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3 January 2011

AGU 2010 – Days 3 and 4: Exoplanets, Impact Basins and Alteration

Now that it’s a New Year, it’s time I wrapped up my AGU 2010 recaps. This post covers Wednesday and Thursday, with lots of good stuff about super-earth exoplanets, impacts on the Moon and Mars, and lasers on Venus!


17 December 2009

AGU 2009 – Day 2

I started off day 2 of AGU at a couple of lunar talks showing off data from the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter. Unfortunately, I missed the early sessions about the high-res cameras, but the bright side was that I learned abount some instruments I was less familiar with. First was the Lunar Orbital Laser Altimeter – LOLA. A similar instrument on Mars Global Surveyor, MOLA, revolutionized our view of Mars. The …


5 November 2009

LCROSS preliminary results

Hey remember when we bombed the moon? Here’s an interesting article about some preliminary results from LCROSS. I was especially surprised when they said that there may be mercury at the impact site. They say they’re seeing spectral lines that could be produced by iron, magnesium or mercury, but then the article goes on as if mercury is the likeliest candidate! I’m skeptical. Fe and Mg are common in lunar …


29 October 2009

New Photos of Stuff on Other Worlds

I always make the mistake when on vacation of taking too many pictures of scenery and not enough pictures of people. Years down the road, the most interesting photos are not landscapes, but the ones that we can look at and say “I remember when we did that!”. And that’s why I think it’s great that we now have cameras around the Moon and Mars that can do the same. …


7 October 2009

To the Moon! Zoom, Bang!

As I write this, there is a NASA spacecraft on an unstoppable collision course with the moon. Early on Friday morning it will impact a crater near the moon’s south pole at 9000 km/hr, causing an explosion that will excavate 350 tons of lunar rocks, blasting them up into space and leaving a 66 foot-wide crater. Of course, this is all intentional. The LCROSS mission will use the upper stage …


17 July 2009

LRO Images of Apollo Landing Sites!

Just in time for the 40th anniversary of Apollo 11, the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera (LROC) team have released images of the Apollo landing sites. These pictures show the lower half of the Lunar Module (LM), the scientific instruments left on the surface, and even the tracks where the astronauts walked! Awesome. Of course, the moon hoax believers will not be convinced by this photographic evidence that humans have walked …


4 July 2009

Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter: at the Moon and Returning Data!

I was completely delinquent about reporting this due to the craziness that was my June, but the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter launched on June 18 and has arrived at the moon and is already returning data. As a Mars scientist that is amazing to me. If it were a Mars probe, there would be ~7 months between launch and orbital insertion, but with the moon, it only takes a few days. …