Introductions by Dean Joe Rudnick and Chair Kevin McKeegan
Lecture by Dorothy Oehler, B.A. '67, Ph.D. '73.
"Focusing the Search for Biosignatures on Mars
Dr. Oehler is a planetary geologist and Precambrian paleontologist at Johnson Space Center (JSC).
Observations from the Keck led to the discovery of a supermassive black hole at the center of the Milky Way by UCLA's Andrea Ghez, a professor of physics and astronomy who holds the Lauren B. Leichtman and Arthur E. Levine Chair in Astrophysics. Professor David Jewitt, who holds joint faculty appointments in the departments of Earth and space sciences and physics and astronomy, continues his explorations at the Keck of the Kuiper Belt, which he discovered in 1992, of some 70,000 small bodies orbiting beyond Neptune.
Shimer and Aurnou built a transiting exoplanet experiment by putting a 5″ globe incandescent bulb in the center of a turntable and a “planet” out near the edge. Students set up their Vernier light sensors (LS-BTA) and recorded transit data as the table rotated. The students wrote NI LabVIEW programs to acquire and stack multiple transits of the exoplanet, then use their data to calculate the radius of the exoplanet (using theory developed in class).
In its sixth year in space, scientific papers using THEMIS data helped highlight a number of crucial details about what causes space weather events in this complex system. Vassilis Angelopoulos and Drew Turner are part of the THEMIS team.
Granted by the Academic Senate's Committee on Teaching, the award is given to only five teaching assistants campuswide each year. Chris Snead is the first recipient in ESS.
More than 50 of the world’s top Mars scientists gathered in Royce Hall last week to discuss whether life could survive on the red planet. Three dozen talks over two days covered topics ranging widely from the current liquid water activity on Mars to NASA’s planetary protection policies.
"The habitability of Mars is a pressing issue because we plan to send humans there in the next century," said David Paige, a UCLA professor of Earth and space sciences and a co-organizer of the conference, held Feb. 4-5. "To do that in a responsible way, we should take into account that there could be an indigenous biosphere on Mars, and do our best to predict what would happen to any terrestrial organisms we might bring with us."
Planetary scientists from as far away as Germany convened at UCLA on Februrary 4 and 5 to discuss Mars’ ability to support life. About 35 astrobiologists, chemists, physicists, geologists and policy makers presented research during the Present-Day Habitability of Mars Conference co-hosted by UCLA’s Institute of Planets and Exoplanets.