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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 Alumn is co-host and judge on “Richard Hammond’s Crazy Contraptions,” an overseas gameshow about Rube Goldberg Machines

The cascading dominoes fall, causing a bowling ball to drop, which raises a flag that drops the red velvet sheet and reveals Zach Umperovitch, Purdue EAPS alumn, who is officially the world’s leading authority on Rube Goldberg Machines. Rube Goldberg machines are unnecessarily complicated machines created to perform a specific absurdly simple task. His expertise in chain reactions, which he honed meticulously as a student in the Rube Goldberg contests at Purdue University, has landed him an exciting co-host and judge position on “Richard Hammond’s Crazy Contraptions,” a European gameshow airing its first season starting this past spring.

Scientists are closing in on the cause of volcanic super-eruptions

Volcanic activity can range from gaseous emissions with nonexplosive lava all the way to what is known as super-eruptions. Super-eruptions are massive and explosive and have widespread and sometimes global implications. A team of researchers, including Dr. Marissa Tremblay of Purdue EAPS, studied deposits from an ancient super-eruption in the Central Andes to provide new information about what happens just before the eruption takes place. The team recently published its findings in Nature.

Blushing moon could reveal secrets of planetary bodies and their red-colored regions

The Kuiper Belt is a massive region of icy planetary bodies that exists on the outermost parts of our solar system that has largely been unexplored. The most notable body in this belt is Pluto. Many of the objects in the Kuiper Belt have red regions on their surfaces. Pluto’s largest moon, Charon, is one such object that boasts of this blush. The NASA mission New Horizons spacecraft returned high resolution images of Charon and allowed planetary scientists to further study this red phenomenon. Researchers at the Purdue University Department of Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences (EAPS) studied this data and performed geological analysis and modeling that determines that cryovolcanism is quite possibly cause of these massive red polar spots. They published their findings in Nature Communications on August 9, 2022.

Why some heatwaves prove deadlier than others

REUTERS — Europe's record-breaking heatwave last month saw England and Wales register nearly 1,700 extra deaths in just one week, early data shows, while Portugal and Spain counted another 1,700. Why are some heat waves more deadly than others? Dr. Matthew Huber is cited in this article by Reuters.

Parts of the moon may provide stable temperatures for humans, researchers find

CNN — In early human history, caves provided people with protection from the elements and a place to call home. Now, similar formations on the moon could provide pioneering astronauts with a lunar safe haven, thanks to their Earth-like temperatures. The moon has pits with shaded areas that steadily hover around 63 degrees Fahrenheit (17 degrees Celsius), a temperate range that's stable for humans. Dr. Briony Horgan, of Purdue EAPS, is cited in this article by CNN.

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