Our Solar System Projects

Structure and Evolution of Jupiter's Ring System

Friday, February 27 2009 - 2:12 pm, PST
This study investigates the spatial and temporal variations within Jupiter's rings to understand the dynamics, evolution and origin of the system. It also investigates the influence of the ring-moons Metis and Adrastea on the rings.


Multispectral Analysis and Photometry of Galileo Europa Data

Tuesday, February 03 2009 - 10:02 am, PST
A project to analyze data from Jupiter's moon Europa to identify the origin and composition of non-ice deposits on the surface.

Exploration of Planets Past, Present, and Future Habitability

Wednesday, January 07 2009 - 3:59 pm, PST
Planetary habitability is the measure of a planet's (or a satellite’s) potential to develop and sustain life. While life beyond the Earth is still uncertain, planetary missions show that conditions for habitability (i.e. water, energy, nutrients) were met in the past, and still possibly today in specific environments on Mars and on several moons of the outer solar system. Central to our investigation is the notion that habitability evolves with time. For instance, some planets could have been habitable in the past and may not be anymore; the Earth, that is not only habitable but has developed life, has seen its broad range of habitats change over geological times through climate cycles and planetary-scale catastrophes (e.g., asteroid and comet impacts) that were followed sometimes by near complete extinctions and the redistribution of habitats and dominant species. Currently, Global Warming is showing how rapidly habitats and species can disappear following climate change. Yet, humanity’s ability to explore and understand its environment can have positive consequences, which is in the case of our planet, to reduce human-induced biodiversity loss, and for other planets, to explore and engineer apparently sterile worlds (e.g., the Moon and Mars) to make them habitable and productive for future generations.

Properties of Saturn's Ring Particles from Occultations and Thermal Observations

Tuesday, May 13 2008 - 10:21 am, PDT
Analysis of Cassini data regarding Saturn’s main rings to further develop modeling of ring optical thickness and advance our understanding of how particle properties affect the evolution of the ring system.

A Coupled Thermal/Radiative Transfer Model Addressing the Infrared Emission of Saturn's Rings in Response to Radiative Forcing

Thursday, May 01 2008 - 10:09 am, PDT
A study to continue the development of a thermal/radiative transfer model of Saturn’s rings, accounting for orbital motion, spin, particle size distribution, and the vertical profile of the ring.

Seasonal Changes on Uranus: Analysis of Imaging Data 1986-2006

Tuesday, January 23 2007 - 2:05 pm, PST
An investigation into long-term changes on Uranus through a coordinated analysis of imaging data from 1986-2006. This study addresses a number of questions, such as: Does the asymmetry of the planet's atmosphere vary with time?

CIRS Investigations of Planetary Rings

Friday, June 09 2006 - 2:10 pm, PDT
Analysis of infrared data of Saturn's rings to understand more about the sizes and properties of the particles in the rings.