Department News

LPLC 2014

by Margaret Landis

Department News

LPLC 2014

by Margaret Landis

This year’s Lunar and Planetary Laboratory Conference (LPLC) was held August 21 and 22 in the Kuiper Space Sciences Building. Forty-seven talks and two posters were presented over the two days, culminating in a keynote talk by LPL's Dr. Travis Barman. The talk, titled "Imaging Exoplanets," described the science and technology of direct imaging extrasolar systems. A reception jointly hosted by LPL and Steward Observatory followed.

Five invited talks were given, with speakers from LPL, Steward Observatory, and the Department of Geosciences. Contributed talks also included speakers from College of Optical Sciences and the Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry.

A graduate student talk competition was held the first day of the conference, judged by Drs. Travis Barman, Joe Giacalone, and Ilaria Pascucci, with eleven LPL graduate students participating. James Keane won the award for Best Talk, with Sarah Morrison and Melissa Dykhuis receiving honorable mentions.

“It couldn’t have happened without some of the best organizers I’ve worked with,” said Michelle Thompson about her experience working with co-organizers, Kelly Miller and Margaret Landis.

Registration and abstracts for the 2015 LPLC will open late summer 2015.

The Art of Planetary Science Fall 2014

by Jamie Molaro

Department News

The Art of Planetary Science Fall 2014

by Jamie Molaro

This year's Art of Planetary Science exhibition, held October 17-19, 2014, was an astounding success! More than 90 artists and scientists participated (up fifty percent from last year), and the exhibition displayed over 200 pieces of artwork. A variety of mediums were represented, including paintings, drawings, digital prints, textiles, sculpture, glasswork, poetry, and film. A range of professional levels was also represented, from students in various planetary science undergraduate level courses, to professional artists who own their own galleries. Artists who participated were primarily local to Arizona, but some came from as far away as Tennessee and New York.The show went over an entire weekend this year, drawing a crowd over more than 800 visitors.The UA Astronomy Club also set up telescopes on the mall for stargazing during the opening night. By directly connecting potential buyers and sellers, many artists sold artwork at the event, resulting in ~$9000 worth of sales.

The response from the community has been overwhelmingly positive.Tucson is uniquely suited to bringing together the art and science communities to share and be inspired by what we do, and those communities have made it clear they would like to see this event become a fixture for art and education outreach. Overall, the success achieved by The Art of Planetary Science, even only in its second year, has really been inspiring to the organizers, the art community, and the general public. It has also put the Lunar and Planetary Laboratory in the spotlight for providing unique and quality science outreach.

This year, the Art of Planetary Science was run by graduate students Jamie Molaro, James Keane, Sarah Peacock, Hannah Tanquary, and Ethan Schaefer.They formed new collaborations with Flandrau Science Center, providing show-goers half off admission to the planetarium.They also held a pre-show event hosted by Borderlands Brewing Co. to help promote, and arranged for artwork from the show to be displayed at Biosphere 2 and Skybar, as well as at Craft Tucson and the Tucson Museum of Art’s Art on Tap: Art, Music, and Beer Fest. A subset of the artwork will also be displayed in the exhibit hall during the Division for Planetary Sciences 2014 Annual Meeting. The show was featured on the front page of the Arizona Daily Star, in The Daily Wildcat, UANow, and on the SideStreets Podcast.

A number of artists have generously donated work to the department, including Cui Jing (who won Best in Show), Barbara Penn, Dante Lauretta, Alex Harrison Parker, Philip Christensen, and Adrian Cornejo (who won second place in the Data category).Thanks to the support of Dr. Swindle and the department, additional equipment was purchased to extend the amount of art featured at the show, filling the Kuiper atrium as well as the fourth and fifth floors. Dr. Joe Spitale hand-made and donated the custom designed brackets used to hang the artwork. Funds were donated by the HiRISE and OSIRIS-REx teams, as well as the Space Imagery Center (SIC), to print spectacular spacecraft images for the show, which will be hung in LPL and the Drake Building. Maria Schuchardt in the SIC provided invaluable support in preparing for the event.The competition aspect of the exhibition was sponsored by a number of local businesses. Prizes were donated by Borderlands Brewing Co., Bookman’s, Arizona Art Supply, Biosphere 2, Flandrau Science Center and Planetarium, Pima Air and Space Museum, Posner's Art Store, Steward Observatory Mirror Laboratory, and The Loft Cinema. The competition was juried by Dr. Travis Barman, Dr. Renu Malhotra, and Teri Pursch.

Pictures and details of the Art of Planetary Science event are at https://www.lpl.arizona.edu/art/.

 

 

LPL Fieldtrip Spring 2014: Hawaii

Hawai`i
by Shane Byrne and Christopher Hamilton

Thanks to the generosity of donors, we were able to roam farther afield than usual this semester—much farther. The southwestern United States is gifted with exceptionally diverse geology, but there are some processes, such as active volcanism, that cannot be seen in our local area.

Department News

LPL Fieldtrip Spring 2014: Hawaii

Hawai`i
by Shane Byrne and Christopher Hamilton

Thanks to the generosity of donors, we were able to roam farther afield than usual this semester—much farther. The southwestern United States is gifted with exceptionally diverse geology, but there are some processes, such as active volcanism, that cannot be seen in our local area.

In May, we packed our bags for the Big Island of Hawai`i to take a look at some of the freshest and most diverse lava flows in the world. Usually we spend just 3–5 days on these trips, but this time we spent a full two weeks on the trip and we needed every day! This trip was especially well timed as Christopher Hamilton, a planetary volcanologist with ongoing fieldwork in Hawai`i, had just joined the LPL faculty and so was able to guide us through these sites.

Hawai`i is made up of several large shield volcanoes. We spent most of the trip on the Kīlauea Volcano on the south side of the island and its two rift zones. Much of the recent volcanic activity has been concentrated there in an area that is largely covered by Volcanoes National Park. We identified two field sites that we would spend three days each at: the Ka`u Desert and Mauna Ulu. Before we left, we spent a significant amount of time working in small groups on remote sensing datasets of these areas so that by the time we got there we had projects in mind and ideas to test. We were also able to piggy-back on Christopher’s other research projects and have access to equipment such as infrared radiometers, differential-GPS, and a terrestrial scanning LIDAR.

The Ka`u Desert is not really a desert in the southwestern sense of the word, as it rains there frequently. However, it is kept relatively free of vegetation by the corrosive fumes that are emitted by the Halema`uma`u Crater at the summit of Kīlauea. The plume of these fumes frequently sweeps back and forth across this area, so this is the only fieldtrip where we all carried respirators with us—luckily we did not need to use them. Each day’s work required hiking into the desert for about an hour from Hilina Pali Road. Many of our groups worked around the location of the fresh 1974 flow although one group drove further down this road to investigate fault scarps near Hilina Pali itself.

Manua Ulu is a shield volcano that had a major eruption in the 1960s. We visited the caldera itself on the first day and saw the location of perched lava ponds on its flanks. We walked the length of a major flow southward to where it intersected Chain of Craters road and passed several breached lava dams along the way. Most of the subsequent fieldwork that people did at this site was close to where this flow crossed the road. Further along Chain of Craters Road, a flow from another eruption has blocked the road entirely before entering the sea and is now a tourist attraction.

About half the trip was devoted to investigating these two sites; on the other days we had shorter visits to additional places of interest. Lava–seawater interactions lead to spectacular explosions and we saw the results of that in two locations. Fine-grained debris from these explosions piles up in littoral cones that later can be eroded away by the waves. One of these cones is so rich in the mineral olivine that the sand on the adjoining beach is green. Another beach we visited had the more common black sand, which is basically the volcanic rock basalt that has been mechanically pounded into small pieces. Although it is not widespread on the Earth, this black sand is quite similar to the sand we see commonly on Mars. The staff at the Hawai`i Volcano Observatory also gave us a great tour and talked to us about Kīlauea and Kīlauea Iki. We had a chance to walk through the Kīlauea Iki caldera, which hosted a lava lake during an eruption in 1959. There’s still a hot heat under the surface—fissures there continue to vent steam 55 years after the eruption.

For some non-geologic planetary science, we visited the summit of Mauna Kea and thanks to the generosity of the IRTF staff had a tour of their telescope. After seeing a beautiful sunset from the summit we had a great time at a star party held in the visitors’ center at lower elevation.

Most volcanism on Earth is related to tectonic plate boundaries and is not the best analog for volcanism on planets that lack plate tectonics. Hawaiian volcanism, on the other hand, occurs in the center of the pacific plate and forms a great planetary analog. Lots of people vacation in Hawai`i, but few have the chance to dig into the geology like this. It was an extraordinary trip to a truly unique environment that we will all remember.

LPL fieldtrippers at the top of Mauna Kea

OSIRIS-REx Asteroid Time Capsule

From September 2 to September 30, the OSIRIS-REx asteroid sample return mission and The Planetary Society collected tweets and images as part of the Asteroid Time Capsule Campaign, which invited the public to tweet or post an image on Instagram (with hashtag #astero

Department News

OSIRIS-REx Asteroid Time Capsule

From September 2 to September 30, the OSIRIS-REx asteroid sample return mission and The Planetary Society collected tweets and images as part of the Asteroid Time Capsule Campaign, which invited the public to tweet or post an image on Instagram (with hashtag #asteroidmission) to answer the question: Where are we now and where will we be in 2023 in Solar System exploration? Top tweets and images will be etched on the silicon wafer, which will be placed in the Sample Return Capsule (SRC). An identical wafer will be placed on the spacecraft. All entries will be archived in a virtual Time Capsule kept at the University of Arizona and scheduled to be opened in 2023. More information about the mission, ways to get involved, and the campaign is available at asteroidmission.org. This campaign served as a complement to Messages to Bennu, which collected participant names for a ride on the spacecraft.

 

Donors to LPL

In previous LPL newsletters, we have acknowledged some of the major donors to LPL, but we wanted to publicly acknowledge all of our generous donors who have helped make many things possible, ranging from the LPL field trips to the Lunar and Planetary Laboratory Conference, to The Art of Planetary Science.This list is for support in 2013 and 2014. If you should be on this list but are not, please let us know. And if you haven’t donated before, please consider it. Even small gifts can be of major help for specific projects.

Department News

Donors to LPL

In previous LPL newsletters, we have acknowledged some of the major donors to LPL, but we wanted to publicly acknowledge all of our generous donors who have helped make many things possible, ranging from the LPL field trips to the Lunar and Planetary Laboratory Conference, to The Art of Planetary Science.This list is for support in 2013 and 2014. If you should be on this list but are not, please let us know. And if you haven’t donated before, please consider it. Even small gifts can be of major help for specific projects.

Donors of funds for various purposes include:

David and Teresa Acklam, Kathi Baker, Bill Bottke, Dan Cavanagh, David Choi, Serina Diniega, Brad Hauert, Kelly Kolb, Simon Kregar, Brad Lloyd, Laura McGill, Caroline Pyevich, Jani Radebaugh, Tim and Jane Reckart, John Reidy, Andy Rivkin, Michelle Rouch, Tim Swindle, Matt Tiscareno, and Laurel Wilkening.

Donors of funds for Galileo Circle Scholarships for LPL students include:

Charles and Karen Autrey, Arch and Lura Brown, Herb and Sylvia Burton, Susan Butler, Don and Barbara Carrig, Philip and Jane Lacovara, Bob and Judy Logan, Jane McCollum (Marshall Foundation), Laura and Jim McGill, Bernie Merwald, and John Wahl and Mary Lou Forier.

Donors of other gifts (including meteorites, art work, and prizes for the art show) include:

Leif Abrell, Madeline Blank, Adam Block, Suzanne Bloomfield, Veronica Bray, Dick Brown, Eric Christensen, Phil Christensen, Lexi Coburn, Adrian Cornejo, Marilynn Flynn, Leontine Greenberg, Dolores Hill, James Keane, Simon Kregar, Carol Kucera, Sarah Kucerova, Tad Lamb, Margaret Landis, Dante Lauretta, Juan Lora, Renu Malhotra, Jamie Molaro, Marty Mongan, Janelle Montenegro, Amy Robertson, Tad Sallee, Henry Sarnoff, Xeni Schiller, Jess Vriesema, Ray Watts, Tom Zega, and Rob Zellem.

Thanks to all our donors!

Timothy D. Swindle, Ph.D.
Department Head and Laboratory Director

Shirley Curson, 1923-2014

Mrs. Shirley D. Curson-Weiss, friend and benefactor of LPL and the University of Arizona, died on April 21, 2014. Shirley (born Shandel Dauber) led a full, active life of travel and community involvement. She encouraged everyone, especially young people, to travel as part of the educational experience.

Department News

Shirley Curson, 1923-2014

Mrs. Shirley D. Curson-Weiss, friend and benefactor of LPL and the University of Arizona, died on April 21, 2014. Shirley (born Shandel Dauber) led a full, active life of travel and community involvement. She encouraged everyone, especially young people, to travel as part of the educational experience. To this end, she funded Shandel travel awards in several departments and colleges, including LPL, Journalism, and Fine Arts. Shirley generously supported other university groups as well and established the Shirley Curson Fund for Arizona Public Media. The 1774 Lepaute clock in the Kuiper Space Sciences building atrium is a gift of Mrs. Curson.

Gerry Neugebauer, 1932-2014

Dr. Gerry Neugebauer, the husband of LPL Affiliate Research Scientist Marcia Neugebauer, passed away on September 26, after a long illness. Gerry earned a Ph.D. in physics from Caltech in 1960, after which he served two years in the army, stationed at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. When he returned to Caltech, he joined forces with Bob Leighton to build a simple infrared telescope and conduct the first all-sky survey in the infrared. He established one of the two leading programs that pioneered infrared astronomy.

Department News

Gerry Neugebauer, 1932-2014

Dr. Gerry Neugebauer, the husband of LPL Affiliate Research Scientist Marcia Neugebauer, passed away on September 26, after a long illness. Gerry earned a Ph.D. in physics from Caltech in 1960, after which he served two years in the army, stationed at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. When he returned to Caltech, he joined forces with Bob Leighton to build a simple infrared telescope and conduct the first all-sky survey in the infrared. He established one of the two leading programs that pioneered infrared astronomy. Among many accomplishments, the program Neugebauer started revealed a number of extreme infrared-emitting stars (through the 2-micron sky survey), discovered the Center of the Milky Way, found the first protostar (the Becklin-Neugebauer Object), and led in the development of techniques for improved near-infrared measurements. He also led the science team for the Infrared Astronomical Satellite (IRAS). After retiring in 1998, Gerry and Marcia moved to Academy Village in Tucson, and Marcia became active in the Solar & Heliospheric research group at LPL, while Gerry was affiliated with Steward Observatory until his health began to fail. Gerry received the Space Science Award from the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, and the Herschel Medal of the Royal Astronomical Society in Britain, of which he was a member. He was also a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the American Philosophical Society and the American Academy of Arts and
Sciences.

 

Recent PTYS/LPL Graduates

Ingrid Daubar

Department News

Recent PTYS/LPL Graduates

Ingrid Daubar

Tiffany Kataria

Juan Lora

Congratulations to Ingrid Daubar, Tiffany Kataria, and Juan Lora, LPL's most recent Ph.D. graduates!

On August 28, Ingrid Daubar defended her dissertation titled, "New Dated Craters on Mars and the Moon: Studies of the Freshest Craters in the Solar System." Ingrid's advisor was Professor Alfred McEwen. She will soon begin a NASA Postdoctoral Program appointment at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

Tiffany Kataria defended her dissertation on August 22. Her advisor was Professor Adam Showman and her dissertation was titled, "Atmospheric Circulation of Hot Jupiters and Super Earths." Tiffany began a postdoctoral appointment as Research Fellow at the University of Exeter Department of Physics and Astronomy this fall, 2014.

Juan Lora, recipient of the 2014 Gerard P. Kuiper Memorial Award, defended on June 20. The dissertation is titlted, "Radiation and Dynamics in Titan's Atmosphere: Investigations of Titan's Present and Past Climate." Juan was advised by Dr. Joellen Russell. He is now a Postdoctoral Scholar with the Department of Earth, Planetary, and Space Sciences at UCLA.

Welcome Incoming 2014/2015 Graduate Students

Hamish Hay; MSci Geophysics, Imperial College London; interests in planetary interiors/dynamics; impact cratering, numerical modeling

Department News

Welcome Incoming 2014/2015 Graduate Students

Hamish Hay; MSci Geophysics, Imperial College London; interests in planetary interiors/dynamics; impact cratering, numerical modeling

Daniel Lo; B.S. in Planetary Sciences, B.S. in Physics, California Institute of Technology; interests in planetary surfaces, atmospheres, Mars.

Joshua LothringerB.A. in Astronomy (emphasis in Astrophysics), University of Colorado, Boulder; interests in extrasolar planets and their atmospheres.

Alessondra SpringmannM.S. in Earth and Planetary Science, Massachusetts Institute of Technology; B.A. in Astrophyiscs, Wellesley; interests in small bodies, theoretical modeling, mission planning.

Shane StoneM.Sc. in Chemistry, UCLA; B.Sc. in Chemistry, University of Texas at Dallas; interests in extrasolar planets.

Get to Know a Staff Scientist: Erich Karkoschka

Senior Staff Scientist Erich Karkoschka began his career at LPL in 1983 as a graduate student working with advisor Dr. Martin Tomasko.

Department News

Get to Know a Staff Scientist: Erich Karkoschka

Senior Staff Scientist Erich Karkoschka began his career at LPL in 1983 as a graduate student working with advisor Dr. Martin Tomasko. He defended his dissertation, "Saturn's atmoshpere in the visible and near infrared, 1986-1989," in 1990.

Erich has observed the giant planets and Titan on telescopes around Tucson and in Chile, and using the Hubble Space Telescope, in order to understand the structures of their atmospheres. From this work he determined the vertical and horizontal distribution of hazes, clouds, and methane, and refined the methane absorption spectrum in the process. Using Voyager 2 images of Uranus and Neptune decades after the fly-bys, Erich discovered a satellite (S/1986 U 10, later named Perdita) and revealed peculiar rotation of parts of their atmospheres. Before the launch of the Cassini-Huygens spacecraft in 1997, he helped Martin Tomasko, the principal investigator of the Descent Imager/Spectral Radiometer, to optimize the instrument. After DISR collected data during the descent in Titan's atmosphere in 2005, Erich helped to interpret even the smallest anomalies in the data.

In his free time, Erich enjoys sharing his enthusiasm for astronomy with the public using his telescopes.

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