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Geodata Science News

Purdue Scientist Discusses Role in NASA's Perseverance Mars Rover | Briony Horgan
"This is Purdue" Podcast featuring Dr. Briony Horgan An Associate Professor of Planetary Science at Purdue University, Briony Horgan is also one of the tactical science leads for NASA’s Perseverance Mars Rover. She is examining the Mars landscape through a rover camera called Mastcam-Z - which she helped design for this mission. Talk about a Boilermaker who is taking Giant Leaps! Listen in as Briony discusses what the team of scientists on this mission is looking for on the Red Planet, and what being a part of Purdue’s community means to her.

Geochemist Marissa Tremblay’s Noble and Versatile Toolbox
AAAS Spotlight: Don’t underestimate the value of a spring break field trip. For noble gas geochemist Marissa Tremblay, a geology field trip to Death Valley when she was a freshman at Barnard College set her scientific career in motion. While other students slept in the van on the long drives through the desert, she sat up front asking her professor questions, mesmerized by geological time scales.

Researchers Home in on the Age of the Yangtze River
A new study examining sediments from the Yangtze River sheds new light on the formation of one of the world’s great waterways. The new research finds that certain upstream middle Miocene sands are lacking in lower Yangtze deposits. Analyses of this pattern show that the formation of the longest river in Asia may date to somewhere between 10 million and 3 million years ago. This compares to some previous theories that held that the Yangtze might be as old as 40 million years or as young as 1 million years. “The Nanjing gravels are super important for understanding the Yangtze River,” said Darryl Granger, a geology professor at Purdue University who was involved in peer review of the new study.

What a Lake in Turkey Can Tell Us about Mars
On February 18, 2021, the Perseverance rover is scheduled to make a historic landing in Jezero Crater on Mars. The rover will survey the area and collect rock samples to send back to Earth. Even though no human has set foot inside the crater, researchers have some ideas of what to expect thanks to a similar landscape on Earth: Lake Salda.

With the world’s temperature rising, the Earth’s permafrost areas are particularly vulnerable
Permafrost is defined as ground that has been frozen for at least two consecutive years. With the Earth’s temperature steadily rising, the impacts on permafrost have been unclear but also an area of concern for climate scientists. In last few decades, permafrost underneath boreal ecosystems has started to degrade due to climate warming. The degradation rate in response to the warming remains unclear.

Asteroid explorer collects first samples thought to be rich in organic compounds; a Purdue scientist will be among the first to study
A fireball lit up the Australian sky in the first week of December, as Japan’s Hayabusa2 asteroid explorer sent a capsule containing pieces of nearby asteroid Ryugu down to the Earth’s surface. The capsule and its cargo were met with international cheers, including those of Michelle Thompson, a Purdue scientist who will be one of the first researchers in the world to study the samples. Thompson, professor of planetary sciences, was recruited to the Hayabusa2 science team to study the composition and molecular structure of materials returned from the asteroid.