LPL Newsletter: June 2019

Saturday, June 1, 2019

Often, a lot of painstaking work has to go on before an exciting discovery is made. This month’s newsletter highlights two aspects of that discovery process. One story is about the movement of sand dunes on Mars. They’re slow, but they’re moving, which is an important discovery, and one that would not have been made without the treasure trove of high-resolution images from HiRISE. The second news item highlights a much earlier stage in the discovery process—the OSIRIS-REx team is planning on taking a sample of the asteroid Bennu in a little more than a year, and has generated a huge amount of data about the surface of that near-Earth asteroid. Now they need to interpret all that data, and are turning to a method whose value has become increasingly clear in recent years: crowdsourcing the problem with citizen scientists.

These stories about current LPL science represent only some of the outstanding research conducted by LPL scientists over its nearly sixty-year history. The Lunar and Planetary Laboratory's foundational science was lunar mapping and research, which directly supported the Apollo program. For that reason, LPL is especially looking forward to celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon landing on July 20 with the community of Tucson. We are hosting a Summer Science Saturday event dedicated to lunar research—past, present, and future. Also on July 20, Flandrau Science Center and Planetarium will provide special Apollo programming and the UA Special Collections Library will open a wonderfully curated Moon exhibit, which will showcase materials from the Ewen Whitaker collection, in addition to other exhibits and activities related to lunar science. Check back regularly with the Flandrau Science Center events page for a list of UA and Tucson events. LPL is also co-sponsoring other events on campus and in and around Tucson; our faculty, students, and staff will be sharing the experiences and research at events through the end of the year. We hope that, no matter where you are, you will take the opportunity to remember and to celebrate the Apollo 11 anniversary.

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Director and Department Head

On Mars, Sands Shift to a Different Drum

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

In the most detailed analysis of how sands move around on Mars, a team of planetary scientists led by the UA found that processes not involved in controlling sand movement on Earth play major roles on Mars.

Volunteers Needed to Help OSIRIS-REx Map Bennu's Boulders!

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Citizen scientists assemble! NASA’s OSIRIS-REx mission to the asteroid Bennu needs extra pairs of eyes to help choose its sample collection site on the asteroid–and to look for anything else that might be scientifically interesting.