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  • LPI Announces Planetary Science Summer Interns
    working one on one with scientists at the LPI and the NASA Johnson Space Center JSC on a project of current interest in planetary science This year s program will run from June 3 through August 9 The students below were selected from an applicant pool of more than 400 students and we welcome them to the LPI as they begin what promises to be a very rewarding summer For more information about the program visit the summer intern webpage Student Caitlin Marie Altomare Lafayette College Advisor David Kring LPI Student Christopher Michael Hoff University of Massachusetts Amherst Advisor John Jones JSC Student Michael Conner Bouchard Missouri University of Science and Technology Advisors Lee Graham and David Melendrez JSC Student Eva Fattah Lalor Temple University Advisor Virgil Buck Sharpton LPI Student Andrea Maxine Bruck Illinois State University Advisor Brad Sutter JSC Student Dayl Joseph Paul Martin University of Manchester UK Advisor Paul Spudis LPI Student Laura Michelle Dorley University of Hawaii Advisors Patrick McGovern and Georgiana Kramer LPI Student Mouna Petitjean Université Paris Sud France Advisor Stephen Clifford LPI Student Angela Maree Dapremont College of Charleston Advisor Carlton Allen JSC Student Alastair William Tait Monash University Australia Advisor Justin Simon

    Original URL path: http://www.lpi.usra.edu/features/interns2013/ (2016-02-15)
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  • NASA Helps See Buried Mars Flood Channels in 3-D
    Express by a team of scientists from NASA the Smithsonian Institution in Washington and the Southwest Research Institute in Boulder Our findings show the scale of erosion that created the channels previously was underestimated and the channel depth was at least twice that of previous approximations said Gareth Morgan a geologist at the National Air and Space Museum s Center for Earth and Planetary Studies in Washington and lead author on the paper This work demonstrates the importance of orbital sounding radar in understanding how water has shaped the surface of Mars The channels lie in Elysium Planitia an expanse of plains along the martian equator and the youngest volcanic region on the planet Extensive volcanism throughout the last several hundred million years covered most of the surface of Elysium Planitia and this buried evidence of Mars older geologic history including the source and most of the length of the 620 mile long 1000 kilometer long Marte Vallis channel system To probe the length width and depth of these underground channels the researchers used the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter s Shallow Radar SHARAD Marte Vallis morphology is similar to more ancient channel systems on Mars especially those of the Chryse basin Many scientists think the Chryse channels likely were formed by the catastrophic release of groundwater although others suggest lava can produce many of the same features In comparison little is known about Marte Vallis With the SHARAD radar the team was able to map the buried channels in three dimensions with enough detail to see evidence suggesting two different phases of channel formation One phase etched a series of smaller branching or anastomosing channels that are now on a raised bench next to the main channel These smaller channels flowed around four streamlined islands A second phase carved the deep

    Original URL path: http://www.lpi.usra.edu/features/mro/031113/ (2016-02-15)
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  • NASA’S Hubble Provides First Census of Galaxies Near Cosmic Dawn
    million years after the big bang The observations support the idea galaxies assembled continuously over time and also may have provided enough radiation to reheat or reionize the universe a few hundred million years after the theorized big bang Looking deeper into the universe also means peering further back in time The universe is estimated to be 13 7 billion years old The newly discovered galaxies are seen as they looked 350 to 600 million years after the big bang Their light is just arriving at Earth now Astronomers study the distant universe in near infrared light because the expansion of space stretches ultraviolet and visible light from galaxies into infrared wavelengths a phenomenon called redshift The more distant a galaxy the higher its redshift The greater depth of the new Hubble images together with a carefully designed survey strategy allows this work to go further than previous studies thereby providing what researchers say is the first reliable census of this epoch Notably one of the galaxies may be a distance record breaker observed 380 million years after the birth of our universe in the big bang corresponding to a redshift of 11 9 A major goal of the new program was to determine how rapidly the number of galaxies increases over time in the early universe This measure is the key evidence for how quickly galaxies build up their constituent stars Our study has taken the subject forward in two ways Ellis explained First we have used Hubble to make longer exposures The added depth is essential to reliably probe the early period of cosmic history Second we have used Hubble s available color filters very effectively to more precisely measure galaxy distances The team estimated the galaxy distances by studying their colors through a carefully chosen set of

    Original URL path: http://www.lpi.usra.edu/features/hubble/030113/ (2016-02-15)
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  • NASA and JPL Contribute to European Jupiter Mission
    the first time the underground structure of these tectonically complex and unique icy worlds JUICE will carry 11 experiments developed by scientific teams from 15 European countries the United States and Japan The spacecraft will orbit Jupiter for three years and travel past Callisto and Europa multiple times then orbit Ganymede a moon larger than the planet Mercury JUICE will conduct the first thorough exploration of Jupiter since NASA s Galileo mission from 1989 to 2003 By studying the Jupiter system JUICE will look to learn more about the formation and evolution of potentially habitable worlds in our solar system and beyond NASA is thrilled to collaborate with ESA on this exciting mission to explore Jupiter and its icy moons said John Grunsfeld NASA s associate administrator for science in Washington Working together with ESA and our other international partners is key to enabling future scientific progress in our quest to understand the cosmos The solar powered spacecraft will carry cameras and spectrometers a laser altimeter and an ice penetrating radar instrument The mission also will carry a magnetometer plasma and particle monitors and radio science hardware The spacecraft is scheduled to arrive at the Jupiter system in 2030 The selection of JUICE s instruments is a key milestone in ESA s flagship mission to the outer solar system which represents an unprecedented opportunity to showcase leading European technological and scientific expertise said Alvaro Gimenez Canete ESA s director of science and robotic exploration NASA invited researchers in 2012 to submit proposals for NASA provided instruments for the mission Nine were reviewed with one selected to fly NASA agreed to provide critical hardware for 2 of the 10 selected European led instruments NASA s total contribution to the JUICE mission is 100 million for design development and operation of the

    Original URL path: http://www.lpi.usra.edu/features/jupiter/juice/ (2016-02-15)
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  • David S. McKay, 1936–2013
    paper and related topics As a graduate student in geology at Rice University McKay was present at John F Kennedy s speech in 1962 announcing the goal of landing a man on the Moon within the decade Kennedy s speech inspired his interest in helping to train the Apollo astronauts in geology He was a chief trainer for Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin during their last geology field trip in West Texas On July 20 1969 McKay was the only geologist present in the Apollo Mission Control Room in Houston when Armstrong and Aldrin walked on the Moon McKay studied lunar dust since the return of the first Apollo 11 samples in 1969 and has contributed over 200 publications on this topic As a result of this effort McKay contributed major discoveries including the source of vapor deposition on lunar soil grains the formation of nanophase iron globules on lunar soil grains the processes on the Moon that contribute to grain size distribution and insight into space weathering and the chemically activated nature of in situ lunar dust McKay was honored by the International Astronomical Union IAU by having an asteroid named after him in 2002 His IAU citation mentions

    Original URL path: http://www.lpi.usra.edu/features/mckay/022213/ (2016-02-15)
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  • Curiosity Collects First Martian Bedrock Sample
    John Grunsfeld NASA associate administrator for the agency s Science Mission Directorate This is the biggest milestone accomplishment for the Curiosity team since the sky crane landing last August another proud day for America For the next several days ground controllers will command the rover s arm to carry out a series of steps to process the sample ultimately delivering portions to the instruments inside We commanded the first full depth drilling and we believe we have collected sufficient material from the rock to meet our objectives of hardware cleaning and sample drop off said Avi Okon drill cognizant engineer at NASA s Jet Propulsion Laboratory JPL Rock powder generated during drilling travels up flutes on the bit The bit assembly has chambers to hold the powder until it can be transferred to the sample handling mechanisms of the rover s Collection and Handling for In Situ Martian Rock Analysis CHIMRA device Before the rock powder is analyzed some will be used to scour traces of material that may have been deposited onto the hardware while the rover was still on Earth despite thorough cleaning before launch We ll take the powder we acquired and swish it around to scrub the internal surfaces of the drill bit assembly said JPL s Scott McCloskey drill systems engineer Then we ll use the arm to transfer the powder out of the drill into the scoop which will be our first chance to see the acquired sample Building a tool to interact forcefully with unpredictable rocks on Mars required an ambitious development and testing program said JPL s Louise Jandura chief engineer for Curiosity s sample system To get to the point of making this hole in a rock on Mars we made eight drills and bored more than 1200 holes in 20

    Original URL path: http://www.lpi.usra.edu/features/MSL/021513/ (2016-02-15)
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  • LPI Announces Career Development Award Winners
    application materials by a panel of planetary scientists and recipients will receive an 1000 00 travel stipend to help cover their expenses for attending the conference The 44th LPSC will be held at The Woodlands Waterway Marriott Hotel Convention Center in The Woodlands Texas Approximately 2000 participants from all over the world are expected to gather for the annual meeting which has gained the reputation of being the premiere gathering place for lunar and planetary scientists The meeting provides an invaluable opportunity for students not only to present their own research but also to hear and see firsthand the latest breaking results from other researchers in their field Opportunities are also provided for students to meet and network with an international group of distinguished researchers Congratulations to the 2013 recipients Kathleen Craft Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University United States Cassandra Marion The University of Western Ontario Canada Catherine Elder The University of Arizona United States Lujendra Ojha Georgia Institute of Technology United States Rebecca A Fischer The University of Chicago United States Annemarie Pickersgill The University of Western Ontario Canada Tanya Harrison The University of Western Ontario Canada Neeraj Srivastava Indian Institute of Technology Roorkee India Thomas S Kruijer

    Original URL path: http://www.lpi.usra.edu/features/cda_award/021513/ (2016-02-15)
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  • Applications Now Being Accepted for the Lunar Exploration Summer Intern Program
    LPI science staff and other collaborators to evaluate the best landing sites to address each of the NRC science priorities Over a five year period 2008 2012 the teams worked on that task and generated A Global Lunar Landing Site Study to Provide the Scientific Context for Exploration of the Moon This summer students will generate a detailed assessment of one or two high priority landing sites identified in that report This study will utilize the latest lunar data e g M3 LOLA LROC explore potential traverse routes and stations and identify hurdles that mission architects will need to address This program is open to graduate students in geology planetary science and related programs It is also open to undergraduates with at least 50 semester hours of credit in those fields so that they too can participate in lunar exploration activities The 10 week program runs from May 28 2013 through August 2 2013 Selected interns will receive a 5000 stipend to cover the costs associated with being in Houston for the duration of the program Additionally U S citizens will receive up to 1000 in travel expense reimbursement and foreign nationals will receive up to 1500 in travel expense

    Original URL path: http://www.lpi.usra.edu/features/lunar_interns/ (2016-02-15)
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