Sending Humans to Mars

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What will it take to get humans to Mars? Science writer Andrew Fazekas sits down with two Mars experts, Jedidah Isler and Ray Arvidson, to talk about the challenges we face getting to and establishing a permanent settlement on the red planet.

Pathfinder Program in Environmental Sustainability

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Dr. Raymond Arvidson, a prominent Mars researcher, created the Pathfinder Program for incoming freshmen at Washington University. Every year, 18 freshmen become Pathfinders, embarking on adventures outside the classroom as they learn about environmental sustainability. Eventually, some Pathfinders play a significant role in Mars research.

Life on Pluto?

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William McKinnon, professor of earth and planetary sciences in Arts & Sciences at Washington University in St. Louis and a co-author on two of four new Pluto studies published Dec. 1 in Nature, argues that beneath the heart-shaped region on Pluto known as Sputnik Planitia there lies an ocean laden with ammonia.

What’s up with Madagascar?

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Michael Wysession, professor of earth and planetary sciences at Washington University in St. Louis, explains why there are volcanoes on Madagascar, an island that isn’t near any tectonic boundaries.

Professor McKinnon on YouTube with Pluto

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Dr. Bill McKinnon of Washington University suspected a liquid ocean beneath the surface of Pluto, published remarkable findings about Pluto that surpassed expectations about the dwarf planet and explained how a large section of Pluto’s nitrogen ice surface is renewed by a process called convection.

Reaching the Final Frontier: NASA’s New Horizons Mission to Pluto…and Beyond!

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William McKinnon of Washington University has a long career as a planetary scientist that has been marked by a series of exciting discoveries and new explorations.

A terrible rift

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Doug Wiens, professor of earth and planetary sciences in Arts & Sciences at Washington University in St. Louis, and Weisen Shen, a postdoctoral research associate with Wiens, installed a seismometer to investigate the Midcontinent Rift and presented seismic images of the rift at the annual meeting of the Geological Society of America (GSA) Sept. 25-28.

Professor Arvidson wins Lester W. Strock Award from the Society of Applied Spectroscopy

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Raymond Arvidson, earth and planetary science professor at Washington University in St. Louis, received the Lester W. Strock Award, which is given by the New England Section of the Society of Applied Spectroscopy in recognition of a selected publication of substantive research in/or application of analytical atomic spectrochemistry in the fields of earth science, life sciences, or stellar and cosmic sciences.

Moon condensed from Earth's mantle

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Kun Wang, assistant professor in Earth and Planetary Sciences in Arts & Sciences at Washington University in St. Louis, reported isotopic differences between lunar and terrestrial rocks that provide the first experimental evidence that can discriminate between the two leading models for the moon’s origin.

Martin's Antarctic field season blog (2016-2017)

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Martin J. Pratt, research scientist having recently completed my PhD at Washington University in St. Louis, software developer for the Fossett Laboratory for Virtual Planetary Exploration at WashU, embraced augmented reality platforms in order to display complex concepts within the Earth Sciences.

Steaming a planet

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Bruce Fegley and Katharina Lodders-Fegley, respectively professor and research professor in earth and planetary sciences in Arts & Sciences at Washington University in St. Louis, published models of the chemistry of a steam atmosphere in equilibrium with a magma ocean at various temperatures and pressures, which provided some suggestions for planet hunters.

Mapping sinkholes

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Washington University geologists mapped the huge, branching drainage system that underlies the plain that is called Fogelpole Cave, located just below the notch in the west side of Illinois, where Mississippian limestones are exposed at the surface.