Latest News

Ancient Mars may have been too cold for liquid water

Posted by on Apr 16, 2014 in News | Comments Off

Ancient Mars may have been too cold for liquid water

By simulating hundreds of impacts in Mars’ equatorial region, a team of scientists have determined that the ancient Martian atmosphere was likely too thin to support flowing liquid water on the planet’s surface.  The team, including iPLEX researcher Jean-Pierre Williams, identified and catalogued hundreds of large craters near the Martian equator.  They then used a computer simulation to calculate what atmospheric density would have caused the range of craters observed.  They concluded that the Martian atmosphere was 150 times...

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Misleading mineral may have resulted in overestimate of water in moon

Posted by on Apr 1, 2014 in News | Comments Off

Misleading mineral may have resulted in overestimate of water in moon

By Kim DeRose The amount of water present in the moon may have been overestimated by scientists studying the mineral apatite, says a team of researchers led by Jeremy Boyce of the UCLA Department of Earth, Planetary and Space Sciences. Boyce and his colleagues created a computer model to accurately predict how apatite would have crystallized from cooling bodies of lunar magma early in the moon’s history. Their simulations revealed that the unusually hydrogen-rich apatite crystals observed in many lunar rock samples may not have formed...

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Dawn Mission Wins National Air and Space Museum Trophy

Posted by on Mar 31, 2014 in News | Comments Off

Dawn Mission Wins National Air and Space Museum Trophy

On March 26, the Dawn Mission team was awarded the 2014 Trophy for Current Achievement, the Smithsonian’s highest honor bestowed on groups.  The Dawn probe is the first to explore asteroids within our solar system’s main belt up close.  UCLA Professor Christopher T. Russell, an iPLEX member, is the principal investigator for the Dawn mission and traveled to Washington D.C. to receive the award. Read more about the award at the UCLA Newsroom.  Find out more about Dawn on their mission...

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Dwarf planet discovered far beyond the orbit of Pluto

Posted by on Mar 28, 2014 in News | Comments Off

Dwarf planet discovered far beyond the orbit of Pluto

A new dwarf planet has been discovered in the ‘interplanetary no man’s land’ found between the Kuiper Belt and the Oort Cloud that astronomers originally thought was just empty space.  The new planet called 2012 VP113 is 280 miles across and orbits at a distance of 80 astronomical units  (AU),where an AU is the distance from the Earth to the Sun.  This orbit takes the new planet far beyond the Kuiper Belt which stretches between 30 and 55 AU.  Pluto, a Kuiper Belt Object, never orbits further than 49 AU from the Sun. ...

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Invite UCLA volunteers to your school

Posted by on Mar 16, 2014 in Featured, News, Outreach | Comments Off

Invite UCLA volunteers to your school

Are you an educator or youth group leader interested in sharing the excitement of astronomy and planetary science with your students?  Submit a request to have volunteers visit your school or apply to bring your class to UCLA.  Our outreach events include hands-on activities for all ages ranging from building bottle rockets to gazing through solar telescopes. Our list of outreach activities details the hands-on science demos that can be brought to your classroom.  For more specific information about any of these activities and how to...

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Research team discovers slowly disintegrating asteroid

Posted by on Mar 9, 2014 in Featured, News | Comments Off

Research team discovers slowly disintegrating asteroid

A research team led by iPLEX Director Dave Jewitt has discovered an asteroid between Mars and Jupiter that appears to be slowly breaking apart.  In the original lower-resolution images taken, asteroid P/2013 R3 appeared strangely fuzzy.  A closer inspection with the W.M. Keck observatory and the Hubble Space Telescope revealed the asteroid was in fact composed of several fragments moving away from each other at a rate of 1 mile per hour.  These fragments are surrounded by a cloud of dust the size of Earth, with the largest pieces about...

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THEMIS and ELFIN teams share research with local elementary school

Posted by on Feb 19, 2014 in News, Outreach | Comments Off

THEMIS and ELFIN teams share research with local elementary school

The THEMIS and ELFIN spacecraft teams shared their research with students and parents at Nora Sterry Elementary School during their Science, Literacy, and Math event on Friday, February 14th.  THEMIS outreach coordinator Emmanuel Masongsong delighted young students with magnetic demos and his recently constructed planeterrella, while ELFIN member Kyle Colton shared hands-on demos focused on electricity and satellite communication. iPLEX is actively seeking K-12 educators who would be interested in astronomy or planetary science presentations...

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Professor Tripati honored with Early Career Development Award

Posted by on Feb 11, 2014 in News | Comments Off

Professor Tripati honored with Early Career Development Award

Prof. Aradhna Tripati has been honored by the National Science Foundation with an Early Career Development Award.  This award is the most prestigious given to junior faculty by the NSF and honors professors who are both exemplary researchers and dedicated educators.  You can read more about the award and about Prof. Tripati’s research accomplishments and future plans at UCLA...

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Graduate student honored with prestigious academic award

Posted by on Jan 13, 2014 in News | Comments Off

Graduate student honored with prestigious academic award

Graduate student Beth Ann Bell was honored at the fall meeting of the American Geophysical Union (AGU) as one of only 8 students to win an Outstanding Student Paper Award (OSPA) in the Volcanology, Geochemistry, and Petrology section.  OSPAs are awarded to only the top 3-5% of presenters in each section in recognition of high quality research in the geophysical sciences.  Beth Ann received the award for her paper “Late Hadean-Eoarchean transitions in crustal evolution from Hf isotopic evidence in the Jack Hills zircons”.  Beth...

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UCLA Meteorite Museum Gives Space Rocks Center Stage

Posted by on Jan 10, 2014 in Featured, News | Comments Off

UCLA Meteorite Museum Gives Space Rocks Center Stage

The grand opening of the recently remodeled UCLA Meteorite Museum on January 10, 2013 puts UCLA’s impressive collection of space rocks on display for members of the public.  Read more about the UCLA Meteorite Collection and the new museum here. For those planning to visit the museum located in Geology 3697, be sure to check out the museum schedule for hours and other information.  Admission is free and normal visiting hours are 9am-4pm on weekdays and 1-4pm on every other Saturday and...

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