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Planetary Science News

Odysseus Lunar Lander's Mission to the Moon
WLFI — It's been more than 50 years since the US first landed on the moon, and now there is a plan to pay it another visit. Ali Bramson, of Purdue EAPS, speaks with WLFI News about the planned lunar mission's life cycle.

MastCamZ captures solar eclipse on Mars
NASA — NASA's Mars Perseverance rover acquired images of a solar eclipse on Mars using its Left Mastcam-Z camera. Mastcam-Z is a pair of cameras located high on the rover's mast. Dr. Briony Horgan, of Purdue EAPS, is on the MastCam-Z team. Images were captured on Feb. 8, 2024 (Sol 1056) at the local mean solar time of 06:29:35.

12 states in path of totality during April 8 solar eclipse
FOX WEATHER — The highly-anticipated total solar eclipse will be visible across a large portion of the U.S. on April 8, covering several major cities such as Dallas, Indianapolis, Cleveland and more. During this event, the moon will completely cover the sun. Dr. Ali Bramson, of Purdue EAPS, joins FOX Weather to discuss why this path is unique and what makes it special.

Farewell to Our Flying Friend and Closing in on the Crater Rim
NASA — "While it is sad to be leaving Ingenuity behind, the future is bright for Perseverance and the science team is in high spirits. Ahead of us lies the mysterious crater rim, which may offer a window into a period of Mars’ history that no rover has ever seen before," writes Henry Manelski, PhD Student at Purdue EAPS for the NASA Mars Perseverance Rover Blog.

Empowering Voices in Science: A Collaborative Film Project Showcasing Female Scientists in Fieldwork
Scientists from Purdue University, University of Nevada, Reno, and Stanford University came together with the goal of highlighting female scientists conducting fieldwork. With funding from National Science Foundation (NSF)’s EAR Petrology and Geochemistry Program, the team partnered with students from the Reynolds School of Journalism to create a short film highlighting some of the women in science who were collaborating on a field project investigating a massive ancient volcanic eruption in central Nevada.

At the Mars Desert Research Station, Purdue crews live and work as if they are truly inhabiting the red planet
PURDUE NEWS — The Mars Desert Research Station (MDRS), located near Hanksville, Utah, has served as Mars on Earth for Purdue researchers since the first all-Boilermaker mission launched in 2017. "It’s a unique opportunity, especially for students who study habitats in extreme environments or in human space exploration,” says Purdue EAPS alumna Adriana Brown (BS environmental geoscience, ’22), commander of MDRS Crew 289.

NASA’s most high-risk endeavor in decades and other boundary-pushing space missions planned for 2024
CNN — The year ahead promises to deliver some spectacular pursuits, pushing human and scientific exploration of the cosmos further than it's gone in decades. Dr. Ali Bramson, of Purdue EAPS, explains which missions she is most excited about in the coming year in this interview with CNN.

The Tantalizing Mystery of the Solar System’s Hidden Oceans
WIRED — The moons orbiting Jupiter and Saturn appear to have subsurface oceans which could support life beyond Earth. But it’s not clear why these seas exist at all. Dr. Mike Sori, of Purdue EAPS, is quoted in this article by Wired.

From the Moon’s south pole to an ice-covered ocean world, several exciting space missions are slated for launch in 2024
THE CONVERSATION — The year 2023 proved to be an important one for space missions, with NASA’s OSIRIS-REx mission returning a sample from an asteroid and India’s Chandrayaan-3 mission exploring the lunar south pole, and 2024 is shaping up to be another exciting year for space exploration. Dr. Ali Bramson, of Purdue EAPS, writes about six of the space missions she's most excited to follow in 2024 for The Conversation.

Busy year of space missions lies ahead in 2024
INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — 2024 will be a busy year of space exploration for NASA and other countries. “One of the big questions that we’re always trying to answer is, ‘Are we alone in the universe? Is there life somewhere else in our solar system,’” said Dr. Ali Bramson, assistant professor of the Department of Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences at Purdue University.

Purdue reputation in space brings better understanding of the stars, planets and everything in between
PURDUE NEWS — Purdue University isn’t just the Cradle of Astronauts. Honoring decades of tradition, key discoveries from Purdue space scientists and engineers are advancing knowledge of the universe and missions to the moon or Mars. Check out the latest highlights of space research at Purdue University including sections for both Dr. Michelle Thompson and Dr. Daniel Cziczo of Purdue EAPS.

Unwrapping Uranus and its icy secrets: What NASA would learn from a mission to a wild world
THE CONVERSATION — "Many in the space community – like me – are urging NASA to launch a robotic spacecraft to explore Uranus. Indeed, the 2023 decadal survey of planetary scientists ranked such a journey as the single highest priority for a new NASA flagship mission. This time, the spacecraft would not simply fly by Uranus on its way somewhere else, as Voyager 2 did. Instead, the probe would spend years orbiting and studying the planet, its 27 moons and its 13 rings," explains Dr. Mike Sori, of Purdue EAPS, in a piece he penned for The Conversation.

NASA’s OSIRIS-REx to bring samples of asteroid Bennu to Earth: What to know
AL JAZEERA ENGLISH — US space agency NASA is receiving its first sample from an asteroid. Its fiery return will conclude a seven-year mission, and the contents will be studied by scientists worldwide. Dr. Michelle Thompson appears in this video by Al Jazeera’s Colin Baker.

New research shows the moon might be older than we thought
NPR — The moon appears to be roughly 40 million years older than previously thought, new research shows. Regina Barber of NPR discusses with scientists how the dating works. Dr. Marissa Tremblay, of Purdue EAPS, was interviewed in this All Things Considered "two minute listen" podcast.

Billions of Years Ago, Venus May Have Had a Key Earthlike Feature
NEW YORK TIMES — A new study makes the case that the solar system’s hellish second planet once may have had plate tectonics that could have made it more hospitable to life. The research of Dr. Alexandria Johnson, of Purdue EAPS, is discussed in this article by the New York Times. the research paper titled, "Venus’s atmospheric nitrogen explained by ancient plate tectonics" published in Nature Astronomy on Oct. 26, 2023.

Purdue scientist among first to study asteroid sample
INSIDE INDIANA BUSINESS - A professor of earth, atmospheric and planetary sciences at Purdue University was among six scientists to be the first to examine a study of samples from the asteroid Bennu retrieved through NASA’s OSIRIS-REx mission. Michelle Thompson said it was a “surreal moment” when the sample return canister was opened at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston after the sample landed on Sept. 24 in Utah.

Prof. Andrew Freed inducted in Book of Great Teachers
Purdue inducted 38 instructors into its Book of Great Teachers, which honors outstanding teaching faculty who have demonstrated sustained excellence in the classroom. The induction ceremony, conducted as part of the annual Celebration of Teaching Excellence, is held every five years. Prof. Andrew Freed was inducted this year. He is the second professor from EAPS to be inducted. Previously, Prof. Jon Harbor was also inducted.

Scientist explains why Bennu asteroid samples are a big deal
CBC — Canadian professor Michelle Thompson, of Purdue EAPS, was part of a small team of scientists who got first access to samples from the 4.5-billion-year-old Bennu asteroid. She explains to The National’s Ian Hanomansing how the research can help unlock a new understanding of the origins of life on Earth.

Journey to Jurabi Point
NASA — The Perseverance rover is always on the move! With our first core sample of the margin unit in hand, we’re already plotting course to our next stop in the Margin Campaign. One of our future destinations is a location named “Jurabi Point” that the team’s scientists have been eagerly waiting to explore even since before landing. First though, we’re wrapping up investigation at our current workspace, explains Athanasios Klidaras, Ph.D. student with Purdue EAPS, in this Mars blog for NASA.

Humans are about to explore a metal-rich asteroid for the first time. Here's why.
NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC — This strange asteroid could be the exposed heart of a failed planet—or something even more mysterious. NASA is about to find out. Dr. Brandon Johnson, of Purdue EAPS, is quoted in this article by National Geographic Subscription required to view article.

Meteor confirmed over Bloomington
WISHTV — A camera affixed to a Bloomington home recorded a bright flash from a meteor around 11:30 p.m. on Sept. 21. “I think it was a fireball meteor, which is a very bright meteor that essentially explodes in the atmosphere,” said Dr. Brandon Johnson, an associate professor of planetary sciences at Purdue University.

Meteor confirmed over Bloomington
WISHTV — A camera affixed to a Bloomington home recorded a bright flash from a meteor around 11:30 p.m. on Sept. 21. “I think it was a fireball meteor, which is a very bright meteor that essentially explodes in the atmosphere,” said Dr. Brandon Johnson, an associate professor of planetary sciences at Purdue University.

Purdue scientist: Meteor confirmed over Bloomington
WISHTV — A camera affixed to a Bloomington home recorded a bright flash from a meteor around 11:30 p.m. on Sept. 21. “I think it was a fireball meteor, which is a very bright meteor that essentially explodes in the atmosphere,” said Dr. Brandon Johnson, an associate professor of planetary sciences at Purdue University.

What mud cracks on Mars tell us about whether life could have formed on the planet
PBS — Multi-billion-year-old mud cracks on the surface of Mars are helping researchers piece together the ancient history of our planetary neighbor’s climate. Dr. Briony Horgan, of Purdue EAPS, helps explain what these cracks may mean in this article by PBS.


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