Upcoming Planetary Lectures


The College of Scieces has published the article: "The Search for Life in the Solar System" in which comments of the Semminar are mentioned. Also, the article mentions EAS faculty research Dr. Britney Schmidt and her discoveries.  To read this article visit http://www.cos.gatech.edu/hg/item/587796


****  Monday 2/20  ****

Monday, February 20, 2017   ---   3:00 pm - 4:00 pm, Reception to follow

Engineered Biosystems Building (EBB) CHOA Seminar Room

'The Search for Life Beyond Earth in Space and Time'

Dr. Jim Green, NASA  Planetary Science Division Director

(Article below)

****   Wednesday 2/22 ****

Wednesday, February 22, 2017 ---  Welcome Reception:  6 p.m.,  Lecture: 7 p.m.

LeCraw Auditorium, First Floor - Scheller College of Business

C-STAR Distinguished Lecture Series: 

'Going out in a Blaze of glory:  Cassini Science Highlights and the Grand Finale’

Dr. Linda Spilker, JPL, Project Scientist for the Cassini Mission

(Article below)


The Search for Life Beyond Earth in Space and Time

James L. Green, Ph.D.
Director, Planetary Science Division
NASA Headquarters, Washington DC

About 4.5 billion years ago a supernova exploded, causing a nearby interstellar cloud to collapse—creating our solar system. What emerged first was our sun, blowing the lighter gases outward. This allowed the heavier elements to remain in the inner solar system, forming our terrestrial planets. We are lucky to have Venus and Mars, two terrestrial planets that are very similar to the Earth and with significant atmospheres.

Planetary scientists have developed the capability to model how these planets have evolved since their birth and what may happen to them in the distant future. Comparative planetology tells us that terrestrial planetary atmospheres have been in a process of continual change. We are finding some startling parallels that suggest both Venus and Mars had environments that would have been habitable for life in their distant past. In the outer part of our solar system, Europa and Enceladus are thought to have an ocean of liquid water beneath their icy crust in contact with mineral-rich rock. These icy moons may have the three ingredients needed for life as we know it: liquid water, essential chemical elements for biological processes, and sources of energy that could be used by living things. With these discoveries in mind, we are looking for potentially habitable exoplanets and have made some significant discoveries. Some of these exoplanets must be ocean worlds!

Going out in a Blaze of Glory:Cassini Science Highlightsand the Grand Finale
Dr. Linda Spilker, NASA reserch scientist, JPL
The findings of the Cassini mission to Saturn have revolu6onized our understanding of that planet, its complex rings, the amazing assortment of moons and the planet’s dynamic magne6c environment. Cassini’s Grand Finale begins in April 2017 with repeated dives between the innermost ring and the top of Saturn’s atmosphere. Cassini will send back its final bits of unique data on September 15, 2017 as it plunges into Saturn’s atmosphere, vaporizing to protect 6ny Enceladus, one of Saturn’s ocean worlds. Come and hear the story of recent science discoveries and the upcoming excitement
during the final orbits. Dr. Linda Spilker, Cassini Project Scien6st, will present highlights of Cassini’s ambi6ous inquiry at Saturn and an overview of science observa6ons in the final orbits.
Dr. Linda Spilker is a NASA research scien6st at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, CA. She is currently the Cassini Project Scien6st and a Co-Inves6gator on the Cassini Composite Infrared Spectrometer team and has worked on Cassini since 1988. Since joining JPL almost 40 years ago Dr. Spilker has worked on the Voyager Project, the Cassini Project and conducted independent research on the origin and evolu6on of planetary ring systems. She enjoys yoga and hiking in National Parks, including her favorite park, Yosemite. She is married, with three daughters and five grandchildren.