April 5, 2017, 3:30 p.m.
Building 8 Auditorium - PLEASE
NOTE CHANGE OF LOCATION DUE TO RENOVATION OF BUILDING
GODDARD SPACE FLIGHT CENTER
and Ices in the Polar Regions of Mars - the future is LIDAR"
Dr. Adrian Brown will talk
about his research into the icy volatiles of Mars and what we've
been able to learn using a passive hyperspectral infrared
spectrometer called "CRISM" on the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.
Using this instrument, Brown and his team tracked the movement
of water ice and the nighttime snowfall events that happen
during the north polar cap summer.
Mars is a different place than Earth. There is water on Mars,
more than the Moon, but lots less than on our own world. But the
water on Mars is the same H2O we have here, and we should use it
when we travel to Mars and set up the first human bases. “Living
off the land” on Mars is going to be crucial, because we can’t
hope to bring all the water we need. We’ll have to be water
farmers. That’s why, just like farmers here on Earth need to
think about how much water they use and where they’re getting it
from, Martian farmers will need to know about the Martian water
cycle, how it operates seasonally, where the water comes from,
and where it’s being stored now.
That’s what Dr. Brown's research is all about. He is doing the
water work for the first Martians, remotely from the Red Planet
in space and remotely from the first settlers in time.
A series of 4 papers published by Brown and his team over the
past 8 years have established the surface water ice cycle in the
southern and northern polar caps during summer and spring.
Observing the winter is a lot more challenging, and no farmer or
robot is going to want to be there. During this freezing period,
the very CO2 in the Martian atmosphere freezes into dry ice, and
every exposed surface cools down to 148 K, or -190F. These
differences from the Earth make the interpretation of remote
sensing data from Mars extremely exciting and also challenging.
Dr. Brown will talk about some of the mysterious curiosities of
the Martian polar caps, and how we might break through the
Martian ice with LIDAR in the future.
About the Speaker:
Dr. Adrian Brown is a planetary scientist working at the SETI
Institute and NASA HQ. His fields of research include Mars,
astrobiology and remote sensing spectroscopy. His current
research focuses on the analysis of data from the Mars
instrument "CRISM" which is onboard the Mars Reconnaissance
Orbiter. For more Martian, optical and other work by Adrian,
For the CRISM project, he is helping choose targets and
analysing data from the North and South Poles of Mars. He is
working with other researchers to study seasonal changes in the
surface and atmosphere in the polar regions of Mars. The poles
are the most dynamic regions on Mars and they may hold the
history of past water on Mars.
He completed his PhD studies at the Australian Centre for
Astrobiology. He is involved in the running of the Australian
Space Prize, which is an annual prize for undergraduates who
have completed an Honours thesis related to space in science or
engineering. The winner each year travels to a NASA Center in
the United States to take part in a 10-week summer
program. He also helps teach an online planetary science
course at the Astronomy Department of Swinburne University in
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