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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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EAPS graduate student Dara Laczniak receives multiple awards for planetary science research

Dara Laczniak, a fourth-year PhD candidate in planetary science, had an award-winning summer. She received a 2021 Amelia Earhart Fellowship from Zonta International, a 2021 NASA FINESST Fellowship, and the Meteoritical Society’s 2021 Wiley Award that recognizes outstanding graduate student talks at the annual Meteoritical Society Meeting.

Studying Moon volcanoes to find breathable air and fuel for lunar bases

Volcanic eruptions are a breathtaking demonstration of the power and forces that lie beneath the surface of a planet. Volcanoes erupt molten magma from a planet’s interior, and can gush to produce lava flows or explode to create ash. Volcanic eruptions and deposits can tell us about the interiors of planets — how they formed, their structure, and their composition. Check out Dr. Briony Horgan's first-person account of lunar research on this article.

Perseverance’s first major successes on Mars – an update from mission scientists

In the short time since NASA’s Perseverance rover landed in Mars’ Jezero Crater on Feb. 18, 2021, it’s already made history. At the moment, Mars and the Earth are on opposite sides of the Sun, and the two planets cannot communicate with each other. After working nonstop for the past 216 Martian days, the science teams are taking the first real break since the mission started. We are two members of the Perseverance team, and with the rover hunkered down for the 20 days of conjunction, it is the perfect time to step back and reflect on the mission thus far. This Conversation piece was created by Dr. Briony Horgan, EAPS, and Dr. Melissa Rice, Western Washington University.

A Mars Rover Explored a Wasteland and Found an Oasis

Millions of miles away, on the surface of Mars, inside an enormous crater, a little NASA rover is taking some pictures. The view is quite stunning there—miles of undisturbed cinnamon terrain scattered with pebbles and boulders, with silky dunes where the craggy bedrock doesn’t peek through. But when the rover, named Perseverance, sent the photos back home from the crater, known as Jezero, scientists saw something more. Dr. Briony Horgan is cited in this article from The Atlantic.

Professor Ernest Agee- A Golden Academic Adventure

On September 30, 2021, Professor Ernest Agee delivered a lecture titled "A Golden Academic Adventure." Agee is now a Professor Emeritus who joined Purdue University in 1968. Over the years, he served as a professor of atmospheric sciences as well as department head, interim, and associate head. A sincere thank you Professor Agee for helping us in the persistent pursuit of academic excellence.

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