Monthly Digest June, 2014

photo of Verde Blanca LagoonAstrobiologists Observe Dangerous Levels Of Solar Ultraviolet
An international research team led by the SETI Institute’s Nathalie Cabrol has measured the highest level of solar ultraviolet ever recorded on Earth.

photo of matija cukMatija Cuk Wins Prestigious Urey Prize
SETI Institute scientist Matija Cuk has received the highest honor for a young planetary scientist from the American Astronomical Society.

image of clockBig Picture Science Radio Show—Deep Time
It’s hard to fathom such enormous stretches of time, yet to understand the evolution of the cosmos—and our place in it—your mind needs to grasp the deep meaning of eons.

illustration of planetoid colliding with early EarthTerrestrial planet atmospheres in the aftermath of giant impacts
The final assembly of terrestrial planets is now universally thought to have occurred through a series of giant impacts, such as Earth's own Moon-forming impact.

Gemini Planet imager instrumentThe Gemini Planet Imager initial performance and data analysis
The Gemini Planet Imager (GPI) is a dedicated facility for directly imaging and spectroscopically characterizing extrasolar planets.

Jill Tarter in officeJill Tarter Awarded the 2014 Jansky Lectureship
The National Radio Astronomy Observatory has selected Jill Tarter to present the 49th annual Jansky Lecture.

Jill TarterJill Tarter: The Secret Life of Scientists & Engineers
Jill Tarter is featured on Nova's popular series of short, web-exclusive videos.

engineers in labInvention for Sampling Mars is honored by NASA
The CheMin (Chemistry and Mineralogy) instrument developed at NASA’s Ames Research Center with the participation of two SETI Institute scientists, has just garnered the NASA Government Invention of the Year Award.

asteroidLife on the Billionth Rock from the Sun
Asteroids hold the answer to a perennial puzzle about the formation of planets. In particular, how do specks of senseless debris organize themselves into balls of rock and vapor?

exoplanetsPlanet Bonanza Hints at Worlds Similar to Our Own (Press Release)
A team of astronomers at the SETI Institute and NASA Ames Research Center have used data from NASA’s Kepler space telescope to uncover 715 new exoplanets.

Frank DrakeFrank Drake featured in National Geographic magazine
The July issue of National Geographic magazine documents the growth of astrobiology, its early history, and some of Frank Drake’s significant contributions to the field.

Archeology, Anthropology and Interstellar Communications book coverArchaeology, Anthropology, and Interstellar Communication reviewed in New Yorker
The contributors to this collection raise questions that may have been overlooked by physical scientists about the ease of establishing meaningful communication with an extraterrestrial intelligence.

Washington DCCongressional hearing on SETI research in the news
Seth Shostak, senior astronomer with the SETI Institute, testified at a 21 May congressional hearing held by the House of Representatives' Committee on Science, Space, and Technology.

Peter JenniskensSETI Institute Scientist, Peter Jenniskens, Observed a Meteor Shower from Above the Clouds (Update)
This Camelopardalid meteor with wake was filmed by Peter Jenniskens from an altitude of 26,000 ft during the SETI Institute airborne campaign.

David DavilaMeet Our Scientists - Alfonso Davila
Alfonso F. Davila, a research scientist at the SETI Institute and the NASA Ames Research Center in California since 2009, has substantial experience in Earth and Planetary sciences.

Cynthia PhillipsMeet Our Scientists - Cynthia-Phillips
An expert in processing spacecraft images of the planets, Cynthia Phillips is particularly interested in the search for active geological processes on such worlds as Mars, Europa, Io, and Enceladus.

Pillow with world map embroideryBig Picture Science Radio Show: Time for a Map
It’s hard to get lost these days. GPS pinpoints your location to within a few feet. Discover how our need to get from A to B holds clues about what makes us human, and what we lose now that every digital map puts us at the center.

machineBig Picture Science Radio Show: What do you Make of It?
You are surrounded by products. Most of them, factory-made. Yet there was a time when building things by hand was commonplace, and if something stopped working, you jumped into the garage and fixed it.

skeptical babyBig Picture Science Radio Show: Check the Skeptics
One day, coffee is good for you; the next, it’s not. And it seems that everything you eat is linked to cancer, according to research. But scientific studies are not always accurate.

underwater probeBig Picture Science Radio Show: Apt to Adapt
If you move with the times, you might stick around long enough to pass on your genes. And that is adaptation and evolution, in a nutshell.

satellite impacting asteroidEjecta from Impacts: New Experiments and Insight from Missions
This talk will present results from new temporally-resolved impact experiments conducted at the NASA Ames Vertical Gun Range, and will discuss applications to cratering on planetary surfaces and impact missions.

James Hartle and Stephen HawkingThe Quantum Origin of The Universe
If the whole universe obeys the laws of quantum mechanics then the universe has a quantum state — a wave function of the universe. This state specifies how the universe started at the big bang. It provides quantum probabilities for everything that happened since.

Mars, Phobos, DeimosMISSION TO PHOBOS AND DEIMOS: Exploring the Moons of Mars
After five decades of spacecraft exploration of the Solar System, the origin of two moons of Mars, Phobos and Deimos, remains a perplexing mystery.

Red Dragon capsuleRed Dragon: Low Cost Access to the Surface of Mars using Commercial Capabilities
One of Ames' long standing science interests has been to robotically drill deeply into Mars' subsurface environment to investigate the habitability of that zone for past or extant life.

VenusVenus in UV
Hubble captured this amazing image of Venus in 1995. Venus is covered with clouds made of sulfuric acid, rather than the water-vapor clouds found on Earth.

EnceladusEnceladus and Titan
The brightly reflective moon Enceladus appears before Saturn's rings while the larger moon Titan looms in the distance.

colliding galaxiesWhen galaxies collide
When galaxy clusters crash, light warps and particles fly. New observations of a behemoth collision reveal extreme physical forces at work.

3d printerMade in Space
A 3-D printer intended for the International Space Station has passed its NASA certifications with flying colors — earning the device a trip to space this August.

Kapteyn's starKapteyn's Star's planets in the habitable zone
Astronomers have discovered two new planets orbiting a very old star that is near to our own sun.