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Category: Science

A fun take on the latest science news with enough data to sink your teeth into. Lagrange Point goes beyond the glossy summary and gets in depth with the research from across the world.

October 31, 2022

Episode 507 - Peering beneath Mars’ surface

How does a single sensor help change your outlook on a planet? A single small seismometer on Mars can help understand Mars' past, present and future. What do an ultrasound and Mars have in common? Both can use a single sensor to peer deep inside. Listening to the echoes of marsquakes helps researchers understand what's in Mars' core. Modelling the inside of Mars' core helps researchers understand its past and future. Mars is often thought to be volcanically dead, but there are signs of some activity. A cluster of marsquakes can help researchers find evidence of vulcanism on Mars.

  1. Sheng Wang, Hrvoje Tkalčić. Scanning for planetary cores with single-receiver intersource correlationsNature Astronomy, 2022; DOI: 10.1038/s41550-022-01796-8
  2. Simon C. Stähler, Anna Mittelholz, Cleément Perrin, Taichi Kawamura, Doyeon Kim, Martin Knapmeyer, Géraldine Zenhäusern, John Clinton, Domenico Giardini, Philippe Lognonné, W. Bruce Banerdt. Tectonics of Cerberus Fossae unveiled by marsquakesNature Astronomy, 2022; DOI: 10.1038/s41550-022-01803-y
September 5, 2022

Episode 499 - Air and atmospheres on exoplanets

CO2 gets a lot of bad press on earth, but in space, it could actually be incredibly helpful. On Mars, the Perseverance mission turned CO2 into Oxygen just like a tree. Making air on Mars requires a bit of Moxie and Perseverance. Mar's atmosphere may be thin, highly variable and full of CO2 but it can be harnessed to produce Oxygen. Could future mission to Mars make their own oxygen on the surface of Mars? Finding CO2 on exoplanets has been incredibly hard but the JWST helps shed light on this universal gas. Incredible hot, massive but not super dense, the Hot Jupiter WASP-39b becomes the latest target of the JWST. What can a hot Jupiter like WASP-39b teach us about exoplanet formation?

  1. The JWST Transiting Exoplanet Community Early Release Science Team et al. Identification of carbon dioxide in an exoplanet atmosphereNature (in press), 2022 [abstract]
  2. Jeffrey A. Hoffman, Michael H. Hecht, Donald Rapp, Joseph J. Hartvigsen, Jason G. Soohoo, Asad M. Aboobaker, John B. Mcclean, Andrew M. Liu, Eric D. Hinterman, Nasr, Shravan Hariharan, Kyle J. Horn, Forrest E. Meyen, Harald Okkels, Parker Steen, Singaravelu Elangovan, Christopher R. Graves, Piyush Khopkar, Morten B. Madsen, Gerald E. Voecks, Peter, H. Smith, Theis, L. Skafte, Koorosh R. Araghiand, David J. Eisenman. Mars Oxygen ISRU Experiment (MOXIE)—Preparing for human Mars explorationScience Advances, 2022 DOI: DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.abp8636
August 15, 2022

Episode 496 - Dwarf Planets and Massive collisions forming Moons

Dwarf planets are strange objects in our solar systems, but Ceres is unusual amongst that group. Why is Ceres' surface so strange and how could it have formed without a hot core? Ceres is too small to really have a molten core or large molten surfaces. How did Ceres end up with odd plateaus and continent like features without an active core? How could radiation cause Ceres to form in such an odd way? The Moon's relative size is puzzling but how can we prove that it was caused by a colossal collision?

  1. Scott D. King, Michael T. Bland, Simone Marchi, Carol A. Raymond, Christopher T. Russell, Jennifer E. C. Scully, Hanna G. Sizemore. Ceres’ Broad‐Scale Surface Geomorphology Largely Due To Asymmetric Internal Convection. AGU Advances, 2022; 3 (3) DOI: 10.1029/2021AV000571
  2. Patrizia Will, Henner Busemann, My E. I. Riebe, Colin Maden. Indigenous noble gases in the Moon’s interior. Science Advances, 2022; 8 (32) DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.abl4920
July 18, 2022

Episode 492 - Finding hidden objects in the early universe

How can you find objects that are hard to see in the depths of space? There is plenty of gas in a galaxy, but trying to see a cloud amongst all those starts is not easy. The further back in time you look in the history of the universe, the colder and darker it gets. How do you figure out the structure of the earliest galaxies and their cold gas? A black hole roaming across a galaxy sounds like bad sci fi horror, but may have been found. How can you spot a black hole without any frame of reference? Detecting a roaming black hole is tricky but not impossible.

    1. Kieran A. Cleary, Jowita Borowska, Patrick C. Breysse, Morgan Catha, Dongwoo T. Chung, Sarah E. Church, Clive Dickinson, Hans Kristian Eriksen, Marie Kristine Foss, Joshua Ott Gundersen, Stuart E. Harper, Andrew I. Harris, Richard Hobbs, Håvard T. Ihle, Junhan Kim, Jonathon Kocz, James W. Lamb, Jonas G. S. Lunde, Hamsa Padmanabhan, Timothy J. Pearson, Liju Philip, Travis W. Powell, Maren Rasmussen, Anthony C. S. Readhead, Thomas J. Rennie, Marta B. Silva, Nils-Ole Stutzer, Bade D. Uzgil, Duncan J. Watts, Ingunn Kathrine Wehus, David P. Woody, Lilian Basoalto, J. Richard Bond, Delaney A. Dunne, Todd Gaier, Brandon Hensley, Laura C. Keating, Charles R. Lawrence, Norman Murray, Roberta Paladini, Rodrigo Reeves, Marco P. Viero, Risa H. Wechsler. COMAP Early Science. I. OverviewThe Astrophysical Journal, 2022; 933 (2): 182 DOI: 10.3847/1538-4357/ac63cc
    2. Casey Y. Lam, Jessica R. Lu, Andrzej Udalski, Ian Bond, David P. Bennett, Jan Skowron, Przemek Mroz, Radek Poleski, Takahiro Sumi, Michal K. Szymanski, Szymon Kozlowski, Pawel Pietrukowicz, Igor Soszynski, Krzysztof Ulaczyk, Lukasz Wyrzykowski, Shota Miyazaki, Daisuke Suzuki, Naoki Koshimoto, Nicholas J. Rattenbury, Matthew W. Hosek Jr., Fumio Abe, Richard Barry, Aparna Bhattacharya, Akihiko Fukui, Hirosane Fujii, Yuki Hirao, Yoshitaka Itow, Rintaro Kirikawa, Iona Kondo, Yutaka Matsubara, Sho Matsumoto, Yasushi Muraki, Greg Olmschenk, Clement Ranc, Arisa Okamura, Yuki Satoh, Stela Ishitani Silva, Taiga Toda, Paul J. Tristram, Aikaterini Vandorou, Hibiki Yama, Natasha S. Abrams, Shrihan Agarwal, Sam Rose, Sean K. Terry. An isolated mass gap black hole or neutron star detected with astrometric microlensingAccepted to APJ Letters, 2022 [abstract]
    3. Kailash C. Sahu, Jay Anderson, Stefano Casertano, Howard E. Bond, Andrzej Udalski, Martin Dominik, Annalisa Calamida, Andrea Bellini, Thomas M. Brown, Marina Rejkuba, Varun Bajaj, Noe Kains, Henry C. Ferguson, Chris L. Fryer, Philip Yock, Przemek Mroz, Szymon Kozlowski, Pawel Pietrukowicz, Radek Poleski, Jan Skowron, Igor Soszynski, Michael K. Szymanski, Krzysztof Ulaczyk, Lukasz Wyrzykowski, Richard Barry, David P. Bennett, Ian A. Bond, Yuki Hirao, Stela Ishitani Silva, Iona Kondo, Naoki Koshimoto, Clement Ranc, Nicholas J. Rattenbury, Takahiro Sumi, Daisuke Suzuki, Paul J. Tristram, Aikaterini Vandorou, Jean-Philippe Beaulieu, Jean-Baptiste Marquette, Andrew Cole, Pascal Fouque, Kym Hill, Stefan Dieters, Christian Coutures, Dijana Dominis-Prester, Clara Bennett, Etienne Bachelet, John Menzies, Michael Alb-row, Karen Pollard, Andrew Gould, Jennifer Yee, William Allen, Leonardo Andrade de Almeida, Grant Christie, John Drummond, Avishay Gal-Yam, Evgeny Gorbikov, Francisco Jablonski, Chung-Uk Lee, Dan Maoz, Ilan Manulis, Jennie McCormick, Tim Natusch, Richard W. Pogge, Yossi Shvartzvald, Uffe G. Jorgensen, Khalid A. Alsubai, Michael I. Andersen, Valerio Bozza, Sebastiano Calchi Novati, Martin Burgdorf, Tobias C. Hinse, Markus Hundertmark, Tim-Oliver Husser, Eamonn Kerins, Penelope Longa-Pena, Luigi Mancini, Matthew Penny, Sohrab Rahvar, Davide Ricci, Sedighe Sajadian, Jesper Skottfelt, Colin Snodgrass, John Southworth, Jeremy Tregloan-Reed, Joachim Wambsganss, Olivier Wertz, Yiannis Tsapras, Rachel A. Street, Daniel M. Bramich, Keith Horne, Iain A. Steele. An Isolated Stellar-Mass Black Hole Detected Through Astrometric MicrolensingAccepted to APJ, 2022 [abstract]


July 11, 2022

Episode 491 - Impacts and the messy history of the early solar system

The early history of our solar system can be deciphered by studying impact craters and meteorites. Craters on the Moon tell us a lot about the violent history of our solar system. Just how many impacts have there been on the Moon? We can study the porosity of the Moon to better estimate just how many impacts have occurred on it. How did Mars get it's atmosphere and from where? A Martian meteorite from deep in the core can tell us a lot about the solar nebula that formed our solar system. Mars formed relatively quickly, before the solar nebula dissipated.

  1. Ya Huei Huang, Jason M. Soderblom, David A. Minton, Masatoshi Hirabayashi, H. Jay Melosh. Bombardment history of the Moon constrained by crustal porosityNature Geoscience, 2022; DOI: 10.1038/s41561-022-00969-4
  2. Sandrine Péron, Sujoy Mukhopadhyay. Krypton in the Chassigny meteorite shows Mars accreted chondritic volatiles before nebular gasesScience, 2022; DOI: 10.1126/science.abk1175
June 21, 2022

Episode 488 -Mysteries from the formation of our solar system

From cosmic rays in Antarctica, to chasing Eclipses to learn about stellar weather. Neutrinos are hard to track and detect, as are cosmic rays. Neutrinos suddenly coming out of Antarctica baffled scientists hunting for cosmic rays.  Underground glacial lakes, compacted snow, cosmic can help explain mysterious neutrino emissions. Tracking eclipses and gathering data over 20 years can help us understand stellar weather. By studying the Sun's corona, scientists can better understand the magnetic field and stellar weather. The sun changes activity over 11 year cycles, and it's magnetic field also rearranges itself from highly structured to loose and messy.  

  1. Ian M. Shoemaker, Alexander Kusenko, Peter Kuipers Munneke, Andrew Romero-Wolf, Dustin M. Schroeder, Martin J. Siegert. Reflections on the anomalous ANITA events: the Antarctic subsurface as a possible explanationAnnals of Glaciology, 2020; 1 DOI: 10.1017/aog.2020.19
  2. Benjamin Boe, Shadia Habbal, Miloslav Druckmüller. Coronal Magnetic Field Topology from Total Solar Eclipse ObservationsThe Astrophysical Journal, 2020; 895 (2): 123 DOI: 10.3847/1538-4357/ab8ae6
May 16, 2022

Episode 483 - Constantly changing moons of Jupiter

Jupiter's moons may be way more dynamic than we previously thought. Europa has the most potential to harbor life outside of Earth, but it's ice sheets may be more Earth like than we imagined. Europa's spectacular double ridges are similar to those found in Greenland. The ice sheets on Europa may not be static and still, but churning. Melting and refreezing could drive exchange between the surface of Europa and it's icey depths. How do you form sand dunes without any wind? Is it possible to form a Dune on Io using just volcanic flows and sulfur snows?

  1. Culberg, R., Schroeder, D.M. & Steinbrügge, G. Double ridge formation over shallow water sills on Jupiter’s moon Europa. Nat Commun, 2022 DOI: 10.1038/s41467-022-29458-3
  2. George D. McDonald, Joshua Méndez Harper, Lujendra Ojha, Paul Corlies, Josef Dufek, Ryan C. Ewing, Laura Kerber. Aeolian sediment transport on Io from lava–frost interactions. Nature Communications, 2022; 13 (1) DOI: 10.1038/s41467-022-29682-x
May 9, 2022

Episode 482 - Nova and Micronova not quite super still immensely powerful

Supernova get all the press, but Nova and Micronova are still pretty powerful. White dwarf stars are normally pretty inactive, unless some hydrogen ends up kickstarting them again. Enough helium leeched from a nearby star can ignite the entire surface of a white dwarf. Nova may not destroy the star, but they can create immensely powerful explosions and particles. The right combination of White Dwarf and Red Giant can create powerful particles near the speed of light. Micronova sound small but they are still colossal and brief explosions on white dwarf stars. Not powerful enough to ignite the whole surface of a star, but definitely enough to destroy a planet, micronova are quite deadly.

  1. Scaringi, S., Groot, P.J., Knigge, C. et al. Localized thermonuclear bursts from accreting magnetic white dwarfsNature, 2022 DOI: 10.1038/s41586-022-04495-6
  2. V. A. Acciari, S. Ansoldi, L. A. Antonelli, A. Arbet Engels, M. Artero, K. Asano, D. Baack, A. Babić, A. Baquero, U. Barres de Almeida, J. A. Barrio, I. Batković, J. Becerra González, W. Bednarek, L. Bellizzi, E. Bernardini, M. Bernardos, A. Berti, J. Besenrieder, W. Bhattacharyya, C. Bigongiari, A. Biland, O. Blanch, H. Bökenkamp, G. Bonnoli, Ž. Bošnjak, G. Busetto, R. Carosi, G. Ceribella, M. Cerruti, Y. Chai, A. Chilingarian, S. Cikota, S. M. Colak, E. Colombo, J. L. Contreras, J. Cortina, S. Covino, G. D’Amico, V. D’Elia, P. Da Vela, F. Dazzi, A. De Angelis, B. De Lotto, A. Del Popolo, M. Delfino, J. Delgado, C. Delgado Mendez, D. Depaoli, F. Di Pierro, L. Di Venere, E. Do Souto Espiñeira, D. Dominis Prester, A. Donini, D. Dorner, M. Doro, D. Elsaesser, V. Fallah Ramazani, L. Fariña Alonso, A. Fattorini, M. V. Fonseca, L. Font, C. Fruck, S. Fukami, Y. Fukazawa, R. J. García López, M. Garczarczyk, S. Gasparyan, M. Gaug, N. Giglietto, F. Giordano, P. Gliwny, N. Godinović, J. G. Green, D. Green, D. Hadasch, A. Hahn, T. Hassan, L. Heckmann, J. Herrera, J. Hoang, D. Hrupec, M. Hütten, T. Inada, K. Ishio, Y. Iwamura, I. Jiménez Martínez, J. Jormanainen, L. Jouvin, D. Kerszberg, Y. Kobayashi, H. Kubo, J. Kushida, A. Lamastra, D. Lelas, F. Leone, E. Lindfors, L. Linhoff, S. Lombardi, F. Longo, R. López-Coto, M. López-Moya, A. López-Oramas, S. Loporchio, B. Machado de Oliveira Fraga, C. Maggio, P. Majumdar, M. Makariev, M. Mallamaci, G. Maneva, M. Manganaro, K. Mannheim, L. Maraschi, M. Mariotti, M. Martínez, A. Mas Aguilar, D. Mazin, S. Menchiari, S. Mender, S. Mićanović, D. Miceli, T. Miener, J. M. Miranda, R. Mirzoyan, E. Molina, A. Moralejo, D. Morcuende, V. Moreno, E. Moretti, T. Nakamori, L. Nava, V. Neustroev, M. Nievas Rosillo, C. Nigro, K. Nilsson, K. Nishijima, K. Noda, S. Nozaki, Y. Ohtani, T. Oka, J. Otero-Santos, S. Paiano, M. Palatiello, D. Paneque, R. Paoletti, J. M. Paredes, L. Pavletić, P. Peñil, M. Persic, M. Pihet, P. G. Prada Moroni, E. Prandini, C. Priyadarshi, I. Puljak, W. Rhode, M. Ribó, J. Rico, C. Righi, A. Rugliancich, N. Sahakyan, T. Saito, S. Sakurai, K. Satalecka, F. G. Saturni, B. Schleicher, K. Schmidt, T. Schweizer, J. Sitarek, I. Šnidarić, D. Sobczynska, A. Spolon, A. Stamerra, J. Strišković, D. Strom, M. Strzys, Y. Suda, T. Surić, M. Takahashi, R. Takeishi, F. Tavecchio, P. Temnikov, T. Terzić, M. Teshima, L. Tosti, S. Truzzi, A. Tutone, S. Ubach, J. van Scherpenberg, G. Vanzo, M. Vazquez Acosta, S. Ventura, V. Verguilov, C. F. Vigorito, V. Vitale, I. Vovk, M. Will, C. Wunderlich, T. Yamamoto, D. Zarić, F. Ambrosino, M. Cecconi, G. Catanzaro, C. Ferrara, A. Frasca, M. Munari, L. Giustolisi, J. Alonso-Santiago, M. Giarrusso, U. Munari, P. Valisa. Proton acceleration in thermonuclear nova explosions revealed by gamma raysNature Astronomy, 2022; DOI: 10.1038/s41550-022-01640-z
March 28, 2022

Episode 476 - Capturing interstellar storms and gas

Space isn't 'empty' but is often filled with gas and interstellar wind. Gas flows and moves around our universe forming stars, planets and galaxies, but how does it get there? How can you capture the complex motion of interstellar gas? What connects dragonflies with taking pictures of interstellar gas? Strapping a whole bunch of cameras together can help scientists image the faintest of light. Violent eruptions and messy eating by Neutron stars and black holes can help us understand the way interstellar gas moves in space. When a neutron star devours a planet, the remnants and gas flows can tell us a lot about star formation.

Journal References:

  1. Imad Pasha, Deborah Lokhorst, Pieter G. van Dokkum, Seery Chen, Roberto Abraham, Johnny Greco, Shany Danieli, Tim Miller, Erin Lippitt, Ava Polzin, Zili Shen, Michael A. Keim, Qing Liu, Allison Merritt, Jielai Zhang. A Nascent Tidal Dwarf Galaxy Forming within the Northern H i Streamer of M82. The Astrophysical Journal Letters, 2021; 923 (2): L21 DOI: 10.3847/2041-8213/ac3ca6
  2. Qing Liu, Roberto Abraham, Colleen Gilhuly, Pieter van Dokkum, Peter G. Martin, Jiaxuan Li, Johnny P. Greco, Deborah Lokhorst, Seery Chen, Shany Danieli, Michael A. Keim, Allison Merritt, Tim B. Miller, Imad Pasha, Ava Polzin, Zili Shen, Jielai Zhang. A Method to Characterize the Wide-angle Point-Spread Function of Astronomical Images. The Astrophysical Journal, 2022; 925 (2): 219 DOI: 10.3847/1538-4357/ac32c6
  3. N. Castro Segura, C. Knigge, K. S. Long, D. Altamirano, M. Armas Padilla, C. Bailyn, D. A. H. Buckley, D. J. K. Buisson, J. Casares, P. Charles, J. A. Combi, V. A. Cúneo, N. D. Degenaar, S. del Palacio, M. Díaz Trigo, R. Fender, P. Gandhi, M. Georganti, C. Gutiérrez, J. V. Hernandez Santisteban, F. Jiménez-Ibarra, J. Matthews, M. Méndez, M. Middleton, T. Muñoz-Darias, M. Özbey Arabacı, M. Pahari, L. Rhodes, T. D. Russell, S. Scaringi, J. van den Eijnden, G. Vasilopoulos, F. M. Vincentelli, P. Wiseman. A persistent ultraviolet outflow from an accreting neutron star binary transient. Nature, 2022; 603 (7899): 52 DOI: 10.1038/s41586-021-04324-2
February 14, 2022

Episode 470 - Mysteries in our galaxy unearthed by radio telescopes

Radio telescopes cover large areas and can find strange objects lurking in space. From slowly pulsing magnetars to cosmic ray filaments. Surrounding the black hole at the center of the Milky way are strange but regular filament like structures. Cosmic rays electroncs moving near the speed of light are creating regular 'gash' like filaments around the center of the Milky Way. There is a supermassive blackhole at the center of the Milky Way, but it's surrounded by even weirder things. Astronomers deal with 'transients' from slow ones like supernova to fast pulses like Pulsars...but there might be something in between. A new type of stellar object is pulsing three times an hour dumping out huge amounts of radio waves all relatively close to home.

  1. F. Yusef-Zadeh, R. G. Arendt, M. Wardle, I. Heywood, W. Cotton, F. Camilo. Statistical Properties of the Population of the Galactic Center Filaments: the Spectral Index and Equipartition Magnetic FieldThe Astrophysical Journal Letters, 2022; 925 (2): L18 DOI: 10.3847/2041-8213/ac4802
  2. N. Hurley-Walker, X. Zhang, A. Bahramian, S. J. McSweeney, T. N. O’Doherty, P. J. Hancock, J. S. Morgan, G. E. Anderson, G. H. Heald, T. J. Galvin. A radio transient with unusually slow periodic emissionNature, 2022; 601 (7894): 526 DOI: 10.1038/s41586-021-04272-x
January 3, 2022

Episode 464 - Rogue Planets and glass in meteorites

Rogue planets hurtling across space without a place to call home. How do we detect intergalactic nomads like Rogue planets? Just how many rogue planets are out there? Are there rogue planets lurking in our own solar system? Glass inside meteorites can help us understand early earth. How does meteorite rock differ from rock here on earth? What can we piece together about the cataclysmic events that formed glass inside meteorites? Rapidly heating then even more rapidly cooling coalesced glass inside meteorites.

  1. Núria Miret-Roig, Hervé Bouy, Sean N. Raymond, Motohide Tamura, Emmanuel Bertin, David Barrado, Javier Olivares, Phillip A. B. Galli, Jean-Charles Cuillandre, Luis Manuel Sarro, Angel Berihuete, Nuria Huélamo. A rich population of free-floating planets in the Upper Scorpius young stellar association. Nature Astronomy, 2021; DOI: 10.1038/s41550-021-01513-x
  2. Nicole X. Nie, Xin-Yang Chen, Timo Hopp, Justin Y. Hu, Zhe J. Zhang, Fang-Zhen Teng, Anat Shahar, Nicolas Dauphas. Imprint of chondrule formation on the K and Rb isotopic compositions of carbonaceous meteorites. Science Advances, 2021; 7 (49) DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.abl3929
December 6, 2021

Episode 460 - What shape is the heliosphere

Just what is the heliosphere and how doe sit work? What shape is the heliosphere (spoiler alert, probably not a sphere). At the very edge of our solar system lies the boundary between our neighborhood and interstellar space. Do outside forces from interstellar space jumble up the heliosphere? Sandwiched between Space and the Earth, the Ionsphere buzzes and hums with a pulsing generator. Winds from earth can bend and shape plasma in our ionsphere to make a generator. Moving a conducting object through a magnetic field can generate electricty, and its happening right now 100km above our heads.

  1. M. Opher, J. F. Drake, G. Zank, E. Powell, W. Shelley, M. Kornbleuth, V. Florinski, V. Izmodenov, J. Giacalone, S. Fuselier, K. Dialynas, A. Loeb, J. Richardson. A Turbulent Heliosheath Driven by the Rayleigh–Taylor InstabilityThe Astrophysical Journal, 2021; 922 (2): 181 DOI: 10.3847/1538-4357/ac2d2e
  2. Thomas J. Immel, Brian J. Harding, Roderick A. Heelis, Astrid Maute, Jeffrey M. Forbes, Scott L. England, Stephen B. Mende, Christoph R. Englert, Russell A. Stoneback, Kenneth Marr, John M. Harlander, Jonathan J. Makela. Regulation of ionospheric plasma velocities by thermospheric windsNature Geoscience, 2021; DOI: 10.1038/s41561-021-00848-4
November 15, 2021

Episode 457 - Not so Empty Space near Earth

Space  is big and vast, but whilst not densely packed like in Sci Fi, there's still so much going on around Earth's orbit. Mapping out the local neighborhood around Earth's orbit is tricky but important work. We think we have an idea about most Near Earth Asteroids but occasionally they can sneak up on is. A chip off the old block of the Moon has become one of our newest near Earth Objects. How we clean up space junk without touching it or grabbing it with a rocket? Can magnets help us handle delicate space junk? A satellite spiraling out of control is not an easy object to tame and de-orbit.

  1. Benjamin N. L. Sharkey, Vishnu Reddy, Renu Malhotra, Audrey Thirouin, Olga Kuhn, Albert Conrad, Barry Rothberg, Juan A. Sanchez, David Thompson, Christian Veillet. Lunar-like silicate material forms the Earth quasi-satellite (469219) 2016 HO3 KamoʻoalewaCommunications Earth & Environment, 2021; 2 (1) DOI: 10.1038/s43247-021-00303-7
  2. Lan N. Pham, Griffin F. Tabor, Ashkan Pourkand, Jacob L. B. Aman, Tucker Hermans, Jake J. Abbott. Dexterous magnetic manipulation of conductive non-magnetic objectsNature, 2021; 598 (7881): 439 DOI: 10.1038/s41586-021-03966-6
October 18, 2021

Episode 453 - The early days of our solar system

Studying the earliest days of our solar system by looking at meteorites. We don't have to travel to asteroids or dwarf planets in order to study their geology. By studying meteorites we can piece together the mystery behind the formation of our solar system. Asteroids seem to be 'missing' mantle like rock, so how can we find it by studying meteorites? Some meteorites can capture like a time capsule pieces from our early solar system. Some of this leftover bits from the early days of our solar system contain raw pieces from other stars. Sometimes in meteorites you can find matter that has traveled all the way from other stars.

  1. Nan Liu, Barosch Jens, Larry R. Nittler, Conel M. O'D. Alexander, Jianhua Wang, Sergio Cristallo, Maurizio Busso, and Sara Palmerini. New multielement isotopic compositions of presolar SiC grains: implications for their stellar originsThe Astrophysical Journal Letters, 2021 DOI: 10.3847/2041-8213/ac260b
  2. Zoltan Vaci, James M. D. Day, Marine Paquet, Karen Ziegler, Qing-Zhu Yin, Supratim Dey, Audrey Miller, Carl Agee, Rainer Bartoschewitz, Andreas Pack. Olivine-rich achondrites from Vesta and the missing mantle problemNature Communications, 2021; 12 (1) DOI: 10.1038/s41467-021-25808-9
  3. Meng-Hua Zhu, Alessandro Morbidelli, Wladimir Neumann, Qing-Zhu Yin, James M. D. Day, David C. Rubie, Gregory J. Archer, Natalia Artemieva, Harry Becker, Kai Wünnemann. Common feedstocks of late accretion for the terrestrial planetsNature Astronomy, 2021; DOI: 10.1038/s41550-021-01475-0
August 9, 2021

Episode 443 - Strange chemistry, ice, life and moons

Moons across our solar system have rich chemistry that may harbor life. Ganymede may have more water in it's 'oceans' than Earth. The makeup of Ganymede may include layers of ice, oceans and even water vapor atmospheres. Piecing together data from Hubble, Galileo and Juno to help crack the mystery of Ganymede's atmosphere. Melting ice on Ganymede's surface could explain the odd atmosphere. Enceladus has great geysers but they contain more methane than we can explain...unless we consider biological systems. Enceladus has many mysteries beneath it's ice, but could geothermal vents help explain whats in it's geysers? Cassini did a daring flyby through Enceladus' geysers, but they were filled with many things we did not expect.

  1. Lorenz Roth, Nickolay Ivchenko, G. Randall Gladstone, Joachim Saur, Denis Grodent, Bertrand Bonfond, Philippa M. Molyneux, Kurt D. Retherford. A sublimated water atmosphere on Ganymede detected from Hubble Space Telescope observations. Nature Astronomy, 2021; DOI: 10.1038/s41550-021-01426-9
  2. Antonin Affholder, François Guyot, Boris Sauterey, Régis Ferrière, Stéphane Mazevet. Bayesian analysis of Enceladus’s plume data to assess methanogenesis. Nature Astronomy, 2021; DOI: 10.1038/s41550-021-01372-6
July 5, 2021

Episode 438 - Super fast and dense White Dwarfs and odd Supernova

What happens at the end of a star's life if it doesn't go out with a bang? White dwarfs are the end stage for 97% of stars, but can they still go 'nova? What happens if two white dwarf stars merge together? Rotating once every 7 minutes with a magnetic field billions times stronger than the Sun, super dense white dwarfs break all the records. There are many types of supernova, but which one happened at the Crab Nebula in 1054? What happens if a star isn't quite heavy enough to have an iron core supernova? Electrons are so tiny compared to a supergiant star, but if they're taken away it can lead to a supernova.

  1. Caiazzo, I., Burdge, K.B., Fuller, J. et al. A highly magnetized and rapidly rotating white dwarf as small as the MoonNature, 2021 DOI: 10.1038/s41586-021-03615-y
  2. Daichi Hiramatsu, D. Andrew Howell, Schuyler D. Van Dyk, Jared A. Goldberg, Keiichi Maeda, Takashi J. Moriya, Nozomu Tominaga, Ken’ichi Nomoto, Griffin Hosseinzadeh, Iair Arcavi, Curtis McCully, Jamison Burke, K. Azalee Bostroem, Stefano Valenti, Yize Dong, Peter J. Brown, Jennifer E. Andrews, Christopher Bilinski, G. Grant Williams, Paul S. Smith, Nathan Smith, David J. Sand, Gagandeep S. Anand, Chengyuan Xu, Alexei V. Filippenko, Melina C. Bersten, Gastón Folatelli, Patrick L. Kelly, Toshihide Noguchi, Koichi Itagaki. The electron-capture origin of supernova 2018zdNature Astronomy, 2021; DOI: 10.1038/s41550-021-01384-2
May 17, 2021

Episode 431 - Super stellar collisions and super computers

Space is really big, but when a collision happens it's incredibly complicated. Studying and predicting collisions between stars is hard even for super computers. How can you speed up the modelling of stellar collisions? A neutron star and a black hole colliding may not be as rare as you think. The collision of two heavyweights could give us the data we need to crack a century old question. The merger of a black hole and a neutron star gives off tremendous amounts of energy and may be more common than we thought. By 2030 we should have enough data captured on LIGO and other instruments to solve Hubble's dilema.

  1. Dominic C Marcello, Sagiv Shiber, Orsola De Marco, Juhan Frank, Geoffrey C Clayton, Patrick M Motl, Patrick Diehl, Hartmut Kaiser. Octo-Tiger: a new, 3D hydrodynamic code for stellar mergers that uses HPX parallelisationMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 2021; DOI: 10.1093/mnras/stab937
  2. Stephen M. Feeney, Hiranya V. Peiris, Samaya M. Nissanke, and Daniel J. Mortlock. Prospects for measuring the Hubble constant with neutron-star–black-hole mergersPhys. Rev. Lett. (accepted), 2021 [abstract]
March 29, 2021

Episode 424 - Hunting for atmospheres on other planets

Mars was once covered with water, so where did all the water on Mars go? What happened to the water in the Martian atmosphere? Why isn't there an abundance of heavy water in the Martian atmosphere? Water can get trapped inside rocks and minerals without volcanoes to cycle them. Volcanoes and tectonics help sequester, cycle and release water, so what happens on a planet without them? How can we hunt for signs of water atmospheres on exoplanets? On hot rocky exoplanets with oceans of magma, what happens to their hydrogen rich atmospheres?  An atmosphere of of hydrogen can slowly turn and change into water with the help of a magma ocean. 

  1. E. L. Scheller, B. L. Ehlmann, Renyu Hu, D. J. Adams, Y. L. Yung. Long-term drying of Mars by sequestration of ocean-scale volumes of water in the crustScience, 2021; eabc7717 DOI: 10.1126/science.abc7717
  2. Edwin S. Kite, Laura Schaefer. Water on Hot Rocky ExoplanetsThe Astrophysical Journal Letters, 2021; 909 (2): L22 DOI: 10.3847/2041-8213/abe7dc
February 22, 2021

Episode 419 - Testing life on Mars here on Earth

Perseverance has landed and begun it's long mission, but how can scientists on Earth help research on Mars? Can we study life on Mars here on Earth? Robotic missions aren't the only way Martian rock has made it's way to Earth. Rare meteorites from Mars can be used to test how life would grow in Martian soil. Just how old is the Jezero crater? Can you date a crater without doing detailed tests? How does measuring lunar craters help us put a date on the age of Martian craters like Jezero?

  1. T. Milojevic, M. Albu, D. Kölbl, G. Kothleitner, R. Bruner, M. Morgan. Chemolithotrophy on the Noachian Martian breccia NWA 7034 via experimental microbial biotransformationCommunications Earth & Environment, 2021 DOI: 10.1038/s43247-021-00105-x
  2. Cassata, W. S., Cohen, B. E., Mark, D. F., Trappitsch, R., Crow, C. A., Wimpenny, J., . . . Smith, C. L. (2018). Chronology of martian breccia nwa 7034 and the formation of the martian crustal dichotomyScience Advances, 4(5). doi:10.1126/sciadv.aap8306
  3. Simone Marchi. A new martian crater chronology: Implications for Jezero craterThe Astronomical Journal, 2021 [abstract]
January 18, 2021

Episode 414 - The active life and dramatic death of galaxies

Can a galaxy really die? What would that even look like? We know that stars can erupt into supernova, form black holes or fade away but what happens to old galaxies? What happens to a galaxy when it looses all it's fuel for growing new stars? Which galaxies are the most active and pulsing with light? Active galaxies often shine vibrantly from their core, but what causes periodic bursts of energy. NASA Goddarrd researchers have discovered the 'Old Faithful' of Galaxies.

  1. Annagrazia Puglisi, Emanuele Daddi, Marcella Brusa, Frederic Bournaud, Jeremy Fensch, Daizhong Liu, Ivan Delvecchio, Antonello Calabrò, Chiara Circosta, Francesco Valentino, Michele Perna, Shuowen Jin, Andrea Enia, Chiara Mancini, Giulia Rodighiero. A titanic interstellar medium ejection from a massive starburst galaxy at redshift 1.4Nature Astronomy, 2021; DOI: 10.1038/s41550-020-01268-x
  2. ASA/Goddard Space Flight Center. (2021, January 12). An 'old faithful' active galaxy: Black hole rips away at star. ScienceDaily. Retrieved January 15, 2021 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2021/01/210112125154.htm