space Research and Planetary Sciences, Center for Space and Habitability, Bern, Switzerland, (3)IUEM Institut Universitaire Européen de la Mer, Université de Bretagne Occidentale, Plouzané, France, (4)Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ, United States

P51D-3972 Emissivity and Reflectance Spectra of Asteroid Analogs: Their Dependence on Emerging Angle
Alessandro Maturilli1, Jorn Helbert1, Mario D’Amore1 and Sabrina Ferrari2, (1)German Aerospace Center DLR Berlin, Berlin, Germany, (2)DLR, Berlin, Germany

P51D-3973 Spectral Characterization of Phobos Analogues Under Simulated Environmental Conditions

Kerri L Donaldson Hanna1, Neil E Bowles1, Christopher S Edwards2, Timothy D Glotch3, Benjamin T Greenhagen4, Carle M Pieters5 and Ian Thomas1, (1)University of Oxford, Oxford, United Kingdom, (2)California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA, United States, (3)Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, NY, United States, (4)NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, CA, United States, (5)Brown University, Providence, RI, United States

P51D-3974 The mineralogy and internal structure of Multiple Asteroid Systems
Sean Stephen Lindsay1,2, Franck Marchis3, Joshua P Emery1, J. Emilio Enriquez3,4 and Marcelo Assafin5, (1)Univ of Tennessee-EPS, Knoxville, TN, United States, (2)University of Oxford, Oxford, United Kingdom, (3)SETI Institute Mountain View, Mountain View, CA, United States, (4)Radboud University Nijmegen, Department of Astrophysics, Nijmegen, Netherlands, (5)Observatório do Valongo, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

P51D-3968 Modelling the Neutral Sodium Tails of Comets
Kimberley S Birkett1,2, Geraint H Jones1,2 and Andrew J Coates1,2, (1)University College London, Mullard Space Science Laboratory, London, United Kingdom, (2)University College London, Centre for Planetary Sciences (at UCL/Birkbeck), London, United Kingdom

P51D-3976 The IMACS Occultation Survey: II. An Extended Campaign
Matthew John Payne1, Matthew Jon Holman1, Charles Alcock2, Hilke Schlichting3, David Osip4, Federica Bianco5, Brian McLeod1, Paul Nulsen2, Pavlos Protopapas6, Ruth Murray-Clay1 and Ian Thompson4, (1)Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, Cambridge, MA, United States, (2)Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory, Cambridge, MA, United States, (3)Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences, Cambridge, MA, United States, (4)Carnegie Inst Washington, Las Campanas Observatory, Washington, DC, United States, (5)New York University, Center for Cosmology and Particle Physics, New York, NY, United States, (6)Harvard University, School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, Cambridge, MA, United States

P51D-3977 The Whipple Mission: Exploring the Kuiper Belt and the Oort Cloud
Charles Alcock1, Michael E. Brown2, Thomas Gauron1, Cate Heneghan3, Matthew Jon Holman4, Almus Kenter5, Ralph Kraft6, Roger Lee3, John Livingston3, James Mcguire3, Stephen S Murray7, Ruth Murray-Clay4, Paul Nulsen1, Matthew John Payne4, Hilke Schlichting8, Amy Trangsrud3, Jan Vrtilek1 and Michael Werner3, (1)Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory, Cambridge, MA, United States, (2)California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA, United States, (3)NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, CA, United States, (4)Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, Cambridge, MA, United States, (5)Center for Astrophysics, Cambridge, MA, United States, (6)Smithsonian Astrophysics Observatory, Cambridge, MA, United States, (7)Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD, United States, (8)Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences, Cambridge, MA, United States

P51D-3978 Whipple Mission Design – Fields, Orbit, Schedule
Amy Trangsrud1, Drew Jones1, John Livingston1, Stephen S Murray2 and Charles Alcock3, (1)Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA, United States, (2)Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD, United States, (3)Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory, Cambridge, MA, United States

P51D-3979 The Whipple Mission: Design and development of the focal plane
Almus Kenter1, Ralph Kraft1, Stephen S Murray2, Thomas Gauron1, Charles Alcock1 and Jan Vrtilek1, (1)Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory, Cambridge, MA, United States, (2)Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD, United States

P51D-3980 Whipple Mission Simulations – Detectability and Parameter Extraction
Stephen S Murray1,2, Charles Alcock2, Paul Nulsen2, Ralph Kraft2 and Almus Kenter2, (1)Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD, United States, (2)Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory, Cambridge, MA, United States

P51D-3981 Castalia – A Mission to a Main Belt Comet
Download ePoster
Geraint H Jones, University College London, Centre for Planetary Sciences (at UCL/Birkbeck), London, United Kingdom and The Castalia Team

P51D-3982 Spectral Analysis of Cometary X-Rays Emission Mechanisms
Bradford Theodore Snios, University of Connecticut, Groton, CT, United States, Vasili Alex Kharchenko, UConn & Harvard-Smiths. CfA, Upton, MA, United States and Nicholas Lewkow, University of Connecticut, Somerville, MA, United States

 

Shocking Ideas

Big Picture Science Latest Shows - December 15, 2014

Electricity is so 19th century. Most of the uses for it were established by the 1920s. So there’s nothing innovative left to do, right? That’s not the opinion of the Nobel committee that awarded its 2014 physics prize to scientists who invented the blue LED.

Find out why this LED hue of blue was worthy of our most prestigious science prize … how some bacteria actually breathe rust … and a plan to cure disease by zapping our nervous system with electric pulses.

Guests:

•   Siddha Pimputkar – Postdoctoral researcher in the Materials Department of the Solid State Lighting and Energy Electronics Center under Shuji Nakamura, winner of the 2014 Nobel Prize in Physics, University of California, Santa Barbara

•   Jeff Gralnick – Associate professor of microbiology at the University of Minnesota

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•   Kevin Tracey – Neurosurgeon and president of the Feinstein Institute for Medical Research in New York

Aeolian shoreline

Cosmic Diary by Lori Fenton - December 08, 2014

A piece of Mars: On the left is a steep slope leading to a hill. On the right are waves – but not waves of water or any other kind of liquid. These are dunes or very large ripples, blown by the wind into intricate patterns. Sharp eyes might spy boulders that have rolled downslope into this “sea” – there’s even a dotted track that one boulder made as it went. Can you find the boulder? (HiRISE ESP_038799_1590, NASA/JPL/Univ. of Arizona)

Living Computers

Big Picture Science Latest Shows - December 08, 2014

It’s the most dramatic technical development of recent times: Teams of people working for decades to produce a slow-motion revolution we call computing. As these devices become increasingly powerful, we recall that a pioneer from the nineteenth century – Ada Lovelace, a mathematician and Lord Byron’s daughter – said they would never surpass human ability. Was she right?

We consider the near-term future of computing as the Internet of Things is poised to link everything together, and biologists adopt the techniques of information science to program living cells.

Plus: What’s your favorite sci-fi computer?

Guests:

•   Walter Isaacson – President and CEO of the Aspen Institute and the author of The Innovators: How a Group of Hackers, Geniuses, and Geeks Created the Digital Revolution

•   Christopher Voigt – Bioengineer at MIT

•   Andy Ihnatko – Technology journalist

•   André Bormanis – Writer, screenwriter, Star Trek

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•   John Barrett – Electronic engineer, NIMBUS Centre for Embedded Systems Research at the Cork Institute of Technology, Ireland

Inverted crater

Cosmic Diary by Lori Fenton - December 01, 2014

A piece of Mars: This circular hill is 200 m (~656 ft) across and ~48 m (~160 ft) high. It stands alone on a relatively flat plain. Why is it there? The surface here used to be ~48 m higher than it is now – on that old surface, a crater formed. The crater was filled in by sediment. And then the surrounding terrain was eroded away by the wind (that’s a whole lot of stuff to be removed over time!). What’s left is the old crater fill, but one day it too will be blown away. (HiRISE ESP_038309_1870, NASA/JPL/Univ. of Arizona)

Long Live Longevity

Big Picture Science Latest Shows - December 01, 2014

Here’s to a long life – which, on average, is longer today than it was a century ago. How much farther can we extend that ultimate finish line? Scientists are in hot pursuit of the secret to longer life.

The latest in aging studies and why there’s a silver lining for the silver-haired set: older people are happier. Also, what longevity means if you’re a tree. Plus, why civilizations need to stick around if we’re to make contact with E.T.

And, how our perception of time shifts as we age, and other tricks that clocks play on the mind.

Guests:

•   Ted Anton – Professor of English, DePaul University, Chicago, author of The Longevity Seekers: Science, Business, and the Fountain of Youth

•   Laura Carstensen – Psychologist, Stanford University, director of the Stanford Center on Longevity

•   Peter Crane – Botanist, dean of the School of Forestry and Environmental studies, Yale University, and author of Ginkgo: The Tree That Time Forgot

•   Frank Drake – Astronomer, SETI Institute

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•   Claudia Hammond – BBC broadcaster and author of Time Warped: Unlocking the Mysteries of Time Perception

MAHLI landscapes

Cosmic Diary by Lori Fenton - November 25, 2014

I just… felt like putting up a pretty picture from MAHLI, the microscopic imager on Curiosity. This is image 0817MH0003250050301497E01_DXXX, taken Nov. 23, 2014 (sol 817). The camera mainly takes closeup images of rocks, but it’s also good for a quick landscape shot. You can see where the camera was pointing here.

Panda stripe dustslides

Cosmic Diary by Lori Fenton - November 25, 2014

A piece of Mars: This 600×450 m (1969×1476 ft) scene of a hillside shows new, dark dustslides that slid downhill (to the lower left). Faint stripes of older dustslides are visible, covered by bright dust and small ripples. Thousands of these form every year on Mars, stretching several kilometers downslope – there is nothing quite like this here on Earth! (HiRISE ESP_038387_1855, NASA/JPL/Univ. of Arizona)

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