SETI Institute Projects and Programs (Listed Chronologically)

Mars Simulation Measurements (MSM): Survivability of Organic Molecules Adsorbed on or Occluded in Minerals under Ionizing Radiation

Friday, September 10 2010 - 2:37 pm, PDT
This proposal requests funds to determine the protective role of minerals on adsorbed organic molecules against radiation effect under conditions that simulate Mars environments. Organic material could have been delivered to Mars from space via meteorites, comets and small interplanetary dust particles. Endogenous formation of organic material may also be considered as a possibility.

Formation of Solar and Extrasolar Giant Planets by Core-Nucleated Accretion

Wednesday, September 01 2010 - 2:27 pm, PDT
The objective of the proposed research is the improvement of the understanding of gas giant planet formation through the Core-Nucleated Accretion model, based on constraints derived from solar and extrasolar planet observations.

Preformed Complex Organic Molecules from the Matrix of Magnetic Minerals

Tuesday, August 17 2010 - 4:02 pm, PDT
The hard, dense solid state of magmatic minerals is a medium, in which organic synthesis can take place. When minerals crystallize from magmas laden with H2O, CO/CO2, N2, H2S etc, the gas/fluid-phase components become incorporated, forming oxyanion complexes, best known among them OH (hydroxyl) and CO3^2(carbonate).

Dune Morphology and Atmospheric Models: Implications for Present-Day Martian Aeolian Activity

Monday, August 16 2010 - 3:56 pm, PDT
It has long been unclear whether the many sand dune fields on Mars are actively evolving in the present climatic era. Recent evidence of sand avalanching and active sustained saltation has been identified in high resolution images. In particular, we report the first clear indications of ripple migration over dark dune slopes observed from orbit. We propose a comprehensive study that will specifically address this knowledge gap, via the careful analysis of high-resolution spacecraft imagery over the majority of the planet (between 60° N and 60° S). In fact, even the preliminary investigation of a small sampling of such imagery has already yielded evidence of recent sand avalanching on dark dune slip faces and the first clear indications of ripple migration (superposed on the dark dunes) observed from orbit. Such morphological indications provide unprecedented details of sustained saltation on Mars. This newly found activity refutes the commonly held belief that dunes on Mars are inactive in the present-day wind regime. Such a provocative topic deserves immediate, detailed study to determine how current dune activity provides unique ground truth for today's weather patterns on Mars.

Imaging Data of Slope Streaks on Mars: Changes, Fading, Resurfacing, and Dust Transport

Thursday, August 05 2010 - 10:36 am, PDT
Dark slope streaks represent one of the most dynamic geological processes currently affecting the Martian surface.

Ices and Organic Molecules in Space

Thursday, July 22 2010 - 2:16 pm, PDT
This program focuses on ice experiments for comparison to interstellar and Solar System objects, meteoritic organics, and interstellar dust particles (IDPs). We also are actively pursuing related observational and theoretical projects through collaborations with other scientists at NASA, universities, and non-profits.

Icy Moon

Terrestrial Planet Geologic History Investigations

Thursday, July 15 2010 - 3:31 pm, PDT
This project includes studies of the geological history of Mercury, Mars, and the satellites of Jupiter and Pluto, plus mission support and public outreach activities.

Characterizing Exoplanet Frequencies from the Results of the Kepler Mission

Thursday, July 01 2010 - 10:42 am, PDT
Analysis of Kepler Mission photometer data and follow up.

Undergraduate Research at the SETI Institute in Astrobiology (USRA): a Partnership Between the SETI Institute and San Jose State University

Thursday, July 01 2010 - 10:34 am, PDT
Students who participate in hands-on undergraduate research projects are more likely to pursue advanced degrees in STEM disciplines (Russell et al., Science 316, 548-549, 2007).