Planetary Science

Asteroid Day Special Event

To celebrate 'Asteroid Day', the SETI Institute is holding a special event where two SETI asteroid scientists will give short presentations on the latest thinking on how to handle the Near Earth Asteroid (NEA) problem and the goals of NASA's Asteroid Return Mission (ARM). Michael Busch will give a talk on the properties of target NEAs and Peter Jenniskens will give a talk on a new concept (SHEPHERD) for the Asteroid Return mission.

Ultra-lightweight Probes to Catalyze Interstellar Exploration

Based on present space science and engineering, interstellar travel remains highly unlikely. Applying synergistic emerging technologies to enhance capabilities for accelerated space development in the solar system may catalyze possible steps to the stars. A stepwise sequence of plausible projects will be proposed. The remarkable present progress in diverse applied sciences can be a game changer.


Do WIMPs rule? The LUX and LZ Experiments and the Search for Cosmic Dark Matter

Dark Matter remains a profound mystery at the intersection of particle physics, astrophysics, and cosmology. One of the leading candidates, the Weakly Interacting Massive Particle, or WIMP, may be detectable using terrestrial particle detectors. Recent technological advances are enabling very rapid increases in sensitivity in the search for these particles. I will talk about the LUX experiment, a liquid xenon time projection chamber, which currently holds the best upper limit over much of the WIMP mass range.

Atmospheric Tides and the Diurnal Cycle on Earth and Other Planets

The latest standardized database of Earth climate model output features 24 high-time-frequency fields including surface pressure, allowing for the first time a direct global comparison of simulations and surface observations of atmospheric tides. The comparison reveals surprising agreement, raising the possibility of models "getting the right answer for the wrong reasons" and leading to general considerations of middle atmosphere phenomena on Earth and other worlds, e.g. superrotation on Venus and Titan.

Giant planet interiors studied with ab initio computer simulations

Dr. Militzer will briefly review the interior structure of different types of planets and discuss how it is affected by the miscibility of various planetary materials. Results from recent ab initiocomputer simulations will be presented that focus on the miscibility properties of four systems: hydrogen-helium mixtures in gas giant planets, hydrogen-water mixtures in ice giants, silicate-iron mixtures in the interiors of terrestrial planets.

Exploring the Inner Edge of the Habitable Zone in the Early Solar System

Abstract: 3-D models can help explore the possible roles of rotation, atmosphere and ocean dynamical transports, cloud feedbacks and sea ice-albedo feedbacks in determining the habitability of a range of planetary environments. Using recent modifications to the Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) IPCC AR5 General Circulation Model (GCM) we have explored the Inner Edge of the habitable zone (HZ) of our Solar System.

Laser-based exploration of planetary surfaces: lab, field, and mission instruments and concepts

Mars Science LaboratoryThe capability for simultaneous multispecies detection, rapid analysis, high sensitivity, and high spatial resolution make laser spectroscopy technologies very attractive for the in-situ characterization of organic, mineralogical, and chemical species during planetary exploration.

Private Funding Opportunities for Space Research

Kollipara Horgan Bunger

Join our three expert panelists to find out about opportunities for funding science with venture capital and other commercial opportunities.

This event is co-hosted with the NIAC workshop, to be held at Stanford Feb 4-6 2014.


Thermal History of Planetary Objects: From Asteroids to super-Earths, from plate-tectonics to life

super earthConvection in the interiors of planetesimals (asteroids), planets, and satellites is driving the thermal and chemical evolution of these bodies including the generation of possible magnetic fields.  The wide size range induces a wide range of time scales from hundreds of thousands of years for small planetesimals to a few tens of Gigayears for massive super-Earths.


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