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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 severe weather, the solar system, stable isotopes, and geophysics. We are committed to four strategic initiatives: Energy and the Environment, Severe Weather Science, Planetary Exploration, and Geodata Science.

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Perseverance rover prepares to collect Martian samples that will be sent to Earth

Almost a year after NASA's Perseverance rover was launched on its nearly seven-month journey to Mars, the robotic explorer is preparing to collect its first Martian sample within the next two weeks. Briony Horgan, part of the rover's science team and associate professor of planetary science in Purdue University's Department of Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences in the College of Science, is mentioned in this piece by CNN.

Stored for 50 Years, Technology is Finally Advanced Enough to Analyze Apollo Moon Samples

If hindsight is 20/20, what is foresight? Foresight like that of NASA leaders in the 1970s who locked 840 pounds of moon rocks and dust in a vault until technology advanced enough to study them accurately deserves at least 20/10. “When these samples were collected, when men walked on the moon, I hadn’t even been born yet,” said Thompson, an assistant professor of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences. “This sample has been on Earth longer than I have. It has been sitting in storage, waiting for scientists to analyze it since it was returned. Scientists now have tools and technologies that the original generation of astronauts could only dream of. Now it’s our turn to follow in their footsteps and study the moon rocks they brought back.”

Purdue team flying miles above Earth with NASA, gathering data on North American monsoon season

During the summer, North America’s monsoon season creates massive storms across the Midwest. These storms can cause a phenomenon where the lowest atmospheric layers, the troposphere and stratosphere, mix. Though rare and difficult to study — the stratosphere hovers from 6.2 to 31 miles above Earth’s surface — this mixing needs study because, as climate change happens, the world’s monsoons may change. To study these layers and the barrier between them, NASA has created the DCOTSS (Dynamics and Chemistry of the Summer Stratosphere) project. Dr. Daniel Cziczo, head of the Purdue EAPS, works with DCOTSS on the PALMS-NG portion of this atmospheric research.

Volcano research leads to better understanding of their deep structure

The deep structure of volcanoes has proven difficult for geoscientists to understand due to the inherent difficulty of seeing below the Earth’s surface. To get a more holistic understanding of volcanoes and their subsurface structure, a team of researchers from multiple disciplines, including Jonathan Delph of Purdue University’s Department of Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences, combined their expertise to better understand how their datasets can be interpreted in light of the others.

Health warnings as Death Valley scorches in 54.4C heat

Excessive heat warnings remained in place across swathes of the western US on Monday after Death Valley in California registered what could prove to be the highest reliably recorded temperature on Earth. Dr. Matthew Huber of Purdue EAPS is cited in this article from The Guardian.

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