Luke Jerram's Mars

27 July 2021, 12.00 AM - 1 August 2021, 12.00 AM

Wills Memorial Building

The School of Earth Sciences supports Luke Jerram's 'Mars' exhibition at the University of Bristol (27th July and 1st August, book via eventbrite) by showcasing some of its fabulous scientists who study Mars and other planetary systems. 

Hot off the press: Mars InSight: mission unveils surprising secrets of red planet’s interior. Anna Horleston and Jessica Irving wrote a summary of what has just been found deep inside Mars in this article in The Conversation.

Mars Rover Perseverance exploring the red planet. Mission to explore the red planet. search for traces of life. Elements of image furnished by NASA

Dr Anna Horleston @SeismoAnna

Anna is a planetary seismologist and currently works on the NASA Insight Mission. InSight is a Mars Lander that launched on May 5th 2018 and arrived on Mars on November 26th 2018. It deployed a seismic station on the surface of Mars, containing both broadband and short period sensors. The mission is looking for tectonic and impact events and aims to determine the structure of Mars and improve our understanding of planetary formation. Anna is currently co-lead of the MarsQuake Service and spends her days analysing the data that is returned each day and helping produce and manage the catalogue of marsquakes. More about Anna, her research, and passion for science communication and talking space with the public or in schools can be found here.

Dr Jessica Irving @jess_irving 

Jessica Irving is a seismologist, using a variety of different seismic techniques to probe planetary interiors. A Participating Scientist on the InSight team, she is especially interested in the core and deep mantle of Mars and how these compare to their higher pressure terrestrial equivalents. On Earth, Jessica has worked on understanding the seismic properties of the iron-rich core and silicate (rock) mantle, and how these can teach us about the evolution of Earth’s interior. She is also involved in research using floating “MERMAID” seismometers, which provide seismic records from distant ocean regions where land-based seismology is impossible.

Dr Robert Myhill @bobmyhill

Bob's research is focused on the thermal and chemical evolution of the rocky planets, from their initial formation to the present day. He is particularly interested in "hidden" processes such as deep deformation and chemical reactions that we can never observe directly, but that are intimately connected to the surface that we can see through volcanism and plate tectonics. He studies these processes through a combination of high pressure experiments, seismic observations and computer simulations. 
Like Anna, Bob is also a member of NASA's InSight Science Team. He is delighted by the new constraints on Mars' deformation and interior structure, and excited to use these to piece together the hidden history of the Red Planet.
Dr Nick Teanby 

Nick researches the application of geophysical techniques to solve planetary science problems. He says: "Sometimes you just have to go with the exploration and see where it takes you. If we could predict everything beforehand it would be a lot less fun." Nick studies the atmospheres of Titan, Saturn, Jupiter, Uranus, Neptune, and Mars using both space-based and ground-based instruments such as Cassini, ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter, the Atacama Large Millimeter/sub-millimeter Array, and Herschel. Like Anna, Nick also supports the NASA's InSight mission to Mars. Nick's honest summary of how he became a planetary scientist, is journey and his passion is worth a read and you can find out about his research projects and publications: here.

Dr Melody Sylvestre

Melody studies the atmosphere of Titan, Saturn's biggest moon. Titan's atmosphere has unique characteristics in the Solar System. It is the only atmosphere detected around a moon. It also the only place where a cycle analogous to Earth's water cycle has been observed: evaporation from Titan's methane seas forms methane clouds, which gives birth to methane rains which form methane rivers which go back into the methane seas. Titan's atmosphere also features a very complex chemistry. As the different gases react further together, they form more and more complex organics and eventually solid particles in suspension in the atmosphere, known as hazes. These hazes are responsible for the nearly uniform yellow/orange appearance of Titan. More about Melody's work: here.

Dr Tim Tompkinson

Tim studies the extraterrestrial formation of alteration minerals within Martian meteorites. These hydrous mineral assemblages provide an opportunity to gain key insights into the past Martian fluid reservoirs (hydrosphere) and the ancient atmosphere of Mars. He builds on previous investigations by employing a new radioisotopic dating program and geochemical characterization. More about his projects and publications: here.

Dr James Wookey

James' research is in seismology with an emphasis on seismic anisotropy. This property - the variation of seismic velocity with direction - can be used to infer dynamical and mineralogical properties in a variety of settings from hydrocarbon reservoirs to the Earth's mantle. He is working with others in Bristol and beyond to apply this to the Mars InSight seismic data. This involves developing, implementing and applying both novel data analysis and forward-modelling techniques. More about his projects and publications can be found here.

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