SETI Institute Presence at Earth and Planetary Science Meeting

AGU 2015

The fall meeting of the AGU – the American Geophysical Union – is being held from December 14 though 18 in San Francisco. Among its 24,000 attendees are many SETI Institute scientists, who are giving talks and presenting posters.

A brief description of their contributions is given below.

Ross Beyer

Ross is giving a talk entitled The Chasmata and Montes of Charon. This will be a roundup of interesting topographic results accumulated so far for Pluto’s large moon, Charon.

Janice Bishop

Janice will be giving several talks and present a number of posters. Among the talks is Solfataric Alteration at Hawaii as a Potential Analog for Martian Surface Processes in which she considers the solfataric alteration at Kilauea, in Hawaii, as a potential formation mechanism for opal, sulfate, and clays on Mars.

She’ll also be speaking on Wright Valley Sediments as Potential Analogs for Martian Surface Processes. That work highlights comparisons of formation and salt accumulation processes at the Don Juan Pond and Don Quixote Pond in Antarctica’s Wright Valley.

Janice’s poster sessions are Combined VNIR and Raman Spectroscopy of the Atacama Salt Flats as a Potential Mars Analog, which investigates salt flats in the northern region of Chile’s Atacama Desert as an analog for Martian evaporites.

Also, Earth Rock Analogues for Martian Subsurface Processes, which presents analyses of the Paleoarchean Barberton greenstone belt of South Africa – some of the earliest rock records on Earth – as a potential analog for early processes on Mars. And A Hydrothermally Altered, Mn-incrusted Marine Sediment as an Analogue for Martian Deposits? Here she presents analyses of hydrothermally altered sediment from the Lesser Antilles that may be a reasonable process analog for the iron-rich clays on Mars.

Rosalba Bonaccorsi

Rosalba will be presenting a poster Hollow Nodules Gas Escape Sedimentary Structures in Lacustrine Deposits on Earth and Gale Crater. In a pond in Death Valley, her team observed the in-situ formation of hollow nodule sedimentary structures that are strikingly similar to those imaged by the Curiosity rover in Mars’ Gale Crater. These have implications for the production and release of gases (geological or biological) within the flooded sediment of the crater.

Michael Busch

Michael will be an author on two presentations. The first is Mission Designs for Demonstrating Gravity Tractor Asteroid Deflection, in which he describes the gravity tractor asteroid deflection work David Morrison, former SETI Institute director, and he did with the Mission Design Center at Ames and the NEOShield project.

The second is entitled High-Resolution Bistatic Radar Imaging of Near-Earth Asteroids in 2015 Using New Capabilities of Goldstone and Green Bank Telescopes. This is a review of results from the new transmitters and receivers that his radar team has brought on-line over the last two years.

Nathalie Cabrol

Nathalie will present an invited talk entitled Lakes on Early Mars: A Space-for-Time Substitution Experiment in which she offers perspective on the habitability and life potential of martian lakes.

Friedemann Freund

Friedemann’s group is presenting three posters:

Where did the Water in Earth’s Oceans Come from? This paper challenges the idea that, because there presumably wasn’t enough water in the early Earth’s mantle to fill the oceans, large-scale cometary impacts billions of years ago ferried in much of that water.

Determination of the Amount of Peroxy in Granite Using the Seebeck Effect. Granite, like any igneous rock, contains finite concentrations of peroxy defects in the matrix of its constituent minerals – long overlooked by the geoxcience and planetary science communities. These peroxy thermally break up, generating highly mobile electronic charge carriers that lead to a characteristic thermoelectric potential, from which the peroxy concentrations can be derived.

Pre-earthquake Magnetic Pulses. When rocks are stressed prior to earthquakes such as in the subduction of the Nazca Plate off the Pacific coast of South America, instabilities develop in the stressed rock volumes, leading to unipolar pulses, unique electromagnetic signals emitted off the coast of Peru from a depth range from 25 to 65 km.

David Hinson

Dave’s presentation is Radio Occultation Measurements of Pluto’s Atmosphere with New Horizons. He is reporting on detailed measurements of the temperature structure of Pluto's lower atmosphere.

Niki Parenteau

Niki will be giving a talk entitled Global Surface Photosynthetic Biosignatures Prior to the Rise of Oxygen. Her studies will help in the search for life on planets around other stars that resemble the early Earth – the billions of years during which there was life, but not yet oxygen in the atmosphere.

Matthew Tiscareno

Matt’s two presentations are: Enceladus’s Subsurface Sea is Part of Global Ocean As Shown by Measured Physical Libration, a description of the evidence for widespread liquid water under the icy shell of this Saturnian moon. In addition, he’ll be speaking on Mapping Spiral Waves and Other Radio Features in Saturn’s Rings, describing how he has compiled an atlas of features in Saturn’s rings using the best Cassini images.