Our team now includes Professor and Head of the Philosophy Department at the University of Arizona, Michael Gill! He has written two books, Humean Moral Pluralism and The British Moralists on Human Nature and the Birth of Secular Ethics, and continues to write about the history of ethics, contemporary ethical theory, and medical ethics.
Meet the Time in Cosmology Advisory Board!
Tucson, Arizona, June 27, 2016 – Time in Cosmology (TiC) is pleased to announce the establishment of an Advisory Board. We recognize and thank individuals on the Advisory Board for graciously donating their time to help with TiC future endeavours. We are honored to introduce Ret. Commander Robert “Hoot” Gibson, NASA Astronaut fighter pilot, aeronautical engineer; and Bruce Bayly, University of Arizona Mathematics Associate Professor, and Co-founder and President of The Physics Factory, as the TiC Advisory Board.
The mission of TiC is to bring together researchers, post-doctoral, graduate, undergraduate students, and other interested parties in astronomy, physics, philosophy, mathematics, and cosmology in order to inspire STEAM in students, academia, and the local community.
TiC is a 501(c)3 collaborative group involved in scientific research and education. The group was founded in 1996. TiC is organized around established principal scientists, joined for the purpose of fostering research, communicating that work, and providing educational opportunities for persons of all ages who may be entering the scientific profession or are simply interested in TiC’s fields of scientific investigation.
Jim Green, director of planetary science at NASA Headquarters. Dr. Green received his Ph.D. in Space Physics from the University of Iowa in 1979 and began working in the Magnetospheric Physics Branch at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC) in 1980. In August 2006, Dr. Green became the Director of the Planetary Science Division at NASA Headquarters.
Michael Meyer, lead scientist for the Mars Exploration Program at NASA Headquarters. Meyer has been the Program Scientist for the Mars Microprobe mission and for two Shuttle/Mir experiments. He was also the Planetary Protection Officer for NASA, responsible for mission compliance to NASA’s policy concerning forward and back contamination during planetary exploration.
Lujendra Ojha of the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta. “We still don’t have a smoking gun for existence of water in RSL [recurring slope lineae], although we’re not sure how this process would take place without water.” He originally discovered Warm Seasonal Flows while an undergraduate at the University of Arizona, Tucson, three years ago, in images from the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera on NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.
Mary Beth Wilhelm of NASA’s Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, California and the Georgia Institute of Technology. Mary Beth Wilhelm is an early-career planetary scientist and organic biogeochemist whose current research focus is on biomarker preservation in martian and terrestrial environments. She is currently a member of the Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity Science Team, a National Science Foundation Graduate Fellow, and a NASA Civil Servant.
Alfred McEwen, principal investigator for the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) at the University of Arizona in Tucson. Dr. McEwen is a planetary geologist and director of the Planetary Image Research Laboratory (PIRL). His major research interest is understanding active geologic processes such as volcanism, impact cratering, and slope processes.
“We estimated the minimum amount of water is 105 m3… What we are dealing with are layers of wet soil.”
“Our next plan is to drink the water!”
“We don’t know where the water comes from. It could be hiding but we don’t have any idea.”
“We have seen snow on Mars, and we know there is a water cycle.”
“Every where we go on Earth where there is liquid water, there has been life… We now have great opportunities to be in the right location on Mars to be able to look for life and make the positive identification.”
“Our quest on Mars has been to ‘follow the water,’ in our search for life in the universe, and now we have convincing science that validates what we’ve long suspected,” said John Grunsfeld, astronaut and associate administrator of NASA’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington. “This is a significant development, as it appears to confirm that water — albeit briny — is flowing today on the surface of Mars.”
“To find out whether life has originated on Mars independently of the origin of life on Earth will take a sophisticated robotic mission or a manned mission, either of them carrying the right instruments.”
“Recurring Slope Lineae (RSL) are seasonal flows or seeps on warm Martian slopes. Observed gradual or incremental growth, fading, and yearly recurrence can be explained by seasonal seeps of water, which is probably salty. The origin of the water is not understood, but several observations indicate a key role for atmospheric processes. If sufficient deliquescent salts are present at these locations, the water could be entirely of atmospheric origin.”PDF. “We also find that changes in the hydration state of salts within the uppermost 15 cm of the subsurface, as measured by Curiosity, are consistent with an active exchange of water at the atmosphere-soil interface” Nature
High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment
HiRISE is one of six science instruments for NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. HiRISE (High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment) has photographed hundreds of targeted swaths of Mars’ surface in unprecedented detail. The HiRISE camera has provided the highest-resolution images yet from martian orbit.
The camera operates in visible wavelengths, the same as human eyes, but with a telescopic lens that produces images at resolutions never before seen in planetary exploration missions. These high-resolution images enable scientists to distinguish 1-meter-size (about 3-foot-size) objects on Mars and to study the morphology (surface structure) in a much more comprehensive manner than ever before.
HiRISE also makes observations at near-infrared wavelengths to obtain information on the mineral groups present. From an altitude that varies from 200 to 400 kilometers (about 125 to 250 miles) above Mars, HiRISE acquires surface images containing individual, basketball-size (30 to 60 centimeters, or 1 to 2 feet wide) pixel elements, allowing surface features 4 to 8 feet across to be resolved. These new, high-resolution images are providing unprecedented views of layered materials, gullies, channels, and other science targets, in addition to characterizing possible future landing sites.
Mars is fundamentally a volcanic planet. Geologic mapping of Mars shows that about half the surface seems to be covered with volcanic materials that have been modified to some extent by other processes (such as meteorite impacts, blowing wind, and floods of water). Mars has the largest volcanoes in the entire Solar System. The great volumes of erupted lava have had a profound impact on the entire planet, extracting heat and selected chemicals from within, adding large amounts of acidic gas to the atmosphere, and providing heat to melt frozen water in the crust. Another high priority will be to image places where both lava and water have come gushing out of the ground. These are places where microbes that might live in the deep, warm, wet parts of the crust could have been brought to the surface. Finding scientifically interesting spots that are safe to land future rovers is one of the primary goals for the MRO mission.
Most Mars researchers believe that the polar layered deposits are the result of variations in the amounts of dust and water ice deposited over many climate cycles, but their composition is poorly constrained. In addition, the amount of time needed to form individual layers remains a major uncertainty. Studies of the thickness of polar layers are limited by image resolution. Are thinner layers present, but not visible in the available images? HiRISE is expected to answer this question and better determine the thickness of layers in the polar deposits. Analysis of HiRISE data should result in a better understanding of the timescales involved in the deposition of the layered deposits and provide important information regarding the climate history of Mars. (Credit: http://marsoweb.nas.nasa.gov/HiRISE/)
Philae Seperates from Rosetta and lands on Comet 67P/C-G!
Separation was confirmed at ESA’s Space Operation Centre, ESOC, in Darmstadt, Germany at 09:03 GMT / 10:03 CET. It takes the radio signals from the transmitter on Rosetta 28 minutes and 20 seconds to reach Earth, so separation actually occurred in space at 08:35 GMT / 09:35 CET.
The descent to the surface of Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko will take around seven hours, during which the lander will take measurements of the environment around the comet. It will also take images of the final moments of descent.
The Rosetta mission will orbit 67P/C-G for 17 months and is designed to complete the most detailed study of a comet ever attempted.
The spacecraft consists of two main elements: the Rosetta space probe orbiter, which features 12 instruments, and the Philae robotic lander, with an additional nine instruments.
The Rosetta mission achieved a significant milestone by becoming the first mission to rendezvous with a comet. Rosetta is the first spacecraft to orbit a comet nucleus, and is the first spacecraft to fly alongside a comet as it heads towards the inner Solar System. It will be the first spacecraft to examine at close proximity how a frozen comet is transformed by the warmth of the Sun.
The Rosetta orbiter is the first to dispatch a robotic lander for the first controlled touchdown on a comet nucleus. (Credit: Wiki, ESA)
“This is a big step for human civilization,” said ESA director Jean-Jacques Dordain. “The biggest problem with success is it looks easy.”
“How audacious! How exciting! How unbelievable!” said Dr. Jim Green, Director of the Planetary Science Division at NASA Headquarters.
“According to Stephan Ulamec, Philae Lander Manager, DLR, the lander team believe that Philae may have bounced from the surface and settled again in a slightly different place.
Engineers know that the anchoring harpoons did not fire. It is also known that the communications link to Rosetta failed intermittently in an irregular pattern shortly after the landing but always immediately re-established itself.
However, science data has been received and is currently being processed, but the promised first panorama from the surface has not been released.
Rosetta is now out of touch with Philae as the orbiter has dipped below the horizon of the comet. The link to Philae was lost a little earlier than expected but this is probably because a hill or boulder was in the way of the line of sight.
Right now, Philae should be working through its first automatic sequence of science experiments. Contact will be re-established through Rosetta later tonight, and the data downlinked.
There will also be more telemetry to assist the engineers in understanding the exact sequence of events during the landing.
We will know more tomorrow.” (Credit: S. Clark, J. Kingsland)