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  • Public Lecture on Thursday, April 23
    Thursday April 23 is part of the Cosmic Exploration Speaker Series at the Lunar and Planetary Institute LPI as we celebrate the International Year of Astronomy Spudis a senior staff scientist at the LPI is leading some of the current international efforts to understand the Moon s evolution including the mini RF imaging radar on the Indian Chandrayaan 1 mission to the Moon currently mapping permanently dark regions of the Moon s poles and searching for evidence of water ice deposits Spudis will share the latest results of the current missions at the Moon and describe how anticipated and surprising findings are changing the way we see the Moon Spudis research focuses on the geological history and evolution of the Moon and processes of impact and volcanism that have shaped its surface He has served on multiple teams to devise scientific strategies of lunar exploration including a White House panel that in 1990 1991 analyzed a return to the Moon to establish a base and the first human mission to Mars LPI s Cosmic Exploration presentation begins at 7 30 p m and will be followed by a light reception No reservation is necessary and all interested adults are welcome

    Original URL path: http://www.lpi.usra.edu/features/speakerseries/spudis/ (2016-02-15)
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  • Celebrate Apollo: NASA Commemorates the 40th Anniversary
    Moon landing on July 20 The events will celebrate the Apollo program its accomplishments and the benefits to our lives today Celebrate Apollo Exploring the Moon Discovering Earth is an effort to engage the public and disseminate information about NASA s historic current and future missions Several items have been developed to aid the celebration including an Apollo 40th anniversary logo calendar of events and website The site NASA developed specifically for the Apollo 40th anniversary includes the special anniversary logo an interactive feature about Moon Trees grown from seeds that flew on the Apollo 14 mission and a First Footprints toolkit for use throughout the anniversary which includes downloadable videos images and events listings The official Apollo 40th anniversary website is located at www nasa gov apollo40th NASA s Apollo missions website provides easy access to various NASA resources and multimedia about the Apollo story the program and the history of human spaceflight including gallery of images from the Apollo program The Apollo site is online at www nasa gov apollo NASA also has developed an interactive Apollo program feature On the anniversary of each Apollo mission NASA posts a new feature that allows users to relive each mission

    Original URL path: http://www.lpi.usra.edu/features/apolloAnn/ (2016-02-15)
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  • LPI Unveils New Additions to Lunar Science and Exploration Website
    new tool for scientists to study the geology of the lunar surface It also provides a new tool for mission planners who need to select landing sites and design robotic and crew traverses The atlas is being initiated with three flyovers and will grow as new missions provide additional data 2 The Lunar Impact Crater Database which is a GIS compatible database with nearly 9000 lunar impact craters Information about the size and location of each crater is integrated with calculations of impact related physical parameters and when available the age of the crater This database of real lunar craters complements our existing Lunar Impact Cratering tool which provides students an opportunity to create their own lunar impact craters 3 Lunar and Planetary Science Conference Abstracts Online versions of the abstracts published between 1971 and 1996 the famous yellow tomes are now available which doubles the number of abstracts available and brings the total to nearly 50 000 two and three page papers 4 The Database of Lunar Spacecraft Instruments which provides a list of lunar instruments and a search engine that can be used to sort specific types of instruments and their measurement capabilities This site augments our existing

    Original URL path: http://www.lpi.usra.edu/features/clse/ (2016-02-15)
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  • KAGUYA (“SELENE”) Subsatellite Separation
    be a part of something so meaningful to the human race Kepler will help us understand if our Earth is unique or if others like it are out there Engineers acquired a signal from Kepler at 12 11 a m Saturday after it separated from its spent third stage rocket and entered its final Sun centered orbit trailing 950 miles behind Earth The spacecraft is generating its own power from its solar panels Kepler now has the perfect place to watch more than 100 000 stars for signs of planets said William Borucki the mission s science principal investigator at NASA s Ames Research Center Borucki has worked on the mission for 17 years Everyone is very excited as our dream becomes a reality We are on the verge of learning if other Earths are ubiquitous in the galaxy Engineers have begun to check Kepler to ensure it is working properly a process called commissioning that will take about 60 days In about a month or less NASA will send up commands for Kepler to eject its dust cover and make its first measurements After another month of calibrating Kepler s single instrument a wide field charge couple device camera the telescope will begin to search for planets The first planets to roll out on the Kepler assembly line are expected to be the portly hot Jupiters gas giants that circle close and fast around their stars NASA s Hubble and Spitzer space telescopes will be able to follow up with these planets and learn more about their atmospheres Neptune sized planets will most likely be found next followed by rocky ones as small as Earth The true Earth analogs Earth sized planets orbiting stars like our Sun at distances where surface water and possibly life could exist would take

    Original URL path: http://www.lpi.usra.edu/features/kepler/ (2016-02-15)
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  • Mountain on Mars May Answer Big Question
    go at the end of a paper In modeling the formation of Olympus Mons with an algorithm known as particle dynamics simulation McGovern and Morgan determined that only the presence of ancient clay sediments could account for the volcano s asymmetric shape The presence of sediment indicates water was or is involved Olympus Mons is tall standing almost 15 miles high and slopes gently from the foothills to the caldera a distance of more than 150 miles That shallow slope is a clue to what lies beneath said the researchers They suspect if they were able to stand on the northwest side of Olympus Mons and start digging they d eventually find clay sediment deposited there billions of years ago before the mountain was even a molehill The European Space Agency s Mars Express spacecraft has in recent years found abundant evidence of clay on Mars This supports a previous theory that where Olympus Mons now stands a layer of sediment once rested that may have been hundreds of meters thick Morgan and McGovern show in their computer models that volcanic material was able to spread to Olympus sized proportions because of the clay s friction reducing effect a phenomenon also seen at volcanos in Hawaii What may be trapped underneath is of great interest said the researchers Fluids embedded in an impermeable pressurized layer of clay sediment would allow the kind of slipping motion that would account for Olympus Mons spread out northeast flank and they may still be there Thanks to NASA s Phoenix lander which scratched through the surface to find ice underneath the red dust last year scientists now know there s water on Mars So Morgan and McGovern feel it s reasonable to suspect water may be trapped in pores in the sediment underneath the

    Original URL path: http://www.lpi.usra.edu/features/marsMountain/ (2016-02-15)
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  • IAU Formally Adopts Name for Haskin Crater
    Tucumán in 1967 and a Ph D from the Catholic University of America in 1974 Acuña joined the staff of NASA Goddard in the early 1970s first working as a research scientist in the Space Plasmas and Planetary Magnetospheres Branches and then as a Senior Astrophysicist He was a major pioneer in the field of planetary magnetism and an original co investigator on the MESSENGER mission from the time of the team s first proposal 13 years ago Acuña was a principal investigator on experiments flown on numerous missions over the years from the Pioneer 11 Fluxgate Magnetometer Experiment in 1973 to the Mars Global Surveyor Magnetic Field Experiment in 1994 He was also the recipient of many professional awards including the Moe Schneebaum Memorial Award the highest engineering award at Goddard the NASA Exceptional Scientific Achievement Medal and the NASA Distinguished Service Medal Acuña passed away in the comfort of his home surrounded by his family and loved ones He leaves a devoted wife Barbara sons Jamie Andrew and Daniel daughter Marta and five grandchildren with more on the way He passed peacefully content with all that life afforded him His loss will be deeply felt by all who

    Original URL path: http://www.lpi.usra.edu/features/MarioAcuna/ (2016-02-15)
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  • LPI Career Development Award Recipients Announced
    LPSC which has gained the reputation of being the premiere gathering place for scientists in this field The meeting provides an invaluable opportunity for students not only to present their own research but also to hear and see first hand 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 2009 recipients Paul Byrne Trinity College Tomas Kohout University of Helsinki Colin Dundas University of Arizona Anna Losiak Michigan State University Itay Halevy Harvard University Nancy McKeown University of California Santa Cruz Christa Hasenkopf University of Colorado Michael Poelchau Museum für Naturkunde Briony Horgan Cornell University Rachel Smith University of California Los Angeles Matthew Izawa University of Western Ontario The LPI maintains a highly focused education effort chartered to engage excite and educate the public about lunar and planetary science and invests in the development of future generations of scientists The LPI Career Development Award has been provided from the generous endowments that the LPI has received over the past year from those in the community who are equally committed to the education of students in lunar and planetary science

    Original URL path: http://www.lpi.usra.edu/features/cda_award/2009/recipients.shtml (2016-02-15)
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  • Canada's New Government Appoints New President to the Canadian Space Agency
    it first Comet Lulin named after the observatory in Taiwan where the discovery photo was taken is now approaching Earth It is a green beauty that could become visible to the naked eye any day now says Ye The comet makes its closest approach to Earth 0 41 AU on February 24 2009 Current estimates peg the maximum brightness at 4th or 5th magnitude which means dark country skies would probably be required to see it No one can say for sure however because this appears to be Lulin s first visit to the inner solar system and its first exposure to intense sunlight Surprises are possible Lulin s green color comes from the gases that make up its Jupiter sized atmosphere Jets spewing from the comet s nucleus contain cyanogen CN a poisonous gas found in many comets and diatomic carbon C2 Both substances glow green when illuminated by sunlight in the near vacuum of space In 1910 many people panicked when astronomers revealed Earth would pass through the cyanogen rich tail of Comet Halley It was a false alarm however The wispy tail of the comet couldn t penetrate Earth s dense atmosphere and even it if had penetrated there wasn t enough cyanogen to cause real trouble Comet Lulin will cause even less trouble than Halley did At closest approach in late February Lulin will stop 38 million miles short of Earth utterly harmless To see Comet Lulin with your own eyes those in the U S should set their alarms for 3 00 a m The comet rises a few hours before the Sun and may be found about one third of the way up the southern sky before dawn As the comet makes it closest approach to Earth Lulin will lie just a few degrees

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