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Department of Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences

The Department of Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences has a great diversity of programs and intersecting disciplines, with faculty and students studying in fields such as Tectonics, Geophysics, Atmospheric Dynamics and Chemistry, Environmental Sciences, Biogeochemistry, Climate Change, Severe Weather, Planetary Sciences, Astrobiology, Data Science, and many other areas. We are committed to strategic initiatives in Diversity and Inclusion, Education, Interconnections between the Earth’s interior and surface, climate and sustainability, planetary exploration and spacecraft missions, and the development of emerging fields of study.

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Enhanced Geothermal, Offshore Wind Energy Gain Earthshot™ Support at PNNL

PNNL LABS — To support DOE’s Energy Earthshots™, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) will lead two separate Energy Earthshot Research Centers (EERCs). The Center for Understanding Subsurface Signals and Permeability (CUSSP) will advance enhanced geothermal systems with the goal of making them a widely accessible and reliable source of renewable energy. Dr. Laura Pyrak-Nolte, of Purdue University EAPS, will serve as the Deputy Director of and perform research for the EERC Center for CUSSP.

NSF award creates new center to study subduction earthquakes and associated hazards

NSF has recently announced a $15 million grant to support the creation of the Cascadia Region Earthquake Science Center (CRESCENT). This center, which will be devoted to understanding earthquake and earthquake-related hazards along the subduction margin of the Pacific Northwest in the United States. The CRESCENT headquarters is located within the University of Oregon but includes scientists from 14 universities across the United States, the US Geological Survey, the Earthscope NSF Facility, along with various stakeholders and policy makers in the Pacific Northwest region. Dr. Jonathan Delph, of Purdue EAPS, will be a senior member of the “Cascadia Velocity Model.”

Asteroid pieces could offer insights into the start of life on Earth, according to Purdue scientist

WBAA — A seven-year mission to collect pieces of an ancient asteroid ended on Sunday when a capsule carrying rock fragments touched down in a Utah desert. Purdue University scientist, Dr. Michelle Thompson, will be part of the team analyzing pieces of the celestial rock.

No, the OSIRIS-REx probe will not bring back asteroid space 'germs'

SPACE — Twelve years after OSIRIS-REx was chosen to be NASA's ambitious asteroid-sampling endeavor, the mission's probe is set to deliver more than 2 ounces (60 grams) of material from a space rock named Bennu on Sunday morning. "We won't find life itself, but we're definitely looking at the building blocks that could have eventually evolved into life," Michelle Thompson, who is an associate professor in Purdue University's College of Science and one of the six lead investigators who will get a first peek at the asteroid sample.

Special delivery! Biggest-ever haul of asteroid dust and rock returns to Earth

NATURE — A saucer-shaped capsule parachuted down gently in the Utah desert today, after a years-long journey through space. Its cargo is a precious collection of rocks and dust from the asteroid Bennu — the first time NASA has ever brought pieces of this type of celestial object back to Earth. Over the coming days, NASA will fly the bits of Bennu to the Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas. There, curators will carefully disassemble the container and begin analysing the chemistry and mineralogy of the pristine samples — which might hold clues to the origins of the Solar System. “I feel like a kid on Christmas Eve who is just too excited to go to sleep,” says Michelle Thompson, a planetary scientist at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana, and a member of the ‘quick look’ team who will have the first chance to study the rocks.

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Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences, 550 Stadium Mall Drive, West Lafayette, IN 47907-2051 • Phone: (765) 494-3258 • Fax: (765) 496-1210 • Contact Us

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