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  • richardmitnick 9:22 am on January 15, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Oxygen ions in Jupiter's innermost radiation belts", , , Planetary Science, Researchers find high-energy oxygen and sulfur ions in Jupiter's inner radiation belts-and a previously unknown ion source., The MPG Institute for Solar System Research [MPG Institut für Sonnensystemforschung](DE)   

    From The MPG Institute for Solar System Research [MPG Institut für Sonnensystemforschung](DE): “Oxygen ions in Jupiter’s innermost radiation belts” 

    From The MPG Institute for Solar System Research [MPG Institut für Sonnensystemforschung](DE)

    January 12, 2022
    Dr. Birgit Krummheuer
    Media and Public Relations
    +49 173 3958625
    Krummheuer@mps.mpg.de.
    Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research, Göttingen

    Dr. Elias Roussos
    +49 551 394979-457
    Roussos@mps.mpg.de
    Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research, Göttingen

    Dr. Norbert Krupp
    +49 551 384979-154
    Krupp@mps.mpg.de..
    Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research, Göttingen

    Researchers find high-energy oxygen and sulfur ions in Jupiter’s inner radiation belts-and a previously unknown ion source.

    1
    From 1995 to 2003, NASA’s Galileo spacecraft explored the Jupiter system. Its final orbits took the probe deep into the giant planet’s innermost radiation belts, where it also performed a close flyby of Amalthea. Credit: Michael Carroll.

    National Aeronautics and Space Administration(US) Galileo Spacecraft 1989-2003.

    Nearly 20 years after the end of NASA’s Galileo mission to Jupiter, scientists led by the MPG Institute for Solar System Research (MPS) in Germany have unlocked a new secret from the mission’s extensive data sets. For the first time, the research team was able to determine beyond doubt that the high-energy ions surrounding the gas giant as part of its inner radiation belt are primarily oxygen and sulfur ions. They are thought to have originated in volcanic eruptions on Jupiter’s moon Io. Near the orbit of the moon Amalthea, which orbits Jupiter further inward, the team discovered an unexpectedly high concentration of high-energy oxygen ions that cannot be explained by Io’s volcanic activity. A previously unknown ion source must be at work here. The results of the study were published today in the journal Science Advances.

    Planets like Earth, Jupiter, and Saturn with global magnetic fields of their own are surrounded by so-called radiation belts: Trapped in the magnetic field, fast moving charged particles such as electrons, protons, and heavier ions whiz around thus forming the invisible, torus-shaped radiation belts.

    Van Allen Radiation belts

    With their high velocities reaching almost the speed of light, the particles can ionize other molecules when they collide, creating a hazardous environment that can also be dangerous to space probes and their instruments. In this respect, the gas giant Jupiter sports the most extreme radiation belts in the Solar System. In their new publication, researchers from the MPS, The California Institute of Technology (US), The Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory (US), The Laboratory of Instrumentation and Experimental Particle Physics [Laboratório de Instrumentação e Física Experimental de Partículas](PT), and The Academy of Athens [Ακαδημία Αθηνών](GR) now present the most comprehensive study to date of the heavy ions in Jupiter’s inner radiation belts.

    Like Jupiter’s massive magnetic field, its radiation belts extend several million kilometers into space; however, the region within the moon’s orbit of Europa, an area with a radius of about 670,000 kilometers around the gas giant, is the scene of the highest energetic particle densities and velocities. Viewed from Jupiter, Europa is the second of the four large Jovian satellites named “Galilean moons” after their 17th century discoverer. Io is the innermost Galilean moon. With the space probes Pioneer 11 in the mid-1970s, Galileo from 1995 to 2003 [above], and currently Juno, three space missions have so far ventured into this innermost part of these radiation belts and performed in-situ measurements.

    NASA Pioneer 11.

    National Aeronautics Space Agency(USA) Juno at Jupiter.

    “Unfortunately, the data from Pioneer 11 and Juno do not allow us to conclude beyond doubt what kind of ions the spacecraft encountered there,” says MPS scientist Dr. Elias Roussos, lead author of the new study, describing the current state of research. “Therefore, their energies and origin were also unclear until now,” he adds. Only the now rediscovered data from the last months of the Galileo mission is detailed enough to improve this situation.

    Venturing into the inner radiation belts

    NASA’s Galileo spacecraft reached the Jupiter system in 1995. Equipped with the Heavy Ion Counter (HIC), contributed by the California Institute of Technology, and the Energetic Particle Detector (EPD), developed and built by Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory in collaboration with the MPS, the mission spent the following eight years providing fundamental insights into the distribution and dynamics of charged particles around the gas giant. However, to protect the spacecraft, it initially flew solely through the outer, less extreme regions of the radiation belts. Only in 2003, shortly before the end of the mission, when a greater risk was justifiable, Galileo ventured into the innermost region within the orbits of the moons Amalthea and Thebe. Viewed from Jupiter, Amalthea and Thebe are the third and fourth moons of the giant planet. The orbits of Io and Europa lie farther outward.

    “Because of the exposure to strong radiation, it was to be expected that the measurement data from HIC and EPD from the inner region of the radiation belt would be heavily corrupted. After all, neither of these two instruments was specifically designed to operate in such a harsh environment”, Roussos describes his expectations when he started working on the current study three years ago. Nevertheless, the researcher wanted to see for himself. As a member of NASA’s Cassini mission, he had witnessed Cassini’s final, similarly daring orbits at Saturn two years earlier and analyzed the unique data from that final mission phase. “The thought of the long-completed Galileo mission kept coming to my mind,” Roussos recalls. To his own surprise, among many unusable data sets there were also some that could be processed and analyzed with much effort.

    Enigmatic oxygen ions

    2
    While the high-energy oxygen and sulfur ions outside Amalthea’s orbit are supplied from the distant magnetosphere as byproducts of Io’s volcanic eruptions, another source must be responsible for the high concentration of high-energy oxygen ions inward of Amalthea, which prevents the transmission of such ions across its orbit. Credit: MPS.

    With the help of this scientific treasure, the authors of the current study have now been able to determine for the first time the ion composition within the inner radiation belts, as well as the ions’ velocities and spatial distribution. In contrast to the radiation belts of Earth and Saturn, which are dominated by protons, the region within the orbit of Io also contains large amounts of the much heavier oxygen and sulfur ions, with oxygen ions prevailing among the two. “The energy distribution of the heavy ions outside the orbit of Amalthea suggests that they are largely introduced from a more distant region of the radiations belts,” Roussos says. The moon Io with its more than 400 active volcanoes, which repeatedly hurl large amounts of sulfur and sulfur dioxide into space, and to a lesser extent, Europa, are likely the main sources.

    Further inward, within Amalthea’s orbit, the ion composition changes drastically in favor of oxygen. “The concentration and the energy of oxygen ions there is much higher than expected,” Roussos says. Actually, the concentration should be decreasing in this region, as the moons Amalthea and Thebe absorb incoming ions; the two small moons’ orbits thus form a kind of natural ion barrier. This behavior is, for example, known from radiation belts of the Saturnian system with its many moons.

    The only explanation for the increased concentration of oxygen ions is therefore another, local source in the innermost region of the radiation belts. The release of oxygen following the collisions of sulfur ions with the fine dust particles of Jupiter’s rings constitute one possibility, as the researchers’ computer simulations show. The rings, which are much fainter than the Saturnian ones, extend approximately as far as the orbit of Thebe. However, it is also conceivable that low-frequency electromagnetic waves in the magnetospheric environment of the innermost radiation belts heat oxygen ions to the observed energies.

    “Currently, it is not possible to distinguish in favor of either of these possible sources,” Roussos says. Any of these two candidate mechanisms, nevertheless, have parallels to high energy particle production in stellar or extrasolar environments, further establishing that Jupiter’s radiation belts extend into the astrophysical realm, a fact that the researcher hopes would justify their future exploration with a dedicated space mission.

    See the full article here .

    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    The MPG Institute for Solar System Research [MPG Institut für Sonnensystemforschung] (DE) has had an eventful history – with several moves, changes of name, and structural developments. The first prototype of the current institute was founded in 1934 in Mecklenburg; it moved to Katlenburg-Lindau in 1946. Not just the location of the buildings changed – the topic of research also moved, from Earth to outer space. In the first decades the focus of research was the stratosphere and ionosphere of the Earth, but since 1997 the institute exclusively researches the physics of planets and the Sun. In January 2014 the Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research has relocated to it’s new home: a new building in Göttingen close to the Northern Campus of the University of Göttingen [Georg-August-Universität Göttingen] (DE).

    MPG Institute for the Advancement of Science [MPG zur Förderung der Wissenschaften e. V](DE) is Germany’s most successful research organization. Since its establishment in 1948, no fewer than 18 Nobel laureates have emerged from the ranks of its scientists, putting it on a par with the best and most prestigious research institutions worldwide. The more than 15,000 publications each year in internationally renowned scientific journals are proof of the outstanding research work conducted at MPG Institutes – and many of those articles are among the most-cited publications in the relevant field.

    What is the basis of this success? The scientific attractiveness of the MPG Society is based on its understanding of research: MPG institutes are built up solely around the world’s leading researchers. They themselves define their research subjects and are given the best working conditions, as well as free reign in selecting their staff. This is the core of the Harnack principle, which dates back to Adolph von Harnack, the first president of the Kaiser Wilhelm Society, which was established in 1911. This principle has been successfully applied for nearly one hundred years. The MPG Society continues the tradition of its predecessor institution with this structural principle of the person-centered research organization.

    The currently 83 MPG Institutes and facilities conduct basic research in the service of the general public in the natural sciences, life sciences, social sciences, and the humanities. MPG Institutes focus on research fields that are particularly innovative, or that are especially demanding in terms of funding or time requirements. And their research spectrum is continually evolving: new institutes are established to find answers to seminal, forward-looking scientific questions, while others are closed when, for example, their research field has been widely established at universities. This continuous renewal preserves the scope the Max Planck Society needs to react quickly to pioneering scientific developments.

    MPG Society for the Advancement of Science [MPG Gesellschaft zur Förderung der Wissenschaften e. V.] is a formally independent non-governmental and non-profit association of German research institutes founded in 1911 as the Kaiser Wilhelm Society and renamed the MPG Society in 1948 in honor of its former president, theoretical physicist Max Planck. The society is funded by the federal and state governments of Germany as well as other sources.

    According to its primary goal, the MPG Society supports fundamental research in the natural, life and social sciences, the arts and humanities in its 83 (as of January 2014) MPG institutes. The society has a total staff of approximately 17,000 permanent employees, including 5,470 scientists, plus around 4,600 non-tenured scientists and guests. Society budget for 2015 was about €1.7 billion.

    The MPG Institutes focus on excellence in research. The MPG Society has a world-leading reputation as a science and technology research organization, with 33 Nobel Prizes awarded to their scientists, and is generally regarded as the foremost basic research organization in Europe and the world. In 2013, the Nature Publishing Index placed the MPG institutes fifth worldwide in terms of research published in Nature journals (after Harvard University (US), Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US), Stanford University (US) and the National Institutes of Health (US)). In terms of total research volume (unweighted by citations or impact), the MPG Society is only outranked by the Chinese Academy of Sciences [中国科学院] (CN), the Russian Academy of Sciences [Росси́йская акаде́мия нау́к](RU) and Harvard University. The Thomson Reuters-Science Watch website placed the Max Planck Society as the second leading research organization worldwide following Harvard University, in terms of the impact of the produced research over science fields.

    [The blog owner wishes to editorialize: I do not think all of this boasting is warranted when the combined forces of the MPG Society are being weighed against individual universities and institutions. It is not the combined forces of the cited schools and institutions, that could make some sense. No, it is each separate institution standing on its own.]

    The MPG Society and its predecessor Kaiser Wilhelm Society hosted several renowned scientists in their fields, including Otto Hahn, Werner Heisenberg, and Albert Einstein.

    History

    The organization was established in 1911 as the Kaiser Wilhelm Society, or Kaiser-Wilhelm-Gesellschaft (KWG), a non-governmental research organization named for the then German emperor. The KWG was one of the world’s leading research organizations; its board of directors included scientists like Walther Bothe, Peter Debye, Albert Einstein, and Fritz Haber. In 1946, Otto Hahn assumed the position of President of KWG, and in 1948, the society was renamed the MPG Society after its former President (1930–37) Max Planck, who died in 1947.

    The MPG Society has a world-leading reputation as a science and technology research organization. In 2006, the Times Higher Education Supplement rankings of non-university research institutions (based on international peer review by academics) placed the MPG Society as No.1 in the world for science research, and No.3 in technology research (behind AT&T Corporation and the DOE’s Argonne National Laboratory (US).

    The domain mpg.de attracted at least 1.7 million visitors annually by 2008 according to a Compete.com study.

    MPG Institutes and research groups

    The MPG Society consists of over 80 research institutes. In addition, the society funds a number of MPG Research Groups (MPRG) and International MPG Research Schools (IMPRS). The purpose of establishing independent research groups at various universities is to strengthen the required networking between universities and institutes of the MPG Society.

    The research units are primarily located across Europe with a few in South Korea and the U.S. In 2007, the Society established its first non-European centre, with an institute on the Jupiter campus of Florida Atlantic University (US) focusing on neuroscience.

    The MPG Institutes operate independently from, though in close cooperation with, the universities, and focus on innovative research which does not fit into the university structure due to their interdisciplinary or transdisciplinary nature or which require resources that cannot be met by the state universities.

    Internally, MPG Institutes are organized into research departments headed by directors such that each MPG institute has several directors, a position roughly comparable to anything from full professor to department head at a university. Other core members include Junior and Senior Research Fellows.

    In addition, there are several associated institutes:

    International Max Planck Research Schools
    Together with the Association of Universities and other Education Institutions in Germany, the MPG Society established numerous International Max Planck Research Schools (IMPRS) to promote junior scientists:

    Cologne Graduate School of Ageing Research, Cologne
    International Max Planck Research School for Intelligent Systems, at the MPG Institute for Intelligent Systems (DE) located in Tübingen and Stuttgart
    International Max Planck Research School on Adapting Behavior in a Fundamentally Uncertain World (Uncertainty School), at the Max Planck Institutes for Economics, for Human Development, and/or Research on Collective Goods
    International Max Planck Research School for Analysis, Design and Optimization in Chemical and Biochemical Process Engineering, Magdeburg
    International Max Planck Research School for Astronomy and Cosmic Physics, Heidelberg at the MPG for Astronomy
    International Max Planck Research School for Astrophysics, Garching at the MPG Institute for Astrophysics
    International Max Planck Research School for Complex Surfaces in Material Sciences, Berlin
    International Max Planck Research School for Computer Science, Saarbrücken
    International Max Planck Research School for Earth System Modeling, Hamburg
    International Max Planck Research School for Elementary Particle Physics, Munich, at the MPG Institute for Physics
    International Max Planck Research School for Environmental, Cellular and Molecular Microbiology, Marburg at the MPG Institute for Terrestrial Microbiology
    International Max Planck Research School for Evolutionary Biology, Plön at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Biology
    International Max Planck Research School “From Molecules to Organisms”, Tübingen at the MPG Institute for Developmental Biology
    International Max Planck Research School for Global Biogeochemical Cycles, Jena at the Max Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry
    International Max Planck Research School on Gravitational Wave Astronomy, Hannover and Potsdam MPG Institute for Gravitational Physics
    International Max Planck Research School for Heart and Lung Research, Bad Nauheim at the MPG Institute for Heart and Lung Research
    International Max Planck Research School for Infectious Diseases and Immunity, Berlin at the Max Planck Institute for Infection Biology
    International Max Planck Research School for Language Sciences, Nijmegen
    International Max Planck Research School for Neurosciences, Göttingen
    International Max Planck Research School for Cognitive and Systems Neuroscience, Tübingen
    International Max Planck Research School for Marine Microbiology (MarMic), joint program of the MPG Institute for Marine Microbiology in Bremen, the University of Bremen [Universität Bremen](DE), the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research in Bremerhaven, and the Jacobs University Bremen [Jacobs Universität Bremen] (DE)
    International Max Planck Research School for Maritime Affairs, Hamburg
    International Max Planck Research School for Molecular and Cellular Biology, Freiburg
    International Max Planck Research School for Molecular and Cellular Life Sciences, Munich
    International Max Planck Research School for Molecular Biology, Göttingen
    International Max Planck Research School for Molecular Cell Biology and Bioengineering, Dresden
    International Max Planck Research School Molecular Biomedicine, program combined with the ‘Graduate Programm Cell Dynamics And Disease’ at the University of Münster [Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster] (DE) and the MPG Institute for Molecular Biomedicine (DE)
    International Max Planck Research School on Multiscale Bio-Systems, Potsdam
    International Max Planck Research School for Organismal Biology, at the University of Konstanz [Universität Konstanz] (DE) and the MPG Institute for Ornithology (DE)
    International Max Planck Research School on Reactive Structure Analysis for Chemical Reactions (IMPRS RECHARGE), Mülheim an der Ruhr, at the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Energy Conversion (DE)
    International Max Planck Research School for Science and Technology of Nano-Systems, Halle at MPG Institute of Microstructure Physics (DE)
    International Max Planck Research School for Solar System Science at the University of Göttingen – Georg-August-Universität Göttingen (DE) hosted by MPG Institute for Solar System Research [Max-Planck-Institut für Sonnensystemforschung] (DE)
    International Max Planck Research School for Astronomy and Astrophysics, Bonn, at the MPG Institute for Radio Astronomy [MPG Institut für Radioastronomie](DE) (formerly the International Max Planck Research School for Radio and Infrared Astronomy)
    International Max Planck Research School for the Social and Political Constitution of the Economy, Cologne
    International Max Planck Research School for Surface and Interface Engineering in Advanced Materials, Düsseldorf at MPG Institute for Iron Research [MPG Institut für Eisenforschung] (DE)
    International Max Planck Research School for Ultrafast Imaging and Structural Dynamics, Hamburg

    Research School Molecular Biomedicine, program combined with the ‘Graduate Programm Cell Dynamics And Disease’ at the University of Münster (DE) and the MPG Institute for Molecular Biomedicine (DE)
    International Max Planck Research School on Multiscale Bio-Systems, Potsdam
    International Max Planck Research School for Organismal Biology, at the University of Konstanz (DE) and the MPG Institute for Ornithology (DE)
    International Max Planck Research School on Reactive Structure Analysis for Chemical Reactions (IMPRS RECHARGE), Mülheim an der Ruhr, at the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Energy Conversion (DE)
    International Max Planck Research School for Science and Technology of Nano-Systems, Halle at MPG Institute of Microstructure Physics (DE)
    International Max Planck Research School for Solar System Science[49] at theUniversity of Göttingen – Georg-August-Universität Göttingen (DE) hosted by MPG Institute for Solar System Research [Max-Planck-Institut für Sonnensystemforschung] (DE)
    International Max Planck Research School for Astronomy and Astrophysics, Bonn, at the MPG Institute for Radio Astronomy [MPG Institut für Radioastronomie](DE) (formerly the International Max Planck Research School for Radio and Infrared Astronomy)
    International Max Planck Research School for the Social and Political Constitution of the Economy, Cologne
    International Max Planck Research School for Surface and Interface Engineering in Advanced Materials, Düsseldorf at MPG Institute for Iron Research [MPG Institut für Eisenforschung] (DE)
    International Max Planck Research School for Ultrafast Imaging and Structural Dynamics, Hamburg

     
  • richardmitnick 9:21 am on January 8, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Earth isn’t ‘super’ because the sun had rings before planets", Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array, Planetary Science, ,   

    From Rice University (US) : “Earth isn’t ‘super’ because the sun had rings before planets” 

    From Rice University (US)

    Jan. 4, 2022

    Jeff Falk
    713-348-6775
    jfalk@rice.edu

    Jade Boyd
    713-348-6778
    jadeboyd@rice.edu

    1
    The addition of false color to an image captured by the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array, or ALMA, reveals a series of rings around a young star named HD163296. Image courtesy of Andrea Isella/Rice University.

    European Southern Observatory/National Radio Astronomy Observatory(US)/National Astronomical Observatory of Japan(JP) ALMA Observatory (CL).

    Before the solar system had planets, the sun had rings — bands of dust and gas similar to Saturn’s rings — that likely played a role in Earth’s formation, according to a new study.

    “In the solar system, something happened to prevent the Earth from growing to become a much larger type of terrestrial planet called a super-Earth ,” said Rice University astrophysicist André Izidoro, referring to the massive rocky planets seen around at least 30% of sun-like stars in our galaxy.

    Izidoro and colleagues used a supercomputer to simulate the solar system’s formation hundreds of times. Their model, which is described in a study published online in Nature Astronomy, produced rings like those seen around many distant, young stars. It also faithfully reproduced several features of the solar system missed by many previous models, including:

    An asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter containing objects from both the inner and outer solar system.

    ● The locations and stable, almost circular orbits of Earth, Mars, Venus and Mercury.

    ● The masses of the inner planets, including Mars, which many solar system models overestimate.

    ● The dichotomy between the chemical makeup of objects in the inner and outer solar system.

    ● A Kuiper belt region of comets, asteroids and small bodies beyond the orbit of Neptune.

    Kuiper Belt. Minor Planet Center.

    The study by astronomers, astrophysicists and planetary scientists from Rice, The University of Bordeaux [Université de Bordeaux](FR), The Southwest Research Institute (US), and The MPG Institute for Astronomy [MPG Institut für Astronomie](DE), draws on the latest astronomical research on infant star systems.

    Their model assumes three bands of high pressure arose within the young sun’s disk of gas and dust. Such “pressure bumps” have been observed in ringed stellar disks around distant stars, and the study explains how pressure bumps and rings could account for the solar system’s architecture, said lead author Izidoro, a Rice postdoctoral researchers who received his Ph.D. training at The São Paulo State University [Universidade Estadual Paulista “Júlio de Mesquita Filho”](BR).

    “If super-Earths are super-common, why don’t we have one in the solar system?” Izidoro said. “We propose that pressure bumps produced disconnected reservoirs of disk material in the inner and outer solar system and regulated how much material was available to grow planets in the inner solar system.”

    Pressure bumps

    For decades, scientists believed gas and dust in protoplanetary disks gradually became less dense, dropping smoothly as a function of distance from the star. But computer simulations show planets are unlikely to form in smooth-disk scenarios.

    “In a smooth disk, all solid particles — dust grains or boulders — should be drawn inward very quickly and lost in the star,” said astronomer and study co-author Andrea Isella , an associate professor of physics and astronomy at Rice. “One needs something to stop them in order to give them time to grow into planets.”

    When particles move faster than the gas around them, they “feel a headwind and drift very quickly toward the star,” Izidoro explained. At pressure bumps, gas pressure increases, gas molecules move faster and solid particles stop feeling the headwind. “That’s what allows dust particles to accumulate at pressure bumps,” he said.

    Isella said astronomers have observed pressure bumps and protoplanetary disk rings with the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array, or ALMA [above], an enormous 66-dish radio telescope that came online in Chile in 2013.

    “ALMA is capable of taking very sharp images of young planetary systems that are still forming, and we have discovered that a lot of the protoplanetary disks in these systems are characterized by rings,” Isella said. “The effect of the pressure bump is that it collects dust particles, and that’s why we see rings. These rings are regions where you have more dust particles than in the gaps between rings.”

    Ring formation

    The model by Izidoro and colleagues assumed pressure bumps formed in the early solar system at three places where sunward-falling particles would have released large amounts of vaporized gas.

    “It’s just a function of distance from the star, because temperature is going up as you get closer to the star,” said geochemist and study co-author Rajdeep Dasgupta , the Maurice Ewing Professor of Earth Systems Science at Rice. “The point where the temperature is high enough for ice to be vaporized, for example, is a sublimation line we call the snow line .”

    In the Rice simulations, pressure bumps at the sublimation lines of silicate, water and carbon monoxide produced three distinct rings. At the silicate line, the basic ingredient of sand and glass, silicon dioxide, became vapor. This produced the sun’s nearest ring, where Mercury, Venus, Earth and Mars would later form. The middle ring appeared at the snow line and the farthest ring at the carbon monoxide line.

    Rings birth planetesimals and planets

    2
    An illustration of three distinct, planetesimal-forming rings that could have produced the planets and other features of the solar system, according to a computational model from Rice University. The vaporization of solid silicates, water and carbon monoxide at “sublimation lines” (top) caused “pressure bumps” in the sun’s protoplanetary disk, trapping dust in three distinct rings. As the sun cooled, pressure bumps migrated sunward allowing trapped dust to accumulate into asteroid-sized planetesimals. The chemical composition of objects from the inner ring (NC) differs from the composition of middle- and outer-ring objects (CC). Inner-ring planetesimals produced the inner solar system’s planets (bottom), and planetesimals from the middle and outer rings produced the outer solar system planets and Kuiper Belt (not shown). The asteroid belt formed (top middle) from NC objects contributed by the inner ring (red arrows) and CC objects from the middle ring (white arrows). Image courtesy of Rajdeep Dasgupta.

    Protoplanetary disks cool with age, so sublimation lines would have migrated toward the sun. The study showed this process could allow dust to accumulate into asteroid-sized objects called planetesimals, which could then come together to form planets. Izidoro said previous studies assumed planetesimals could form if dust were sufficiently concentrated, but no model offered a convincing theoretical explanation of how dust might accumulate.

    “Our model shows pressure bumps can concentrate dust, and moving pressure bumps can act as planetesimal factories,” Izidoro said. “We simulate planet formation starting with grains of dust and covering many different stages, from small millimeter-sized grains to planetesimals and then planets.”

    Accounting for cosmochemical signatures, Mars’ mass and the asteroid belt

    Many previous solar system simulations produced versions of Mars as much as 10 times more massive than Earth. The model correctly predicts Mars having about 10% of Earth’s mass because “Mars was born in a low-mass region of the disk,” Izidoro said.

    Dasgupta said the model also provides a compelling explanation for two of the solar system’s cosmochemical mysteries: the marked difference between the chemical compositions of inner- and outer-solar system objects, and the presence of each of those objects in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter.

    Izidoro’s simulations showed the middle ring could account for the chemical dichotomy by preventing outer-system material from entering the inner system. The simulations also produced the asteroid belt in its correct location, and showed it was fed objects from both the inner and outer regions.

    “The most common type of meteorites we get from the asteroid belt are isotopically similar to Mars,” Dasgupta said. “Andre explains why Mars and these ordinary meteorites should have a similar composition. He’s provided a nuanced answer to this question.”

    Pressure-bump timing and super-Earths

    Izidoro said the delayed appearance of the sun’s middle ring in some simulations led to the formation of super-Earths, which points to the importance of pressure-bump timing.

    “By the time the pressure bump formed in those cases, a lot of mass had already invaded the inner system and was available to make super-Earths,” he said. “So the time when this middle pressure bump formed might be a key aspect of the solar system.”

    Izidoro is a postdoctoral research associate in Rice’s Department of Earth, Environment and Planetary Sciences. Additional co-authors include Sean Raymond of the University of Bordeaux, Rogerio Deienno of Southwest Research Institute and Bertram Bitsch of the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy. The research was supported by The National Aeronautics and Space Agency(US)(80NSSC18K0828, 80NSSC21K0387), The ERC: The European Research Council (EU) (757448-PAMDORA), The Brazilian Federal Agency for Support and Evaluation of Graduate Education [CAPES- Coordenação de Aperfeiçoamento de Pessoal de Nível Superior](BR)(88887.310463/2018-00), the Welch Foundation (C-2035) and The National Centre for Scientific Research [Centre national de la recherche scientifique [CNRS](FR) National Planetology Program.

    See the full article here .


    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings


    Stem Education Coalition

    Rice University (US) [formally William Marsh Rice University] is a private research university in Houston, Texas. It is situated on a 300-acre campus near the Houston Museum District and is adjacent to the Texas Medical Center.
    Opened in 1912 after the murder of its namesake William Marsh Rice, Rice is a research university with an undergraduate focus. Its emphasis on education is demonstrated by a small student body and 6:1 student-faculty ratio. The university has a very high level of research activity. Rice is noted for its applied science programs in the fields of artificial heart research, structural chemical analysis, signal processing, space science, and nanotechnology. Rice has been a member of the Association of American Universities (US) since 1985 and is classified among “R1: Doctoral Universities – Very high research activity”.
    The university is organized into eleven residential colleges and eight schools of academic study, including the Wiess School of Natural Sciences, the George R. Brown School of Engineering, the School of Social Sciences, School of Architecture, Shepherd School of Music and the School of Humanities. Rice’s undergraduate program offers more than fifty majors and two dozen minors, and allows a high level of flexibility in pursuing multiple degree programs. Additional graduate programs are offered through the Jesse H. Jones Graduate School of Business and the Susanne M. Glasscock School of Continuing Studies. Rice students are bound by the strict Honor Code, which is enforced by a student-run Honor Council.
    Rice competes in 14 NCAA Division I varsity sports and is a part of Conference USA, often competing with its cross-town rival the University of Houston. Intramural and club sports are offered in a wide variety of activities such as jiu jitsu, water polo, and crew.
    The university’s alumni include more than two dozen Marshall Scholars and a dozen Rhodes Scholars. Given the university’s close links to National Aeronautics Space Agency (US), it has produced a significant number of astronauts and space scientists. In business, Rice graduates include CEOs and founders of Fortune 500 companies; in politics, alumni include congressmen, cabinet secretaries, judges, and mayors. Two alumni have won the Nobel Prize.

    Background

    Rice University’s history began with the demise of Massachusetts businessman William Marsh Rice, who had made his fortune in real estate, railroad development and cotton trading in the state of Texas. In 1891, Rice decided to charter a free-tuition educational institute in Houston, bearing his name, to be created upon his death, earmarking most of his estate towards funding the project. Rice’s will specified the institution was to be “a competitive institution of the highest grade” and that only white students would be permitted to attend. On the morning of September 23, 1900, Rice, age 84, was found dead by his valet, Charles F. Jones, and was presumed to have died in his sleep. Shortly thereafter, a large check made out to Rice’s New York City lawyer, signed by the late Rice, aroused the suspicion of a bank teller, due to the misspelling of the recipient’s name. The lawyer, Albert T. Patrick, then announced that Rice had changed his will to leave the bulk of his fortune to Patrick, rather than to the creation of Rice’s educational institute. A subsequent investigation led by the District Attorney of New York resulted in the arrests of Patrick and of Rice’s butler and valet Charles F. Jones, who had been persuaded to administer chloroform to Rice while he slept. Rice’s friend and personal lawyer in Houston, Captain James A. Baker, aided in the discovery of what turned out to be a fake will with a forged signature. Jones was not prosecuted since he cooperated with the district attorney, and testified against Patrick. Patrick was found guilty of conspiring to steal Rice’s fortune and he was convicted of murder in 1901 (he was pardoned in 1912 due to conflicting medical testimony). Baker helped Rice’s estate direct the fortune, worth $4.6 million in 1904 ($131 million today), towards the founding of what was to be called the Rice Institute, later to become Rice University. The board took control of the assets on April 29 of that year.

    In 1907, the Board of Trustees selected the head of the Department of Mathematics and Astronomy at Princeton University, Edgar Odell Lovett, to head the Institute, which was still in the planning stages. He came recommended by Princeton University (US)‘s president, Woodrow Wilson. In 1908, Lovett accepted the challenge, and was formally inaugurated as the Institute’s first president on October 12, 1912. Lovett undertook extensive research before formalizing plans for the new Institute, including visits to 78 institutions of higher learning across the world on a long tour between 1908 and 1909. Lovett was impressed by such things as the aesthetic beauty of the uniformity of the architecture at the University of Pennsylvania, a theme which was adopted by the Institute, as well as the residential college system at Cambridge University in England, which was added to the Institute several decades later. Lovett called for the establishment of a university “of the highest grade,” “an institution of liberal and technical learning” devoted “quite as much to investigation as to instruction.” [We must] “keep the standards up and the numbers down,” declared Lovett. “The most distinguished teachers must take their part in undergraduate teaching, and their spirit should dominate it all.”
    Establishment and growth

    In 1911, the cornerstone was laid for the Institute’s first building, the Administration Building, now known as Lovett Hall in honor of the founding president. On September 23, 1912, the 12th anniversary of William Marsh Rice’s murder, the William Marsh Rice Institute for the Advancement of Letters, Science, and Art began course work with 59 enrolled students, who were known as the “59 immortals,” and about a dozen faculty. After 18 additional students joined later, Rice’s initial class numbered 77, 48 male and 29 female. Unusual for the time, Rice accepted coeducational admissions from its beginning, but on-campus housing would not become co-ed until 1957.

    Three weeks after opening, a spectacular international academic festival was held, bringing Rice to the attention of the entire academic world.

    Per William Marsh Rice’s will and Rice Institute’s initial charter, the students paid no tuition. Classes were difficult, however, and about half of Rice’s students had failed after the first 1912 term. At its first commencement ceremony, held on June 12, 1916, Rice awarded 35 bachelor’s degrees and one master’s degree. That year, the student body also voted to adopt the Honor System, which still exists today. Rice’s first doctorate was conferred in 1918 on mathematician Hubert Evelyn Bray.

    The Founder’s Memorial Statue, a bronze statue of a seated William Marsh Rice, holding the original plans for the campus, was dedicated in 1930, and installed in the central academic quad, facing Lovett Hall. The statue was crafted by John Angel. In 2020, Rice students petitioned the university to take down the statue due to the founder’s history as slave owner.

    During World War II, Rice Institute was one of 131 colleges and universities nationally that took part in the V-12 Navy College Training Program, which offered students a path to a Navy commission.

    The residential college system proposed by President Lovett was adopted in 1958, with the East Hall residence becoming Baker College, South Hall residence becoming Will Rice College, West Hall becoming Hanszen College, and the temporary Wiess Hall becoming Wiess College.

    In 1959, the Rice Institute Computer went online. 1960 saw Rice Institute formally renamed William Marsh Rice University. Rice acted as a temporary intermediary in the transfer of land between Humble Oil and Refining Company and NASA, for the creation of NASA’s Manned Spacecraft Center (now called Johnson Space Center) in 1962. President John F. Kennedy then made a speech at Rice Stadium reiterating that the United States intended to reach the moon before the end of the decade of the 1960s, and “to become the world’s leading space-faring nation”. The relationship of NASA with Rice University and the city of Houston has remained strong to the present day.

    The original charter of Rice Institute dictated that the university admit and educate, tuition-free, “the white inhabitants of Houston, and the state of Texas”. In 1963, the governing board of Rice University filed a lawsuit to allow the university to modify its charter to admit students of all races and to charge tuition. Ph.D. student Raymond Johnson became the first black Rice student when he was admitted that year. In 1964, Rice officially amended the university charter to desegregate its graduate and undergraduate divisions. The Trustees of Rice University prevailed in a lawsuit to void the racial language in the trust in 1966. Rice began charging tuition for the first time in 1965. In the same year, Rice launched a $33 million ($268 million) development campaign. $43 million ($283 million) was raised by its conclusion in 1970. In 1974, two new schools were founded at Rice, the Jesse H. Jones Graduate School of Management and the Shepherd School of Music. The Brown Foundation Challenge, a fund-raising program designed to encourage annual gifts, was launched in 1976 and ended in 1996 having raised $185 million. The Rice School of Social Sciences was founded in 1979.

    On-campus housing was exclusively for men for the first forty years, until 1957. Jones College was the first women’s residence on the Rice campus, followed by Brown College. According to legend, the women’s colleges were purposefully situated at the opposite end of campus from the existing men’s colleges as a way of preserving campus propriety, which was greatly valued by Edgar Odell Lovett, who did not even allow benches to be installed on campus, fearing that they “might lead to co-fraternization of the sexes”. The path linking the north colleges to the center of campus was given the tongue-in-cheek name of “Virgin’s Walk”. Individual colleges became coeducational between 1973 and 1987, with the single-sex floors of colleges that had them becoming co-ed by 2006. By then, several new residential colleges had been built on campus to handle the university’s growth, including Lovett College, Sid Richardson College, and Martel College.

    Late twentieth and early twenty-first century

    The Economic Summit of Industrialized Nations was held at Rice in 1990. Three years later, in 1993, the James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy was created. In 1997, the Edythe Bates Old Grand Organ and Recital Hall and the Center for Nanoscale Science and Technology, renamed in 2005 for the late Nobel Prize winner and Rice professor Richard E. Smalley, were dedicated at Rice. In 1999, the Center for Biological and Environmental Nanotechnology was created. The Rice Owls baseball team was ranked #1 in the nation for the first time in that year (1999), holding the top spot for eight weeks.

    In 2003, the Owls won their first national championship in baseball, which was the first for the university in any team sport, beating Southwest Missouri State (US) in the opening game and then the University of Texas and Stanford University twice each en route to the title. In 2008, President David Leebron issued a ten-point plan titled “Vision for the Second Century” outlining plans to increase research funding, strengthen existing programs, and increase collaboration. The plan has brought about another wave of campus constructions, including the erection the newly renamed BioScience Research Collaborative building (intended to foster collaboration with the adjacent Texas Medical Center), a new recreational center and the renovated Autry Court basketball stadium, and the addition of two new residential colleges, Duncan College and McMurtry College.

    Beginning in late 2008, the university considered a merger with Baylor College of Medicine, though the merger was ultimately rejected in 2010. Rice undergraduates are currently guaranteed admission to Baylor College of Medicine upon graduation as part of the Rice/Baylor Medical Scholars program. According to History Professor John Boles’ recent book University Builder: Edgar Odell Lovett and the Founding of the Rice Institute, the first president’s original vision for the university included hopes for future medical and law schools.

    In 2018, the university added an online MBA program, MBA@Rice.

    In June 2019, the university’s president announced plans for a task force on Rice’s “past in relation to slave history and racial injustice”, stating that “Rice has some historical connections to that terrible part of American history and the segregation and racial disparities that resulted directly from it”.

    Campus

    Rice’s campus is a heavily wooded 285-acre (115-hectare) tract of land in the museum district of Houston, located close to the city of West University Place.

    Five streets demarcate the campus: Greenbriar Street, Rice Boulevard, Sunset Boulevard, Main Street, and University Boulevard. For most of its history, all of Rice’s buildings have been contained within this “outer loop”. In recent years, new facilities have been built close to campus, but the bulk of administrative, academic, and residential buildings are still located within the original pentagonal plot of land. The new Collaborative Research Center, all graduate student housing, the Greenbriar building, and the Wiess President’s House are located off-campus.

    Rice prides itself on the amount of green space available on campus; there are only about 50 buildings spread between the main entrance at its easternmost corner, and the parking lots and Rice Stadium at the West end. The Lynn R. Lowrey Arboretum, consisting of more than 4000 trees and shrubs (giving birth to the legend that Rice has a tree for every student), is spread throughout the campus.
    The university’s first president, Edgar Odell Lovett, intended for the campus to have a uniform architecture style to improve its aesthetic appeal. To that end, nearly every building on campus is noticeably Byzantine in style, with sand and pink-colored bricks, large archways and columns being a common theme among many campus buildings. Noteworthy exceptions include the glass-walled Brochstein Pavilion, Lovett College with its Brutalist-style concrete gratings, Moody Center for the Arts with its contemporary design, and the eclectic-Mediterranean Duncan Hall. In September 2011, Travel+Leisure listed Rice’s campus as one of the most beautiful in the United States.

    The university and Houston Independent School District jointly established The Rice School-a kindergarten through 8th grade public magnet school in Houston. The school opened in August 1994. Through Cy-Fair ISD Rice University offers a credit course based summer school for grades 8 through 12. They also have skills based classes during the summer in the Rice Summer School.

    Innovation District

    In early 2019 Rice announced the site where the abandoned Sears building in Midtown Houston stood along with its surrounding area would be transformed into the “The Ion” the hub of the 16-acre South Main Innovation District. President of Rice David Leebron stated “We chose the name Ion because it’s from the Greek ienai, which means ‘go’. We see it as embodying the ever-forward motion of discovery, the spark at the center of a truly original idea.”

    Students of Rice and other Houston-area colleges and universities making up the Student Coalition for a Just and Equitable Innovation Corridor are advocating for a Community Benefits Agreement (CBA)-a contractual agreement between a developer and a community coalition. Residents of neighboring Third Ward and other members of the Houston Coalition for Equitable Development Without Displacement (HCEDD) have faced consistent opposition from the City of Houston and Rice Management Company to a CBA as traditionally defined in favor of an agreement between the latter two entities without a community coalition signatory.

    Organization

    Rice University is chartered as a non-profit organization and is governed by a privately appointed board of trustees. The board consists of a maximum of 25 voting members who serve four-year terms. The trustees serve without compensation and a simple majority of trustees must reside in Texas including at least four within the greater Houston area. The board of trustees delegates its power by appointing a president to serve as the chief executive of the university. David W. Leebron was appointed president in 2004 and succeeded Malcolm Gillis who served since 1993. The provost six vice presidents and other university officials report to the president. The president is advised by a University Council composed of the provost, eight members of the Faculty Council, two staff members, one graduate student, and two undergraduate students. The president presides over a Faculty Council which has the authority to alter curricular requirements, establish new degree programs, and approve candidates for degrees.

    The university’s academics are organized into several schools. Schools that have undergraduate and graduate programs include:

    The Rice University School of Architecture
    The George R. Brown School of Engineering
    The School of Humanities
    The Shepherd School of Music
    The Wiess School of Natural Sciences
    The Rice University School of Social Sciences

    Two schools have only graduate programs:

    The Jesse H. Jones Graduate School of Management
    The Susanne M. Glasscock School of Continuing Studies

    Rice’s undergraduate students benefit from a centralized admissions process which admits new students to the university as a whole, rather than a specific school (the schools of Music and Architecture are decentralized). Students are encouraged to select the major path that best suits their desires; a student can later decide that they would rather pursue study in another field or continue their current coursework and add a second or third major. These transitions are designed to be simple at Rice with students not required to decide on a specific major until their sophomore year of study.

    Rice’s academics are organized into six schools which offer courses of study at the graduate and undergraduate level, with two more being primarily focused on graduate education, while offering select opportunities for undergraduate students. Rice offers 360 degrees in over 60 departments. There are 40 undergraduate degree programs, 51 masters programs, and 29 doctoral programs.

    Faculty members of each of the departments elect chairs to represent the department to each School’s dean and the deans report to the Provost who serves as the chief officer for academic affairs.

    Rice Management Company

    The Rice Management Company manages the $6.5 billion Rice University endowment (June 2019) and $957 million debt. The endowment provides 40% of Rice’s operating revenues. Allison Thacker is the President and Chief Investment Officer of the Rice Management Company, having joined the university in 2011.

    Academics

    Rice is a medium-sized highly residential research university. The majority of enrollments are in the full-time four-year undergraduate program emphasizing arts & sciences and professions. There is a high graduate coexistence with the comprehensive graduate program and a very high level of research activity. It is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (US) as well as the professional accreditation agencies for engineering, management, and architecture.

    Each of Rice’s departments is organized into one of three distribution groups, and students whose major lies within the scope of one group must take at least 3 courses of at least 3 credit hours each of approved distribution classes in each of the other two groups, as well as completing one physical education course as part of the LPAP (Lifetime Physical Activity Program) requirement. All new students must take a Freshman Writing Intensive Seminar (FWIS) class, and for students who do not pass the university’s writing composition examination (administered during the summer before matriculation), FWIS 100, a writing class, becomes an additional requirement.

    The majority of Rice’s undergraduate degree programs grant B.S. or B.A. degrees. Rice has recently begun to offer minors in areas such as business, energy and water sustainability, and global health.

    Student body

    As of fall 2014, men make up 52% of the undergraduate body and 64% of the professional and post-graduate student body. The student body consists of students from all 50 states, including the District of Columbia, two U.S. Territories, and 83 foreign countries. Forty percent of degree-seeking students are from Texas.

    Research centers and resources

    Rice is noted for its applied science programs in the fields of nanotechnology, artificial heart research, structural chemical analysis, signal processing and space science.

    Rice Alliance for Technology and Entrepreneurship – supports entrepreneurs and early-stage technology ventures in Houston and Texas through education, collaboration, and research, ranked No. 1 among university business incubators.
    Baker Institute for Public Policy – a leading nonpartisan public policy think-tank
    BioScience Research Collaborative (BRC) – interdisciplinary, cross-campus, and inter-institutional resource between Rice University and Texas Medical Center
    Boniuk Institute – dedicated to religious tolerance and advancing religious literacy, respect and mutual understanding
    Center for African and African American Studies – fosters conversations on topics such as critical approaches to race and racism, the nature of diasporic histories and identities, and the complexity of Africa’s past, present and future
    Chao Center for Asian Studies – research hub for faculty, students and post-doctoral scholars working in Asian studies
    Center for the Study of Women, Gender, and Sexuality (CSWGS) – interdisciplinary academic programs and research opportunities, including the journal Feminist Economics
    Data to Knowledge Lab (D2K) – campus hub for experiential learning in data science
    Digital Signal Processing (DSP) – center for education and research in the field of digital signal processing
    Ethernest Hackerspace – student-run hackerspace for undergraduate engineering students sponsored by the ECE department and the IEEE student chapter
    Humanities Research Center (HRC) – identifies, encourages, and funds innovative research projects by faculty, visiting scholars, graduate, and undergraduate students in the School of Humanities and beyond
    Institute of Biosciences and Bioengineering (IBB) – facilitates the translation of interdisciplinary research and education in biosciences and bioengineering
    Ken Kennedy Institute for Information Technology – advances applied interdisciplinary research in the areas of computation and information technology
    Kinder Institute for Urban Research – conducts the Houston Area Survey, “the nation’s longest running study of any metropolitan region’s economy, population, life experiences, beliefs and attitudes”
    Laboratory for Nanophotonics (LANP) – a resource for education and research breakthroughs and advances in the broad, multidisciplinary field of nanophotonics
    Moody Center for the Arts – experimental arts space featuring studio classrooms, maker space, audiovisual editing booths, and a gallery and office space for visiting national and international artists
    OpenStax CNX (formerly Connexions) and OpenStax – an open source platform and open access publisher, respectively, of open educational resources
    Oshman Engineering Design Kitchen (OEDK) – space for undergraduate students to design, prototype and deploy solutions to real-world engineering challenges
    Rice Cinema – an independent theater run by the Visual and Dramatic Arts department at Rice which screens documentaries, foreign films, and experimental cinema and hosts film festivals and lectures since 1970
    Rice Center for Engineering Leadership (RCEL) – inspires, educates, and develops ethical leaders in technology who will excel in research, industry, non-engineering career paths, or entrepreneurship
    Religion and Public Life Program (RPLP) – a research, training and outreach program working to advance understandings of the role of religion in public life
    Rice Design Alliance (RDA) – outreach and public programs of the Rice School of Architecture
    Rice Center for Quantum Materials (RCQM) – organization dedicated to research and higher education in areas relating to quantum phenomena
    Rice Neuroengineering Initiative (NEI) – fosters research collaborations in neural engineering topics
    Rice Space Institute (RSI) – fosters programs in all areas of space research
    Smalley-Curl Institute for Nanoscale Science and Technology (SCI) – the nation’s first nanotechnology center
    Welch Institute for Advanced Materials – collaborative research institute to support the foundational research for discoveries in materials science, similar to the model of Salk Institute and Broad Institute
    Woodson Research Center Special Collections & Archives – publisher of print and web-based materials highlighting the department’s primary source collections such as the Houston African American, Asian American, and Jewish History Archives, University Archives, rare books, and hip hop/rap music-related materials from the Swishahouse record label and Houston Folk Music Archive, etc.

    Residential colleges

    In 1957, Rice University implemented a residential college system, which was proposed by the university’s first president, Edgar Odell Lovett. The system was inspired by existing systems in place at University of Oxford (UK) and University of Cambridge (UK) and at several other universities in the United States, most notably Yale University (US). The existing residences known as East, South, West, and Wiess Halls became Baker, Will Rice, Hanszen, and Wiess Colleges, respectively.

    Student-run media

    Rice has a weekly student newspaper (The Rice Thresher), a yearbook (The Campanile), college radio station (KTRU Rice Radio), and now defunct, campus-wide student television station (RTV5). They are based out of the RMC student center. In addition, Rice hosts several student magazines dedicated to a range of different topics; in fact, the spring semester of 2008 saw the birth of two such magazines, a literary sex journal called Open and an undergraduate science research magazine entitled Catalyst.

    The Rice Thresher is published every Wednesday and is ranked by Princeton Review as one of the top campus newspapers nationally for student readership. It is distributed around campus, and at a few other local businesses and has a website. The Thresher has a small, dedicated staff and is known for its coverage of campus news, open submission opinion page, and the satirical Backpage, which has often been the center of controversy. The newspaper has won several awards from the College Media Association, Associated Collegiate Press and Texas Intercollegiate Press Association.

    The Rice Campanile was first published in 1916 celebrating Rice’s first graduating class. It has published continuously since then, publishing two volumes in 1944 since the university had two graduating classes due to World War II. The website was created sometime in the early to mid 2000s. The 2015 won the first place Pinnacle for best yearbook from College Media Association.

    KTRU Rice Radio is the student-run radio station. Though most DJs are Rice students, anyone is allowed to apply. It is known for playing genres and artists of music and sound unavailable on other radio stations in Houston, and often, the US. The station takes requests over the phone or online. In 2000 and 2006, KTRU won Houston Press’ Best Radio Station in Houston. In 2003, Rice alum and active KTRU DJ DL’s hip-hip show won Houston PressBest Hip-hop Radio Show. On August 17, 2010, it was announced that Rice University had been in negotiations to sell the station’s broadcast tower, FM frequency and license to the University of Houston System to become a full-time classical music and fine arts programming station. The new station, KUHA, would be operated as a not-for-profit outlet with listener supporters. The FCC approved the sale and granted the transfer of license to the University of Houston System on April 15, 2011, however, KUHA proved to be an even larger failure and so after four and a half years of operation, The University of Houston System announced that KUHA’s broadcast tower, FM frequency and license were once again up for sale in August 2015. KTRU continued to operate much as it did previously, streaming live on the Internet, via apps, and on HD2 radio using the 90.1 signal. Under student leadership, KTRU explored the possibility of returning to FM radio for a number of years. In spring 2015, KTRU was granted permission by the FCC to begin development of a new broadcast signal via LPFM radio. On October 1, 2015, KTRU made its official return to FM radio on the 96.1 signal. While broadcasting on HD2 radio has been discontinued, KTRU continues to broadcast via internet in addition to its LPFM signal.

    RTV5 is a student-run television network available as channel 5 on campus. RTV5 was created initially as Rice Broadcast Television in 1997; RBT began to broadcast the following year in 1998, and aired its first live show across campus in 1999. It experienced much growth and exposure over the years with successful programs like Drinking with Phil, The Meg & Maggie Show, which was a variety and call-in show, a weekly news show, and extensive live coverage in December 2000 of the shut down of KTRU by the administration. In spring 2001, the Rice undergraduate community voted in the general elections to support RBT as a blanket tax organization, effectively providing a yearly income of $10,000 to purchase new equipment and provide the campus with a variety of new programming. In the spring of 2005, RBT members decided the station needed a new image and a new name: Rice Television 5. One of RTV5’s most popular shows was the 24-hour show, where a camera and couch placed in the RMC stayed on air for 24 hours. One such show is held in fall and another in spring, usually during a weekend allocated for visits by prospective students. RTV5 has a video on demand site at rtv5.rice.edu. The station went off the air in 2014 and changed its name to Rice Video Productions. In 2015 the group’s funding was threatened, but ultimately maintained. In 2016 the small student staff requested to no longer be a blanket-tax organization. In the fall of 2017, the club did not register as a club.

    The Rice Review, also known as R2, is a yearly student-run literary journal at Rice University that publishes prose, poetry, and creative nonfiction written by undergraduate students, as well as interviews. The journal was founded in 2004 by creative writing professor and author Justin Cronin.

    The Rice Standard was an independent, student-run variety magazine modeled after such publications as The New Yorker and Harper’s. Prior to fall 2009, it was regularly published three times a semester with a wide array of content, running from analyses of current events and philosophical pieces to personal essays, short fiction and poetry. In August 2009, The Standard transitioned to a completely online format with the launch of their redesigned website, http://www.ricestandard.org. The first website of its kind on Rice’s campus, The Standard featured blog-style content written by and for Rice students. The Rice Standard had around 20 regular contributors, and the site features new content every day (including holidays). In 2017 no one registered The Rice Standard as a club within the university.

    Open, a magazine dedicated to “literary sex content,” predictably caused a stir on campus with its initial publication in spring 2008. A mixture of essays, editorials, stories and artistic photography brought Open attention both on campus and in the Houston Chronicle. The third and last annual edition of Open was released in spring of 2010.

    Athletics

    Rice plays in NCAA Division I athletics and is part of Conference USA. Rice was a member of the Western Athletic Conference before joining Conference USA in 2005. Rice is the second-smallest school, measured by undergraduate enrollment, competing in NCAA Division I FBS football, only ahead of Tulsa.

    The Rice baseball team won the 2003 College World Series, defeating Stanford, giving Rice its only national championship in a team sport. The victory made Rice University the smallest school in 51 years to win a national championship at the highest collegiate level of the sport. The Rice baseball team has played on campus at Reckling Park since the 2000 season. As of 2010, the baseball team has won 14 consecutive conference championships in three different conferences: the final championship of the defunct Southwest Conference, all nine championships while a member of the Western Athletic Conference, and five more championships in its first five years as a member of Conference USA. Additionally, Rice’s baseball team has finished third in both the 2006 and 2007 College World Series tournaments. Rice now has made six trips to Omaha for the CWS. In 2004, Rice became the first school ever to have three players selected in the first eight picks of the MLB draft when Philip Humber, Jeff Niemann, and Wade Townsend were selected third, fourth, and eighth, respectively. In 2007, Joe Savery was selected as the 19th overall pick.

    Rice has been very successful in women’s sports in recent years. In 2004–05, Rice sent its women’s volleyball, soccer, and basketball teams to their respective NCAA tournaments. The women’s swim team has consistently brought at least one member of their team to the NCAA championships since 2013. In 2005–06, the women’s soccer, basketball, and tennis teams advanced, with five individuals competing in track and field. In 2006–07, the Rice women’s basketball team made the NCAA tournament, while again five Rice track and field athletes received individual NCAA berths. In 2008, the women’s volleyball team again made the NCAA tournament. In 2011 the Women’s Swim team won their first conference championship in the history of the university. This was an impressive feat considering they won without having a diving team. The team repeated their C-USA success in 2013 and 2014. In 2017, the women’s basketball team, led by second-year head coach Tina Langley, won the Women’s Basketball Invitational, defeating UNC-Greensboro 74–62 in the championship game at Tudor Fieldhouse. Though not a varsity sport, Rice’s ultimate frisbee women’s team, named Torque, won consecutive Division III national championships in 2014 and 2015.

    In 2006, the football team qualified for its first bowl game since 1961, ending the second-longest bowl drought in the country at the time. On December 22, 2006, Rice played in the New Orleans Bowl in New Orleans, Louisiana against the Sun Belt Conference champion, Troy. The Owls lost 41–17. The bowl appearance came after Rice had a 14-game losing streak from 2004–05 and went 1–10 in 2005. The streak followed an internally authorized 2003 McKinsey report that stated football alone was responsible for a $4 million deficit in 2002. Tensions remained high between the athletic department and faculty, as a few professors who chose to voice their opinion were in favor of abandoning the football program. The program success in 2006, the Rice Renaissance, proved to be a revival of the Owl football program, quelling those tensions. David Bailiff took over the program in 2007 and has remained head coach. Jarett Dillard set an NCAA record in 2006 by catching a touchdown pass in 13 consecutive games and took a 15-game overall streak into the 2007 season.

    In 2008, the football team posted a 9-3 regular season, capping off the year with a 38–14 victory over Western Michigan University (US) in the Texas Bowl. The win over Western Michigan marked the Owls’ first bowl win in 45 years.

    Rice Stadium also serves as the performance venue for the university’s Marching Owl Band, or “MOB.” Despite its name, the MOB is a scatter band that focuses on performing humorous skits and routines rather than traditional formation marching.

    Rice Owls men’s basketball won 10 conference titles in the former Southwest Conference (1918, 1935*, 1940, 1942*, 1943*, 1944*, 1945, 1949*, 1954*, 1970; * denotes shared title). Most recently, guard Morris Almond was drafted in the first round of the 2007 NBA Draft by the Utah Jazz. Rice named former Cal Bears head coach Ben Braun as head basketball coach to succeed Willis Wilson, fired after Rice finished the 2007–2008 season with a winless (0-16) conference record and overall record of 3-27.

     
  • richardmitnick 4:52 pm on January 5, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Scientists discover leftovers of Earth’s dramatic formation", , , , Planetary Science, , The chemicals; rocks and layers that make up ULVZs have largely been sitting unchanged for billions of years and the early days of the planet's formation.,   

    From The Australian National University (AU) : “Scientists discover leftovers of Earth’s dramatic formation” 

    ANU Australian National University Bloc

    From The Australian National University (AU)

    1
    Researchers have uncovered the most detail ever of the mysterious structures laying between the Earth’s mantle and core, also providing the strongest evidence yet they started life as an ocean of molten magma that eventually sunk.

    A team of international researchers, including scientists from The Australian National University (ANU), used thousands of computer-modelled seismic waves to examine Ultra-Low Velocity Zones (ULVZs) beneath the Coral Sea between Australia and New Zealand. The area was selected because of the high frequency of earthquakes and the seismic waves these events unleash.

    ULVZs sit at the bottom of the planet’s mantle and on top of its liquid metal outer core, and are so thin that they are normally invisible to tomographic imaging. For decades, scientists have speculated they are leftovers of the violent processes that shaped the early Earth.

    Study co-author, Professor Hrvoje Tkalčić from ANU, said the team’s findings confirm the chemicals, rocks and layers that make up ULVZs have largely been sitting unchanged for billions of years and the early days of the planet’s formation.

    “For a long time no-one really knew for sure what these mysterious ULVZs were made up of. Now, we’ve developed the clearest picture yet. Using advances in seismology and mathematical geophysics made at ANU we’ve shown that ULVZs are made up of layers,” Professor Tkalčić said.

    “Over billions years of the Earth’s shaping and reshaping, these zones have churned close to the planet’s core but largely remained intact.

    “It’s like an egg in a cake that doesn’t get mixed in with the rest of the ingredients but stays as yoke and egg white, despite the constant mixing all around it.

    “This is a really significant breakthrough as we have unlocked not only a clue as to how the early Earth formed but confirmed ULVZs are clumps of leftovers from this process that are pretty much the same as they were billions of years ago.”

    The study, published in Nature Geoscience, was led by Dr Surya Pachhai from The University of Utah (US), with much of the research completed as part of his PhD at ANU.

    According to Dr Pachhai the most surprising finding in the study is that ULVZs are made up of a lot more diverse materials than first thought.

    “ULVZs are not homogenous but contain strong structural and compositional variations within them,” he said.

    “We found that this type of ULVZs can be explained by chemical heterogeneities created at the very beginning of the Earth’s history and that they are still not well mixed after 4.5 billion years of mantle convection.”

    See the full article here .

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    The Australian National University (AU) is a world-leading university in Australia’s capital city, Canberra. Our location points to our unique history, ties to the Australian Government and special standing as a resource for the Australian people.

    Our focus on research as an asset, and an approach to education, ensures our graduates are in demand the world-over for their abilities to understand, and apply vision and creativity to addressing complex contemporary challenges.

    Australian National University is regarded as one of the world’s leading research universities, and is ranked as the number one university in Australia and the Southern Hemisphere by the 2021 QS World University Rankings. It is ranked 31st in the world by the 2021 QS World University Rankings, and 59th in the world (third in Australia) by the 2021 Times Higher Education.

    In the 2020 Times Higher Education Global Employability University Ranking, an annual ranking of university graduates’ employability, Australian National University was ranked 15th in the world (first in Australia). According to the 2020 QS World University by Subject, the university was also ranked among the top 10 in the world for Anthropology, Earth and Marine Sciences, Geography, Geology, Philosophy, Politics, and Sociology.

    Established in 1946, Australian National University is the only university to have been created by the Parliament of Australia. It traces its origins to Canberra University College, which was established in 1929 and was integrated into Australian National University in 1960. Australian National University enrolls 10,052 undergraduate and 10,840 postgraduate students and employs 3,753 staff. The university’s endowment stood at A$1.8 billion as of 2018.

    Australian National University counts six Nobel laureates and 49 Rhodes scholars among its faculty and alumni. The university has educated two prime ministers, 30 current Australian ambassadors and more than a dozen current heads of government departments of Australia. The latest releases of ANU’s scholarly publications are held through ANU Press online.

     
  • richardmitnick 12:46 pm on January 2, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Is Earth expanding or shrinking?", Earth is losing about 66100 tons (60000 metric tons) per year., It will take more than 3000 times that long — roughly 15.4 trillion years — before Earth will lose its atmosphere., It would take 5 billion years for Earth to lose its atmosphere if the planet had no way to replenish it., , Planetary Science, The ocean and other processes like volcanic eruptions do help to replenish Earth's atmosphere., While that loss sounds like a lot in the context of the whole planet it's very very very small.   

    From Live Science : “Is Earth expanding or shrinking?” 

    From Live Science

    1.2.22
    Donavyn Coffey

    1
    A 3D rendering of Earth. Is Earth growing or shrinking? Image credit: Frank Lee via Getty Images.

    Like any good gift giver, Earth is constantly giving and receiving materials with the surrounding solar system. For instance, dust speeding through space regularly bombards our planet in the form of shooting stars, and gases from Earth’s atmosphere regularly seep out into space.

    So, if Earth is continuously giving away matter, as well as acquiring new material, is it expanding or shrinking?

    Because of Earth’s gaseous gifts to space, our planet — or, to be specific, the atmosphere — is shrinking, according to Guillaume Gronoff, a senior research scientist who studies atmospheric escape at The NASA Langley Research Center(US). However, we’re not shrinking by much, he said.

    Planets are formed by accretion, or when space dust collides and increasingly builds up into a larger mass. After Earth formed about 4.5 billion years ago, a small amount of accretion continued to happen in the form of meteors and meteorites adding to Earth’s mass, Gronoff said.

    But once a planet forms, another process begins: atmospheric escape. It works similarly to evaporation but on a different scale, Gronoff said. In the atmosphere, oxygen, hydrogen, and helium atoms absorb enough energy from the sun to escape the atmosphere, according to Gronnoff.

    So how do these processes affect Earth’s overall mass? Scientists can only estimate.

    “Of course, it’s still research, because it’s difficult to measure the mass of the Earth in real time,” Gronoff told Live Science. “We don’t have the weight of the Earth at the precision needed to see if the Earth is losing or gaining.”

    But by observing the rate of meteors, scientists estimate that about 16,500 tons (15,000 metric tons) — about one and a half Eiffel Towers — impacts the planet every year, adding to its mass, Gronoff said.

    Meanwhile, using satellite data, scientists have estimated the rate of atmospheric escape. “It’s something like 82,700 tons (75,000 metric tons) or 7.5 Eiffel Towers,” Gronoff said. That means Earth is losing about 66,100 tons (60,000 metric tons) per year. While that sounds like a lot in the context of the whole planet it’s very very very small.” he said.

    Using estimates for atmospheric escape established over the past hundred years, Gronoff calculated that, at a rate of 60,000 tons of atmosphere lost per year, it would take 5 billion years for Earth to lose its atmosphere if the planet had no way to replenish it.

    However the ocean and other processes like volcanic eruptions do help to replenish Earth’s atmosphere. So, it will take more than 3000 times that long — roughly 15.4 trillion years — before Earth will lose its atmosphere; that’s about 100 times the life of the universe, he said. But long before that happens, Earth will likely be uninhabitable anyway because of the evolution of the sun, which is expected to turn into a red giant in about 5 billion years. “So the escape of the atmosphere is not the problem in the very long run,” Gronoff said.

    So, while we can all applaud Earth for being a good philanthropist, graciously giving its atmospheric gases to space, we can also rest assured that Earth’s shrinking size is not imperiling life on Earth.

    See the full article here .

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    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

     
  • richardmitnick 11:13 am on January 2, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Planets Are Born from Dust Trap Rings", , Astronomers propose that the planets formed from three separate rings of planetesimals within a gaseous disk around the sun., , , , , , Dust traps can be associated with specific important molecules evaporating and condensing., Gravity and a mess of other forces conspired to build our solar system., , One can directly connect each ring with a specific region of our solar system., Planetary Science, Planetesimals can coalesce spontaneously whenever there’s enough dust clumped within a specific location within a gas-dominated disk., , Scientists often see ringed traps in images of planet-forming disks., The asteroid belt, The outer ring of planetesimals corresponds to the present-day Kuiper belt., The three-ring model reproduces what one might call our solar system’s orbital architecture.   

    From Rice University (US) via Nautilus (US): “Planets Are Born from Dust Trap Rings” 

    From Rice University (US)

    via

    Nautilus (US)

    Dec 30, 2021

    Sean Raymond
    Andre Izidoro
    Rajdeep Dasgupta

    1
    The ALMA telescope, in Chile, sensitive to millimeter-sized dust, took these images of planet-forming disks. Credit: S. Andrews et al./Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array(CL) (The European Southern Observatory [Observatoire européen austral][Europäische Südsternwarte](EU)(CL)/The National Astronomical Observatory of Japan (国立天文台](JP)/The National Radio Astronomy Observatory (US)); S. Dagnello/NRAO/The Associated Universities Inc (US)/The National Science Foundation (US).

    European Southern Observatory/National Radio Astronomy Observatory(US)/National Astronomical Observatory of Japan(JP) ALMA Observatory (CL).

    All we are is dust in the wind, man. The same goes for the planets and asteroids and comets. Starting from our dusty beginnings, gravity and a mess of other forces conspired to build our solar system. There’s a venerable tradition of trying to figure out what that grand and hectic process must have looked like. Today, with the aid of sophisticated simulations, scientists can meticulously tinker with models that might show us how the solar system got to be the way it is now. In a new Nature Astronomy paper, we take a step forward by building on some of the most compelling ideas to date.

    This has long been an alluring challenge. The German bigwig philosopher Immanuel Kant and one of France’s most important scientific theorists, Pierre Laplace, both 18th-century thinkers, thought it all started from a disk of dust and gas going round the young sun. Later, about a century ago, Thomas Chamberlain and Forest Moulton proposed a different idea, that the planets formed out of city- to county-sized rocky bodies called planetesimals. It turns out that both ideas are basically correct. Anyone today can spend an hour looking through NASA images from telescopes revealing disks around young stars that astronomers suspect are forming planets as you read. Asteroids and comets are evidence that rocky and icy planetesimals formed throughout the solar system.

    A Frankensteinian monster of a model.

    We propose that the planets formed from three separate rings of planetesimals within a gaseous disk around the sun. This model also makes sense of planetary disks around other stars, connecting them with the orbits of our solar system’s planets and asteroids, as well as chemical measurements of meteorites. Why rings of planetesimals? This concept starts to make sense if you squint at the solar system from a large distance and imagine spreading out the mass that makes up the planets: Almost all of the rocky material concentrates between the orbits of Venus and Earth with very little mass closer to the sun or in the asteroid belt, while a little farther from the sun, Jupiter and Saturn make up a huge amount of mass that tapers off to the outer solar system. But what determines the properties of these rings?

    Planetesimals can coalesce spontaneously whenever there’s enough dust clumped within a specific location within a gas-dominated disk. Dust grains grow in dust-grain collisions, and when they reach roughly a millimeter in size, they start to experience drag as if biking against the wind. This causes large dust grains to drift inward, toward the sun. Modeling has shown that there exist dust “traps” within the disk, associated with bumps in the local gas pressure.

    Scientists often see such ringed traps in images of planet-forming disks. You can see some in the image above, taken with the ALMA (Atacama Large Millimeter Array) telescope in Chile. Dust traps can be associated with specific important molecules evaporating and condensing. In our model, these end up being silicate rocks, water, and carbon monoxide—they’re linked to our three strongest traps. The condensation temperatures of these elements span from 30 degrees above absolute zero (for carbon monoxide) to 1500 degrees (for silicates). Each corresponds to a given orbital distance from the star. Drifting dust piles up at each of these locations within the disk and produces a ring of planetesimals. These three rings are, in our model, the building blocks of the planets.

    You can directly connect each ring with a specific region of our solar system. That’s pretty neat. In our simulations, the inner ring contains two to three times as much mass as Earth in rocky planetesimals. The two most massive terrestrial planets, Venus and Earth, formed within this ring; Mars and Mercury were scattered out of the ring, their growth stunted. Mars grew mostly from material in the ring’s outer parts, which nicely explains the chemical difference between Mars and the Earth (Earth is more similar in composition to one group of meteorites and Mars to another.)

    1
    Three—no more, no less: In our model of the solar system’s beginnings, three rings of planetesimals form, connected with the condensation/evaporation or “snow” lines of silicates, water, and carbon monoxide (CO). The two main classes of meteorites—CC (for carbonaceous chondrites) and NC (for non-carbonaceous)—represent planetesimals that formed in the middle and inner rings and later scattered into the asteroid belt. Credit: Rajdeep Dasgupta.

    The middle ring is, in our simulations, the most massive, with 50 to 100 Earth masses in planetesimals. Massive planets, of 10 to 20 Earth masses, grow quickly within the ring by colliding with dust and other planetesimals. These, in virtue of their gravity, capture gas from the disk and grow into Jupiter and Saturn. The ice giants Uranus and Neptune also formed within the outskirts of this ring, but their slower growth prevented them from capturing more gas.

    And the asteroid belt? That lies between the inner and middle rings. In our simulations, it can be thought of as a cosmic “refugee camp.” It contains objects that formed across the solar system but perhaps not within the belt, and births few planetesimals and sometimes none at all. This matches the observed orbital distribution as well as the chemical gradients across the belt that are inferred from meteorites linked with different asteroid types. The present-day belt only contains a total of less than 0.05 percent of an Earth mass, consisting of planetesimals scattered outward from the inner ring during the growth of the rocky planets, and planetesimals scattered inward from the middle ring during the growth of the gas- and ice giants.

    The outer ring of planetesimals corresponds to the present-day Kuiper belt, the population of small icy bodies beyond the orbit of Neptune.

    Kuiper Belt. Minor Planet Center.

    While our simulations typically produce 20 to 30 Earth masses in planetesimals—two orders of magnitude more than the present-day Kuiper belt—it conveniently matches the amount of mass needed in an outer belt to explain the giant planets’ current orbits.

    So, our three-ring model reproduces what you could call our solar system’s orbital architecture. It would be impressive if these same processes could explain the diversity of other exoplanet systems. And we think they can.

    Planet-forming disks around other stars are ubiquitous, with a spectrum of different properties, but planetesimal rings should form systematically. Close-in super-Earth, or sub-Neptune planets, found around roughly 30 percent of all stars may form from planetesimals within inner or middle rings. If the planets reach Mars’ size, about 10 percent of Earth’s mass, before the gas disappears from the disk, which can take a few million years, then they launch spiral density waves. These cause the planets’ orbits to shrink, or migrate, toward the central star, an outcome our solar system likely avoided because our rocky planets grew too slowly. Gas giant planets should most naturally form from the middle rings, and, indeed, most giant exoplanets are found on orbits wider than super-Earths’ but still closer to Earth’s orbit than Jupiter’s (perhaps due to a modest degree of migration).

    Moulton, one of the proponents of the old planetesimal hypothesis, once stressed how utterly distinct this idea was from the dusty-disk one Laplace had. “The gap,” he wrote in a 1928 issue of Science, “between these different genera of intellectual constructions is as profound as that between different genera of living organisms, and as difficult to bridge.” He was, as you might guess, pretty wrong about that. Our three-ring model bridges or synthesizes those ideas, along with several others, to make what Moulton—sticking with his analogy to life—might have called a complicated chimera. A Frankensteinian monster of a model. As long as it’s useful, that’s fine with us.

    See the full article here .

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    Welcome to Nautilus (US). We are delighted you joined us. We are here to tell you about science and its endless connections to our lives. Each month we choose a single topic. And each Thursday we publish a new chapter on that topic online. Each issue combines the sciences, culture and philosophy into a single story told by the world’s leading thinkers and writers. We follow the story wherever it leads us. Read our essays, investigative reports, and blogs. Fiction, too. Take in our games, videos, and graphic stories. Stop in for a minute, or an hour. Nautilus lets science spill over its usual borders. We are science, connected.

    Rice University (US) [formally William Marsh Rice University] is a private research university in Houston, Texas. It is situated on a 300-acre campus near the Houston Museum District and is adjacent to the Texas Medical Center.
    Opened in 1912 after the murder of its namesake William Marsh Rice, Rice is a research university with an undergraduate focus. Its emphasis on education is demonstrated by a small student body and 6:1 student-faculty ratio. The university has a very high level of research activity. Rice is noted for its applied science programs in the fields of artificial heart research, structural chemical analysis, signal processing, space science, and nanotechnology. Rice has been a member of the Association of American Universities (US) since 1985 and is classified among “R1: Doctoral Universities – Very high research activity”.
    The university is organized into eleven residential colleges and eight schools of academic study, including the Wiess School of Natural Sciences, the George R. Brown School of Engineering, the School of Social Sciences, School of Architecture, Shepherd School of Music and the School of Humanities. Rice’s undergraduate program offers more than fifty majors and two dozen minors, and allows a high level of flexibility in pursuing multiple degree programs. Additional graduate programs are offered through the Jesse H. Jones Graduate School of Business and the Susanne M. Glasscock School of Continuing Studies. Rice students are bound by the strict Honor Code, which is enforced by a student-run Honor Council.
    Rice competes in 14 NCAA Division I varsity sports and is a part of Conference USA, often competing with its cross-town rival the University of Houston. Intramural and club sports are offered in a wide variety of activities such as jiu jitsu, water polo, and crew.
    The university’s alumni include more than two dozen Marshall Scholars and a dozen Rhodes Scholars. Given the university’s close links to National Aeronautics Space Agency (US), it has produced a significant number of astronauts and space scientists. In business, Rice graduates include CEOs and founders of Fortune 500 companies; in politics, alumni include congressmen, cabinet secretaries, judges, and mayors. Two alumni have won the Nobel Prize.

    Background

    Rice University’s history began with the demise of Massachusetts businessman William Marsh Rice, who had made his fortune in real estate, railroad development and cotton trading in the state of Texas. In 1891, Rice decided to charter a free-tuition educational institute in Houston, bearing his name, to be created upon his death, earmarking most of his estate towards funding the project. Rice’s will specified the institution was to be “a competitive institution of the highest grade” and that only white students would be permitted to attend. On the morning of September 23, 1900, Rice, age 84, was found dead by his valet, Charles F. Jones, and was presumed to have died in his sleep. Shortly thereafter, a large check made out to Rice’s New York City lawyer, signed by the late Rice, aroused the suspicion of a bank teller, due to the misspelling of the recipient’s name. The lawyer, Albert T. Patrick, then announced that Rice had changed his will to leave the bulk of his fortune to Patrick, rather than to the creation of Rice’s educational institute. A subsequent investigation led by the District Attorney of New York resulted in the arrests of Patrick and of Rice’s butler and valet Charles F. Jones, who had been persuaded to administer chloroform to Rice while he slept. Rice’s friend and personal lawyer in Houston, Captain James A. Baker, aided in the discovery of what turned out to be a fake will with a forged signature. Jones was not prosecuted since he cooperated with the district attorney, and testified against Patrick. Patrick was found guilty of conspiring to steal Rice’s fortune and he was convicted of murder in 1901 (he was pardoned in 1912 due to conflicting medical testimony). Baker helped Rice’s estate direct the fortune, worth $4.6 million in 1904 ($131 million today), towards the founding of what was to be called the Rice Institute, later to become Rice University. The board took control of the assets on April 29 of that year.

    In 1907, the Board of Trustees selected the head of the Department of Mathematics and Astronomy at Princeton University, Edgar Odell Lovett, to head the Institute, which was still in the planning stages. He came recommended by Princeton University (US)‘s president, Woodrow Wilson. In 1908, Lovett accepted the challenge, and was formally inaugurated as the Institute’s first president on October 12, 1912. Lovett undertook extensive research before formalizing plans for the new Institute, including visits to 78 institutions of higher learning across the world on a long tour between 1908 and 1909. Lovett was impressed by such things as the aesthetic beauty of the uniformity of the architecture at the University of Pennsylvania, a theme which was adopted by the Institute, as well as the residential college system at Cambridge University in England, which was added to the Institute several decades later. Lovett called for the establishment of a university “of the highest grade,” “an institution of liberal and technical learning” devoted “quite as much to investigation as to instruction.” [We must] “keep the standards up and the numbers down,” declared Lovett. “The most distinguished teachers must take their part in undergraduate teaching, and their spirit should dominate it all.”
    Establishment and growth

    In 1911, the cornerstone was laid for the Institute’s first building, the Administration Building, now known as Lovett Hall in honor of the founding president. On September 23, 1912, the 12th anniversary of William Marsh Rice’s murder, the William Marsh Rice Institute for the Advancement of Letters, Science, and Art began course work with 59 enrolled students, who were known as the “59 immortals,” and about a dozen faculty. After 18 additional students joined later, Rice’s initial class numbered 77, 48 male and 29 female. Unusual for the time, Rice accepted coeducational admissions from its beginning, but on-campus housing would not become co-ed until 1957.

    Three weeks after opening, a spectacular international academic festival was held, bringing Rice to the attention of the entire academic world.

    Per William Marsh Rice’s will and Rice Institute’s initial charter, the students paid no tuition. Classes were difficult, however, and about half of Rice’s students had failed after the first 1912 term. At its first commencement ceremony, held on June 12, 1916, Rice awarded 35 bachelor’s degrees and one master’s degree. That year, the student body also voted to adopt the Honor System, which still exists today. Rice’s first doctorate was conferred in 1918 on mathematician Hubert Evelyn Bray.

    The Founder’s Memorial Statue, a bronze statue of a seated William Marsh Rice, holding the original plans for the campus, was dedicated in 1930, and installed in the central academic quad, facing Lovett Hall. The statue was crafted by John Angel. In 2020, Rice students petitioned the university to take down the statue due to the founder’s history as slave owner.

    During World War II, Rice Institute was one of 131 colleges and universities nationally that took part in the V-12 Navy College Training Program, which offered students a path to a Navy commission.

    The residential college system proposed by President Lovett was adopted in 1958, with the East Hall residence becoming Baker College, South Hall residence becoming Will Rice College, West Hall becoming Hanszen College, and the temporary Wiess Hall becoming Wiess College.

    In 1959, the Rice Institute Computer went online. 1960 saw Rice Institute formally renamed William Marsh Rice University. Rice acted as a temporary intermediary in the transfer of land between Humble Oil and Refining Company and NASA, for the creation of NASA’s Manned Spacecraft Center (now called Johnson Space Center) in 1962. President John F. Kennedy then made a speech at Rice Stadium reiterating that the United States intended to reach the moon before the end of the decade of the 1960s, and “to become the world’s leading space-faring nation”. The relationship of NASA with Rice University and the city of Houston has remained strong to the present day.

    The original charter of Rice Institute dictated that the university admit and educate, tuition-free, “the white inhabitants of Houston, and the state of Texas”. In 1963, the governing board of Rice University filed a lawsuit to allow the university to modify its charter to admit students of all races and to charge tuition. Ph.D. student Raymond Johnson became the first black Rice student when he was admitted that year. In 1964, Rice officially amended the university charter to desegregate its graduate and undergraduate divisions. The Trustees of Rice University prevailed in a lawsuit to void the racial language in the trust in 1966. Rice began charging tuition for the first time in 1965. In the same year, Rice launched a $33 million ($268 million) development campaign. $43 million ($283 million) was raised by its conclusion in 1970. In 1974, two new schools were founded at Rice, the Jesse H. Jones Graduate School of Management and the Shepherd School of Music. The Brown Foundation Challenge, a fund-raising program designed to encourage annual gifts, was launched in 1976 and ended in 1996 having raised $185 million. The Rice School of Social Sciences was founded in 1979.

    On-campus housing was exclusively for men for the first forty years, until 1957. Jones College was the first women’s residence on the Rice campus, followed by Brown College. According to legend, the women’s colleges were purposefully situated at the opposite end of campus from the existing men’s colleges as a way of preserving campus propriety, which was greatly valued by Edgar Odell Lovett, who did not even allow benches to be installed on campus, fearing that they “might lead to co-fraternization of the sexes”. The path linking the north colleges to the center of campus was given the tongue-in-cheek name of “Virgin’s Walk”. Individual colleges became coeducational between 1973 and 1987, with the single-sex floors of colleges that had them becoming co-ed by 2006. By then, several new residential colleges had been built on campus to handle the university’s growth, including Lovett College, Sid Richardson College, and Martel College.

    Late twentieth and early twenty-first century

    The Economic Summit of Industrialized Nations was held at Rice in 1990. Three years later, in 1993, the James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy was created. In 1997, the Edythe Bates Old Grand Organ and Recital Hall and the Center for Nanoscale Science and Technology, renamed in 2005 for the late Nobel Prize winner and Rice professor Richard E. Smalley, were dedicated at Rice. In 1999, the Center for Biological and Environmental Nanotechnology was created. The Rice Owls baseball team was ranked #1 in the nation for the first time in that year (1999), holding the top spot for eight weeks.

    In 2003, the Owls won their first national championship in baseball, which was the first for the university in any team sport, beating Southwest Missouri State (US) in the opening game and then the University of Texas and Stanford University twice each en route to the title. In 2008, President David Leebron issued a ten-point plan titled “Vision for the Second Century” outlining plans to increase research funding, strengthen existing programs, and increase collaboration. The plan has brought about another wave of campus constructions, including the erection the newly renamed BioScience Research Collaborative building (intended to foster collaboration with the adjacent Texas Medical Center), a new recreational center and the renovated Autry Court basketball stadium, and the addition of two new residential colleges, Duncan College and McMurtry College.

    Beginning in late 2008, the university considered a merger with Baylor College of Medicine, though the merger was ultimately rejected in 2010. Rice undergraduates are currently guaranteed admission to Baylor College of Medicine upon graduation as part of the Rice/Baylor Medical Scholars program. According to History Professor John Boles’ recent book University Builder: Edgar Odell Lovett and the Founding of the Rice Institute, the first president’s original vision for the university included hopes for future medical and law schools.

    In 2018, the university added an online MBA program, MBA@Rice.

    In June 2019, the university’s president announced plans for a task force on Rice’s “past in relation to slave history and racial injustice”, stating that “Rice has some historical connections to that terrible part of American history and the segregation and racial disparities that resulted directly from it”.

    Campus

    Rice’s campus is a heavily wooded 285-acre (115-hectare) tract of land in the museum district of Houston, located close to the city of West University Place.

    Five streets demarcate the campus: Greenbriar Street, Rice Boulevard, Sunset Boulevard, Main Street, and University Boulevard. For most of its history, all of Rice’s buildings have been contained within this “outer loop”. In recent years, new facilities have been built close to campus, but the bulk of administrative, academic, and residential buildings are still located within the original pentagonal plot of land. The new Collaborative Research Center, all graduate student housing, the Greenbriar building, and the Wiess President’s House are located off-campus.

    Rice prides itself on the amount of green space available on campus; there are only about 50 buildings spread between the main entrance at its easternmost corner, and the parking lots and Rice Stadium at the West end. The Lynn R. Lowrey Arboretum, consisting of more than 4000 trees and shrubs (giving birth to the legend that Rice has a tree for every student), is spread throughout the campus.
    The university’s first president, Edgar Odell Lovett, intended for the campus to have a uniform architecture style to improve its aesthetic appeal. To that end, nearly every building on campus is noticeably Byzantine in style, with sand and pink-colored bricks, large archways and columns being a common theme among many campus buildings. Noteworthy exceptions include the glass-walled Brochstein Pavilion, Lovett College with its Brutalist-style concrete gratings, Moody Center for the Arts with its contemporary design, and the eclectic-Mediterranean Duncan Hall. In September 2011, Travel+Leisure listed Rice’s campus as one of the most beautiful in the United States.

    The university and Houston Independent School District jointly established The Rice School-a kindergarten through 8th grade public magnet school in Houston. The school opened in August 1994. Through Cy-Fair ISD Rice University offers a credit course based summer school for grades 8 through 12. They also have skills based classes during the summer in the Rice Summer School.

    Innovation District

    In early 2019 Rice announced the site where the abandoned Sears building in Midtown Houston stood along with its surrounding area would be transformed into the “The Ion” the hub of the 16-acre South Main Innovation District. President of Rice David Leebron stated “We chose the name Ion because it’s from the Greek ienai, which means ‘go’. We see it as embodying the ever-forward motion of discovery, the spark at the center of a truly original idea.”

    Students of Rice and other Houston-area colleges and universities making up the Student Coalition for a Just and Equitable Innovation Corridor are advocating for a Community Benefits Agreement (CBA)-a contractual agreement between a developer and a community coalition. Residents of neighboring Third Ward and other members of the Houston Coalition for Equitable Development Without Displacement (HCEDD) have faced consistent opposition from the City of Houston and Rice Management Company to a CBA as traditionally defined in favor of an agreement between the latter two entities without a community coalition signatory.

    Organization

    Rice University is chartered as a non-profit organization and is governed by a privately appointed board of trustees. The board consists of a maximum of 25 voting members who serve four-year terms. The trustees serve without compensation and a simple majority of trustees must reside in Texas including at least four within the greater Houston area. The board of trustees delegates its power by appointing a president to serve as the chief executive of the university. David W. Leebron was appointed president in 2004 and succeeded Malcolm Gillis who served since 1993. The provost six vice presidents and other university officials report to the president. The president is advised by a University Council composed of the provost, eight members of the Faculty Council, two staff members, one graduate student, and two undergraduate students. The president presides over a Faculty Council which has the authority to alter curricular requirements, establish new degree programs, and approve candidates for degrees.

    The university’s academics are organized into several schools. Schools that have undergraduate and graduate programs include:

    The Rice University School of Architecture
    The George R. Brown School of Engineering
    The School of Humanities
    The Shepherd School of Music
    The Wiess School of Natural Sciences
    The Rice University School of Social Sciences

    Two schools have only graduate programs:

    The Jesse H. Jones Graduate School of Management
    The Susanne M. Glasscock School of Continuing Studies

    Rice’s undergraduate students benefit from a centralized admissions process which admits new students to the university as a whole, rather than a specific school (the schools of Music and Architecture are decentralized). Students are encouraged to select the major path that best suits their desires; a student can later decide that they would rather pursue study in another field or continue their current coursework and add a second or third major. These transitions are designed to be simple at Rice with students not required to decide on a specific major until their sophomore year of study.

    Rice’s academics are organized into six schools which offer courses of study at the graduate and undergraduate level, with two more being primarily focused on graduate education, while offering select opportunities for undergraduate students. Rice offers 360 degrees in over 60 departments. There are 40 undergraduate degree programs, 51 masters programs, and 29 doctoral programs.

    Faculty members of each of the departments elect chairs to represent the department to each School’s dean and the deans report to the Provost who serves as the chief officer for academic affairs.

    Rice Management Company

    The Rice Management Company manages the $6.5 billion Rice University endowment (June 2019) and $957 million debt. The endowment provides 40% of Rice’s operating revenues. Allison Thacker is the President and Chief Investment Officer of the Rice Management Company, having joined the university in 2011.

    Academics

    Rice is a medium-sized highly residential research university. The majority of enrollments are in the full-time four-year undergraduate program emphasizing arts & sciences and professions. There is a high graduate coexistence with the comprehensive graduate program and a very high level of research activity. It is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (US) as well as the professional accreditation agencies for engineering, management, and architecture.

    Each of Rice’s departments is organized into one of three distribution groups, and students whose major lies within the scope of one group must take at least 3 courses of at least 3 credit hours each of approved distribution classes in each of the other two groups, as well as completing one physical education course as part of the LPAP (Lifetime Physical Activity Program) requirement. All new students must take a Freshman Writing Intensive Seminar (FWIS) class, and for students who do not pass the university’s writing composition examination (administered during the summer before matriculation), FWIS 100, a writing class, becomes an additional requirement.

    The majority of Rice’s undergraduate degree programs grant B.S. or B.A. degrees. Rice has recently begun to offer minors in areas such as business, energy and water sustainability, and global health.

    Student body

    As of fall 2014, men make up 52% of the undergraduate body and 64% of the professional and post-graduate student body. The student body consists of students from all 50 states, including the District of Columbia, two U.S. Territories, and 83 foreign countries. Forty percent of degree-seeking students are from Texas.

    Research centers and resources

    Rice is noted for its applied science programs in the fields of nanotechnology, artificial heart research, structural chemical analysis, signal processing and space science.

    Rice Alliance for Technology and Entrepreneurship – supports entrepreneurs and early-stage technology ventures in Houston and Texas through education, collaboration, and research, ranked No. 1 among university business incubators.
    Baker Institute for Public Policy – a leading nonpartisan public policy think-tank
    BioScience Research Collaborative (BRC) – interdisciplinary, cross-campus, and inter-institutional resource between Rice University and Texas Medical Center
    Boniuk Institute – dedicated to religious tolerance and advancing religious literacy, respect and mutual understanding
    Center for African and African American Studies – fosters conversations on topics such as critical approaches to race and racism, the nature of diasporic histories and identities, and the complexity of Africa’s past, present and future
    Chao Center for Asian Studies – research hub for faculty, students and post-doctoral scholars working in Asian studies
    Center for the Study of Women, Gender, and Sexuality (CSWGS) – interdisciplinary academic programs and research opportunities, including the journal Feminist Economics
    Data to Knowledge Lab (D2K) – campus hub for experiential learning in data science
    Digital Signal Processing (DSP) – center for education and research in the field of digital signal processing
    Ethernest Hackerspace – student-run hackerspace for undergraduate engineering students sponsored by the ECE department and the IEEE student chapter
    Humanities Research Center (HRC) – identifies, encourages, and funds innovative research projects by faculty, visiting scholars, graduate, and undergraduate students in the School of Humanities and beyond
    Institute of Biosciences and Bioengineering (IBB) – facilitates the translation of interdisciplinary research and education in biosciences and bioengineering
    Ken Kennedy Institute for Information Technology – advances applied interdisciplinary research in the areas of computation and information technology
    Kinder Institute for Urban Research – conducts the Houston Area Survey, “the nation’s longest running study of any metropolitan region’s economy, population, life experiences, beliefs and attitudes”
    Laboratory for Nanophotonics (LANP) – a resource for education and research breakthroughs and advances in the broad, multidisciplinary field of nanophotonics
    Moody Center for the Arts – experimental arts space featuring studio classrooms, maker space, audiovisual editing booths, and a gallery and office space for visiting national and international artists
    OpenStax CNX (formerly Connexions) and OpenStax – an open source platform and open access publisher, respectively, of open educational resources
    Oshman Engineering Design Kitchen (OEDK) – space for undergraduate students to design, prototype and deploy solutions to real-world engineering challenges
    Rice Cinema – an independent theater run by the Visual and Dramatic Arts department at Rice which screens documentaries, foreign films, and experimental cinema and hosts film festivals and lectures since 1970
    Rice Center for Engineering Leadership (RCEL) – inspires, educates, and develops ethical leaders in technology who will excel in research, industry, non-engineering career paths, or entrepreneurship
    Religion and Public Life Program (RPLP) – a research, training and outreach program working to advance understandings of the role of religion in public life
    Rice Design Alliance (RDA) – outreach and public programs of the Rice School of Architecture
    Rice Center for Quantum Materials (RCQM) – organization dedicated to research and higher education in areas relating to quantum phenomena
    Rice Neuroengineering Initiative (NEI) – fosters research collaborations in neural engineering topics
    Rice Space Institute (RSI) – fosters programs in all areas of space research
    Smalley-Curl Institute for Nanoscale Science and Technology (SCI) – the nation’s first nanotechnology center
    Welch Institute for Advanced Materials – collaborative research institute to support the foundational research for discoveries in materials science, similar to the model of Salk Institute and Broad Institute
    Woodson Research Center Special Collections & Archives – publisher of print and web-based materials highlighting the department’s primary source collections such as the Houston African American, Asian American, and Jewish History Archives, University Archives, rare books, and hip hop/rap music-related materials from the Swishahouse record label and Houston Folk Music Archive, etc.

    Residential colleges

    In 1957, Rice University implemented a residential college system, which was proposed by the university’s first president, Edgar Odell Lovett. The system was inspired by existing systems in place at University of Oxford (UK) and University of Cambridge (UK) and at several other universities in the United States, most notably Yale University (US). The existing residences known as East, South, West, and Wiess Halls became Baker, Will Rice, Hanszen, and Wiess Colleges, respectively.

    Student-run media

    Rice has a weekly student newspaper (The Rice Thresher), a yearbook (The Campanile), college radio station (KTRU Rice Radio), and now defunct, campus-wide student television station (RTV5). They are based out of the RMC student center. In addition, Rice hosts several student magazines dedicated to a range of different topics; in fact, the spring semester of 2008 saw the birth of two such magazines, a literary sex journal called Open and an undergraduate science research magazine entitled Catalyst.

    The Rice Thresher is published every Wednesday and is ranked by Princeton Review as one of the top campus newspapers nationally for student readership. It is distributed around campus, and at a few other local businesses and has a website. The Thresher has a small, dedicated staff and is known for its coverage of campus news, open submission opinion page, and the satirical Backpage, which has often been the center of controversy. The newspaper has won several awards from the College Media Association, Associated Collegiate Press and Texas Intercollegiate Press Association.

    The Rice Campanile was first published in 1916 celebrating Rice’s first graduating class. It has published continuously since then, publishing two volumes in 1944 since the university had two graduating classes due to World War II. The website was created sometime in the early to mid 2000s. The 2015 won the first place Pinnacle for best yearbook from College Media Association.

    KTRU Rice Radio is the student-run radio station. Though most DJs are Rice students, anyone is allowed to apply. It is known for playing genres and artists of music and sound unavailable on other radio stations in Houston, and often, the US. The station takes requests over the phone or online. In 2000 and 2006, KTRU won Houston Press’ Best Radio Station in Houston. In 2003, Rice alum and active KTRU DJ DL’s hip-hip show won Houston PressBest Hip-hop Radio Show. On August 17, 2010, it was announced that Rice University had been in negotiations to sell the station’s broadcast tower, FM frequency and license to the University of Houston System to become a full-time classical music and fine arts programming station. The new station, KUHA, would be operated as a not-for-profit outlet with listener supporters. The FCC approved the sale and granted the transfer of license to the University of Houston System on April 15, 2011, however, KUHA proved to be an even larger failure and so after four and a half years of operation, The University of Houston System announced that KUHA’s broadcast tower, FM frequency and license were once again up for sale in August 2015. KTRU continued to operate much as it did previously, streaming live on the Internet, via apps, and on HD2 radio using the 90.1 signal. Under student leadership, KTRU explored the possibility of returning to FM radio for a number of years. In spring 2015, KTRU was granted permission by the FCC to begin development of a new broadcast signal via LPFM radio. On October 1, 2015, KTRU made its official return to FM radio on the 96.1 signal. While broadcasting on HD2 radio has been discontinued, KTRU continues to broadcast via internet in addition to its LPFM signal.

    RTV5 is a student-run television network available as channel 5 on campus. RTV5 was created initially as Rice Broadcast Television in 1997; RBT began to broadcast the following year in 1998, and aired its first live show across campus in 1999. It experienced much growth and exposure over the years with successful programs like Drinking with Phil, The Meg & Maggie Show, which was a variety and call-in show, a weekly news show, and extensive live coverage in December 2000 of the shut down of KTRU by the administration. In spring 2001, the Rice undergraduate community voted in the general elections to support RBT as a blanket tax organization, effectively providing a yearly income of $10,000 to purchase new equipment and provide the campus with a variety of new programming. In the spring of 2005, RBT members decided the station needed a new image and a new name: Rice Television 5. One of RTV5’s most popular shows was the 24-hour show, where a camera and couch placed in the RMC stayed on air for 24 hours. One such show is held in fall and another in spring, usually during a weekend allocated for visits by prospective students. RTV5 has a video on demand site at rtv5.rice.edu. The station went off the air in 2014 and changed its name to Rice Video Productions. In 2015 the group’s funding was threatened, but ultimately maintained. In 2016 the small student staff requested to no longer be a blanket-tax organization. In the fall of 2017, the club did not register as a club.

    The Rice Review, also known as R2, is a yearly student-run literary journal at Rice University that publishes prose, poetry, and creative nonfiction written by undergraduate students, as well as interviews. The journal was founded in 2004 by creative writing professor and author Justin Cronin.

    The Rice Standard was an independent, student-run variety magazine modeled after such publications as The New Yorker and Harper’s. Prior to fall 2009, it was regularly published three times a semester with a wide array of content, running from analyses of current events and philosophical pieces to personal essays, short fiction and poetry. In August 2009, The Standard transitioned to a completely online format with the launch of their redesigned website, http://www.ricestandard.org. The first website of its kind on Rice’s campus, The Standard featured blog-style content written by and for Rice students. The Rice Standard had around 20 regular contributors, and the site features new content every day (including holidays). In 2017 no one registered The Rice Standard as a club within the university.

    Open, a magazine dedicated to “literary sex content,” predictably caused a stir on campus with its initial publication in spring 2008. A mixture of essays, editorials, stories and artistic photography brought Open attention both on campus and in the Houston Chronicle. The third and last annual edition of Open was released in spring of 2010.

    Athletics

    Rice plays in NCAA Division I athletics and is part of Conference USA. Rice was a member of the Western Athletic Conference before joining Conference USA in 2005. Rice is the second-smallest school, measured by undergraduate enrollment, competing in NCAA Division I FBS football, only ahead of Tulsa.

    The Rice baseball team won the 2003 College World Series, defeating Stanford, giving Rice its only national championship in a team sport. The victory made Rice University the smallest school in 51 years to win a national championship at the highest collegiate level of the sport. The Rice baseball team has played on campus at Reckling Park since the 2000 season. As of 2010, the baseball team has won 14 consecutive conference championships in three different conferences: the final championship of the defunct Southwest Conference, all nine championships while a member of the Western Athletic Conference, and five more championships in its first five years as a member of Conference USA. Additionally, Rice’s baseball team has finished third in both the 2006 and 2007 College World Series tournaments. Rice now has made six trips to Omaha for the CWS. In 2004, Rice became the first school ever to have three players selected in the first eight picks of the MLB draft when Philip Humber, Jeff Niemann, and Wade Townsend were selected third, fourth, and eighth, respectively. In 2007, Joe Savery was selected as the 19th overall pick.

    Rice has been very successful in women’s sports in recent years. In 2004–05, Rice sent its women’s volleyball, soccer, and basketball teams to their respective NCAA tournaments. The women’s swim team has consistently brought at least one member of their team to the NCAA championships since 2013. In 2005–06, the women’s soccer, basketball, and tennis teams advanced, with five individuals competing in track and field. In 2006–07, the Rice women’s basketball team made the NCAA tournament, while again five Rice track and field athletes received individual NCAA berths. In 2008, the women’s volleyball team again made the NCAA tournament. In 2011 the Women’s Swim team won their first conference championship in the history of the university. This was an impressive feat considering they won without having a diving team. The team repeated their C-USA success in 2013 and 2014. In 2017, the women’s basketball team, led by second-year head coach Tina Langley, won the Women’s Basketball Invitational, defeating UNC-Greensboro 74–62 in the championship game at Tudor Fieldhouse. Though not a varsity sport, Rice’s ultimate frisbee women’s team, named Torque, won consecutive Division III national championships in 2014 and 2015.

    In 2006, the football team qualified for its first bowl game since 1961, ending the second-longest bowl drought in the country at the time. On December 22, 2006, Rice played in the New Orleans Bowl in New Orleans, Louisiana against the Sun Belt Conference champion, Troy. The Owls lost 41–17. The bowl appearance came after Rice had a 14-game losing streak from 2004–05 and went 1–10 in 2005. The streak followed an internally authorized 2003 McKinsey report that stated football alone was responsible for a $4 million deficit in 2002. Tensions remained high between the athletic department and faculty, as a few professors who chose to voice their opinion were in favor of abandoning the football program. The program success in 2006, the Rice Renaissance, proved to be a revival of the Owl football program, quelling those tensions. David Bailiff took over the program in 2007 and has remained head coach. Jarett Dillard set an NCAA record in 2006 by catching a touchdown pass in 13 consecutive games and took a 15-game overall streak into the 2007 season.

    In 2008, the football team posted a 9-3 regular season, capping off the year with a 38–14 victory over Western Michigan University (US) in the Texas Bowl. The win over Western Michigan marked the Owls’ first bowl win in 45 years.

    Rice Stadium also serves as the performance venue for the university’s Marching Owl Band, or “MOB.” Despite its name, the MOB is a scatter band that focuses on performing humorous skits and routines rather than traditional formation marching.

    Rice Owls men’s basketball won 10 conference titles in the former Southwest Conference (1918, 1935*, 1940, 1942*, 1943*, 1944*, 1945, 1949*, 1954*, 1970; * denotes shared title). Most recently, guard Morris Almond was drafted in the first round of the 2007 NBA Draft by the Utah Jazz. Rice named former Cal Bears head coach Ben Braun as head basketball coach to succeed Willis Wilson, fired after Rice finished the 2007–2008 season with a winless (0-16) conference record and overall record of 3-27.

     
  • richardmitnick 9:56 am on December 31, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Take a tour of the solar system’s planets"-The Basics, , Planetary Science   

    From Astronomy Magazine : “Take a tour of the solar system’s planets”-The Basics 

    From Astronomy Magazine

    December 13, 2021
    Jake Parks

    With thousands of exotic exoplanets known, the worlds of our solar system may seem rather dull. Trust us, they’re not.

    1
    The heavily cratered surface of Mercury’s southern hemisphere is on full display in this mosaic of images taken by NASA’s Mariner 10 spacecraft, which was the first mission to fly by and closely scrutinize our solar system’s innermost world.Credit: JPL/Caltech-NASA(US).

    Mercury

    Mercury, which is the smallest and innermost planet, is constantly cooked by sunlight. Despite its proximity to our star, it’s not the hottest world in our solar system; still, Mercury experiences wild temperature swings unlike those found on any other planet. On the dayside, the Sun penetrates the planet’s thin, fleeting atmosphere and bakes the surface. But because there isn’t much air to distribute that heat, the temperature on the planet’s nightside plunges to hundreds of degrees below zero.

    The Sun also helps give Mercury another peculiar trait: The world has a faint cometlike tail. Mercury’s feeble atmosphere contains sodium, which glows when excited by sunlight. Plus, the diminutive world doesn’t have much gravity — only about twice the gravity of the Moon. This means pressure from sunlight striking Mercury can liberate sodium molecules, forcing them “downwind” of the planet and creating a dimly glowing tail.

    Thanks to its thin atmosphere, Mercury is also prone to impacts. This has left it with a rather pockmarked appearance. And to make matters worse, it’s wrinkled with age. The world has steep, clifflike north-south ridges that stretch all over its surface. Researchers think they might have formed as Mercury cooled after its birth, causing the planet to shrink and its crust to slightly crumple.

    2
    Mercury’s surface is covered in wrinklelike ridges. This unnamed example of such a ridge is located in the planet’s northern volcanic plains and was imaged by NASA’s MESSENGER spacecraft. The feature spans some 87 miles (140 km) and, like the world’s other wrinkles, is believed to have formed when Mercury’s core shrank as it cooled, which forced the surface to follow suit. Credit: The National Aeronautics and Space Agency(US)*/The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (US)/The Carnegie Institution for Science (US).

    Mercury has so far been visited by only two spacecraft: Mariner 10 (launched in 1973) and MESSENGER (launched in 2004).

    NASA Mariner 10 schematic.

    NASA Messenger satellite schematic.

    The former was a flyby mission that only revealed a partial view of the tiny planet. However, the latter was an orbiter, which not only mapped the vast majority of Mercury’s surface, but also discovered that the planet’s permanently shadowed polar craters likely hold abundant water ice.

    If you’d like to learn more about what Mercury has to offer, you need not wait long. The European and Japanese space agencies have teamed up and sent BepiColumbo to orbit Earth’s smallest sibling — and Bepi just made its first brief pass by the oft-forgotten planet this October. Stay tuned for more!

    European Space Agency [Agence spatiale européenne][Europäische Weltraumorganisation](EU)/Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency [国立研究開発法人宇宙航空研究開発機構](JP), Bepicolumbo in flight illustration. Artist’s impression of BepiColombo – ESA’s first mission to Mercury. ESA’s Mercury Planetary Orbiter (MPO) will be operated from ESOC Germany.

    STATS
    Mass: 0.055 Earth masses
    Diameter: 3,030 miles (4,876 km)
    Surface temperature: 805 F (430 C) during the day; –290 F (–180 C) at night
    Rotation period (day): 58.8 Earth days
    Orbital period (year): 88 Earth days
    Moons: None

    2
    Venus’ surface, usually shrouded by the planet’s dense atmosphere, bursts into view in this simulated color radar mosaic assembled using data from the Magellan spacecraft’s first mapping campaign. Data from the Pioneer Venus Orbiter were used to fill in the gaps. Credit: NASA/JPL-CALTECH.

    Venus

    Despite being the most brilliant planet in our sky, Venus offers little visual oomph when observed from afar. (See “Unveiling Venus” on page 48.) That’s because its surface is shrouded by thick, omnipresent clouds. These poisonous puffs trap heat that would otherwise escape into space, making it the most sweltering planet in the solar system — hot enough to melt lead on its surface. But don’t worry about burning up: If you were to stand there, the atmosphere (made mostly of carbon dioxide laced with sulfuric acid) is so dense that the pressure would collapse your lungs and kill you instantly.

    Despite its hellish environment, Venus holds many fascinating mysteries. For one, it’s strikingly similar to Earth in size and composition. And yet, the worlds have clearly led two very different lives, with Venus experiencing a runaway greenhouse effect in its past. Unlike Mercury, whose bulky iron core accounts for some 75 percent of the planet’s mass, the core of Venus is thought to be relatively earthlike: differentiated into a solid inner core and a molten outer core. However, Venus does not internally generate a discernible magnetic field like Earth does, which might be because it rotates (backward) so slowly that a venusian day is longer than a venusian year.

    Steadily, though, Venus is revealing some of its secrets. The veil created by its clouds was finally lifted in 1994, when the Magellan spacecraft completed a five-year mission that, among other things, used cloud-penetrating radar to map some 98 percent of the world’s cloaked surface. As incredible as Magellan’s work was, however, a trio of new spacecraft recently selected to explore Venus in the next decade are sure to raise the bar even higher.

    3
    Ancient lava flows and fractured plains in the foreground extend back more than 100 miles (200 km) to Maat Mons along the southern horizon in this computer-generated 3D view of the surface of Venus. Maat Mons, an ancient and massive shield volcano, is the second-tallest mountain on Venus, peaking some 3 miles (5 km) above its surroundings. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech.

    On June 2, NASA announced not one, but two complementary missions to Venus: DAVINCI (short for Deep Atmosphere Venus Investigation of Noble gases, Chemistry, and Imaging) and VERITAS (Venus Emissivity, Radio Science, InSAR, Topography & Spectroscopy).

    DAVINCI+ Artist’s concept of descent stages-Credit Goddard Space Flight Center (US).

    VERITAS-Exploring the Deep Truths of Venus. Credit JPL/Caltech-NASA(US).

    The former will dive through Venus’ atmosphere, snapping pics of the environment and sampling the world’s acidic clouds before slamming into its surface. That bold plan will allow scientists to stitch together a layer-by-layer profile of Venus’ atmosphere — and perhaps even confirm the floating phosphine detected there last year, which tantalized many because it is often produced by microbial life on Earth. Meanwhile, VERITAS will orbit Venus, using radar and imaging equipment to investigate whether the world is actively experiencing volcanic activity and, if so, learn what might be driving it.

    And don’t forget EnVision, the European Space Agency’s contribution.

    3
    EnVision. The European Space Agency [Agence spatiale européenne][Europäische Weltraumorganisation](EU) / NASA /The Paris Observatory [Observatoire de Paris – PSL Centre de recherche en astronomie et astrophysique](FR).

    This orbiting craft will use a sounder to study Venus’ underground layering, radar to map its surface, spectrometers to analyze trace atmospheric gases, and a radio experiment to probe the planet’s internal structure and gravitational field. With such an impressive trio preparing to venture to Venus, it’s safe to say we’ll unlock some surprising secrets about our sister world over the next decade or so.

    STATS
    Mass: 0.815 Earth masses
    Diameter: 7,520 miles (12,100 km)
    Surface temperature: 867 F (464 C)
    Rotation period (day): 243 Earth days (retrograde)
    Orbital period (year): 225 Earth days
    Moons: None

    4
    The Expedition 7 crew aboard the International Space Station captured this stunning view of the Sun setting over the Pacific Ocean in 2003. Credit: NASA.

    Earth

    Our planet, despite all the challenges we face living on it, is an unparalleled abode for life. Located in the Sun’s so-called Goldilocks zone, the energy we receive from our host star is just right. It keeps Earth warm enough that liquid water can happily exist on the surface, but it’s also weak enough that our oceans don’t boil away. Then there’s our atmosphere — what a blessing! This thick (but not oppressive) gaseous envelope not only provides us with the oxygen we need to breathe, but also protects us from all but the most formidable stray space rocks. And let’s not forget our planet’s magnetic field. Generated deep within Earth’s liquid outer core, which surrounds a solid inner core, this magnetic shield defends us from the constant onslaught of high-energy particles spewed out by the Sun as solar wind.

    But impressive as Earth is, life has existed here for billions of years. And we already know quite a lot about our home world (even if there’s still plenty left to discover). So, instead of looking inward, let’s look out. Let’s take a quick tour of the other planets our solar system has to offer. Along the way, we’ll brush up on what we already know — as well as what we may soon find out.

    STATS
    Mass: 10.3 septillion pounds (5.97×1024 kilograms)
    Diameter (equator): 7,930 miles (12,760 kilometers)
    Average surface temperature: 59 degrees Fahrenheit (15 degrees Celsius)
    Rotation period (day): 23 hours 56 minutes 4 seconds
    Orbital period (year): 365.26 days
    Moons: The Moon

    5
    The Viking Orbiter provided the images used to create this global color map of Mars’ scarred and ice-capped surface, which is seen at a resolution of about 0.6 mile (1 km) per pixel.
    NASA/JPL-CALTECH/Geological Survey (US).

    Mars

    As the most explored world in the solar system (save Earth), Mars has enjoyed the lion’s share of planetary research funding for several decades. We’ve come a long way since Italian astronomer Giovanni Schiaparelli first mapped his martian canali (“channels,” which was mistranslated to “canals”) in 1877. Nearly a century later, in 1965, NASA accomplished the first up-close and personal flyby of Mars with Mariner 4. In the decades since, dozens more spacecraft have incrementally advanced our understanding of the Red Planet.

    Orbiters have thoroughly mapped Mars’ surface. Landers have probed the planet’s internal structure and monitored the local weather. Rovers have trundled across the desertscape to collect and analyze rock samples. And one small NASA helicopter named Ingenuity recently zipped through the martian atmosphere more than a dozen times — no small feat considering Mars’ air is just 1 percent as dense as Earth’s. This opens the door to future fleets of flying scouts that could explore broad swaths of the planet at an incredible pace.

    Tianwen-1 and Zhurong – China’s Mars orbiter.

    UAE Mars spacecraft Hope. NASA Mars Ingenuity helicopter traveling with Perseverance rover.

    NASA Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.

    NASA Mars Sojourner 1996-1997.

    European Space Agency [Agence spatiale européenne][Europäische Weltraumorganisation](EU)/Roscosmos State Corporation for Space Activities,A.K.A. Roscosmos [Роскосмос] (RU) ExoMars Rosalind Franklin, scheduled for launch in September 2022.

    NASA/Mars InSight Lander.
    ESA/Mars Express Orbiter.

    NASA/Mars Curiosity Rover

    NASA Mars MAVEN.

    Perseverence Mars 2020 Perseverance Rover – NASA Mars annotated.

    6
    The Hubble Space Telescope’s Wide Field and Planetary Camera 2 snapped the four images used to create this nearly global, full-color map of Mars.
    STEVE LEE (University of Colorado (US))/JIM BELL (Cornell University (US))/ MIKE WOLFF (Space Science Institute (US) )

    Hubble WFPC2 no longer in service.

    Thanks to humanity’s legion of robotic martian surveyors, we now know the rusty world was not always as arid and inhospitable as it is today. Because Mars is covered in networks of valleys and deltas that once carried rivers and fed long-lost lakes, scientists are confident liquid water once flowed freely across its surface. Rock and soil samples plucked right off the ground and analyzed on the spot back up that history, as many could have only formed in the presence of copious liquid water.

    Although rovers tend to get most of the credit, orbiters have contributed just as much to our understanding of Mars’ past. For instance, a 2018 study published in Geology based on high-resolution photos taken by NASA Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (US) analyzed dozens of martian outlet canyons carved out by flowing water that snaked from ancient lakes. The researchers found that the topography of the many outlet canyons matches what they’d expect if they had all rapidly formed during a massive and catastrophic flooding event some 3.5 billion years ago.

    Such evidence for vast amounts of liquid water having once flowed on Mars is largely why NASA’s latest rover, Perseverance, is currently searching for signs of ancient martian life. But the possibility of past life isn’t the world’s only appeal. Compared to Mercury, Venus, and the giant planets, Mars could offer a somewhat suitable place for humanity to eventually set up shop — if, of course, we can harvest and make what we need there.

    STATS
    Mass: 0.11 Earth masses
    Diameter: 4,220 miles (6,790 km)
    Surface temperature: 68 F (20 C) to –243 F (–153 C)
    Rotation period (day): 24 hours 37 minutes
    Orbital period (year): 687 Earth days
    Moons: Phobos and Deimos

    7
    Jupiter’s swirling bands are created by differences in the thickness, height, and composition of its icy clouds. The colorful bands flow in opposite directions at various latitudes; the lighter bands hold thicker clouds and stretch higher than the darker bands. This image of the gas giant was captured by Hubble in June 2019. Credit: NASA/ESA/A. Simon (GSFC)/M.H. Wong (The University of California-Berkeley (US).

    Jupiter

    Like Mars, Jupiter has received a lot of attention during the era of space exploration. That began with Pioneer 10, which flew by the gas giant in 1973. It was rapidly followed by Pioneer 11 (1974), Voyager 1 (1979), and Voyager 2 (1979).

    National Aeronautics Space Agency(USA) Juno at Jupiter. [not cited in this article.]

    NASA Pioneer 10

    NASA Pioneer 11.

    National Aeronautics Space Agency(US) Voyager 1.

    National Aeronautics and Space Administration(US)Voyager 2.

    Each of these missions had their own scientific objectives, but collectively, they revealed a world of confounding complexity. The Pioneer probes took the first close-up shots of the behemoth’s storm-strewn atmosphere, as well as studied its super-charged radiation belts and powerful magnetic field (the strongest of any planet in our solar system). The Voyagers provided improved views of the king of planets, tracking Jupiter’s alternating bands of bright white zones and darker brown belts. This new perspective revealed strange atmospheric behavior that models did not predict, including eddies churning in the clouds and a pair of colliding oval storms that ejected streamers upon merging. Such unexpected sights left the imaging team “happily bewildered.”

    In the decades since, NASA has continued slinging spacecraft at Jupiter. The Galileo mission included an orbiter and the first-ever probe to dive into the atmosphere of one of the outer planets.

    National Aeronautics and Space Administration(US) Galileo Spacecraft 1989-2003.

    As the Galileo probe plunged into Jupiter’s swirling bands of multicolored clouds, it transmitted back data for nearly 58 minutes before finally succumbing to face-melting temperatures of almost 25,000 degrees Fahrenheit (14,000 degrees Celsius). Still, Jupiter’s beautifully chaotic atmosphere — including its famous Great Red Spot, a storm the size of Earth that’s been brewing for centuries — isn’t the only intriguing aspect of the jovian system.

    NASA Europa Clipper depiction.

    Jove’s natural satellites total nearly four score and run the gamut in size, ranging from tens to thousands of miles wide. But of these moons, four truly stand above the rest. These are Jupiter’s Galilean moons: Io, Europa, Ganymede, and Callisto. The more we learn about these surprisingly complicated worlds, first recognized as moons by Galileo Galilei himself in March 1610, the more intriguing they get. Io is the most volcanically active world in the solar system, thanks to Jupiter’s immense gravity creating tides in Io’s solid surface that reach some 300 feet (100 m) tall. Europa’s surface, on the other hand, is mostly water ice and might even hide an underground global ocean of slushy water. Ganymede, which is wider than Mercury and the largest moon in the solar system, generates its own internal magnetic field. Callisto, meanwhile, shows little evidence of recent resurfacing, which means its heavily cratered face likely preserves a record of stray detritus streaming through the early solar system.

    These intriguing features are just some of the reasons the European Space Agency (with NASA as a partner) plans to launch the JUICE (JUpiter ICy moons Explorer) mission in 2022, which will see an orbiter reach the jovian system in 2029.

    European Space Agency [Agence spatiale européenne](EU) Juice spacecraft depiction.

    Once there, JUICE will spend several years closely scrutinizing Ganymede, Callisto, and Europa — while also evaluating the potential of these watery worlds to harbor life.

    STATS
    Mass: 318 Earth masses
    Equatorial diameter: 88,850 miles (143,000 km)
    Average temperature: –162 F (–108 C)
    Rotation period (day): 9 hours 56 minutes
    Orbital period (year): 11.9 Earth years
    Moons: At least 79 moons

    6
    The massive moon Titan stands before Saturn and the planet’s rings in this natural-color view captured by NASA’s Cassini spacecraft. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute.

    Saturn

    The surreal je ne sais quoi of Saturn has captivated observers for centuries. That’s largely because the world’s stunning rings span some 170,000 miles (274,000 kilometers), or about 2.5 times the width of the planet itself. But get this: They might be as little as 30 feet (10 meters) thick in some places. So, when the planet is tilted just so to our line of sight, presenting its ring system side-on, those rings all but vanish from our view.

    National Aeronautics and Space Administration(US)/European Space Agency [Agence spatiale européenne][Europäische Weltraumorganisation](EU)/ASI Italian Space Agency [Agenzia Spaziale Italiana](IT) Cassini Spacecraft.

    7
    On July 19, 2013, Saturn eclipsed the Sun from Cassini’s vantage point. This majestic mosaic of 141 images is only slightly enhanced and hides a surprise. Can you spot our blue home planet just beneath Saturn’s rings at lower right? Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SSI.

    The world’s glimmering rings are made of countless pieces of dirty water ice that range in size from dust grains to mountains. Although it’s unclear exactly how or when the rings formed, Cassini data indicate they are the result of a moon (or moons) being torn asunder 10 million to 100 million years ago. Considering the planets are some 4.5 billion years old and scientists expect the rings to last just another couple of hundred million years, we’re quite fortunate to bear witness to this relatively brief celestial show.

    Launched in 1997, the Cassini spacecraft spent some 13 years exploring all Saturn has to offer (despite mission planners initially banking on only four years of scientific study there). During that time, the craft returned thousands of awe-inspiring images, tracked Saturn’s seasonal changes, analyzed its icy rings, and studied its raging storms, including the massive hexagonal hurricane that churns around the world’s north pole. As part of Cassini’s Grand Finale in 2017, the spacecraft even skirted past the inner edge of Saturn’s rings before plunging into the gas giant’s multilayered, ammonia-laced clouds. During its final orbits, Cassini not only sampled ring particles that are magnetically drawn into Saturn’s atmosphere, but also created highly detailed maps of the world’s gravitational and magnetic fields.

    8
    Cassini carried with it the ESA’s ambitious Huygens lander, which floated through Titan’s atmosphere and landed (after bouncing) on the surface in January 2005.
    ESA/Huygens Probe from Cassini landed on Titan.

    This mosaic shows Huygens’ view of Titan’s complex terrain from an altitude of about 6 miles (10 km). Credit ESA/NASA/JPL-Caltech/The University of Arizona (US).

    While exploring the Saturn system, Cassini also dropped off an ESA-built lander named Huygens near the intriguing moon Titan. Despite all odds, the craft managed to survive its descent through the moon’s dense clouds, revealing one of the most surprisingly Earth-like worlds yet found in our solar system.

    STATS
    Mass: 95 Earth masses
    Equatorial diameter: 74,900 miles (120,500 km)
    Average temperature: –218 F (–139 C)
    Rotation period (day):10 hours 39 minutes
    Orbital period (year): 29.5 Earth years
    Moons: At least 82 moons

    9
    Voyager 2 arrived at Uranus in 1986, returning views of a celeste orb with very subtle features. Still, the spacecraft’s instruments shed light on myriad mysteries. Credit: NASA/JPL-CALTECH

    Uranus

    Unlike the gas giants Jupiter and Saturn, the solar system’s more distant ice giants have largely received the cold shoulder from robotic spacecraft. But thanks to a fortunate planetary alignment that occurs only once every 175 years, NASA’s ambitious Voyager 2 mission flew by the solar system’s seventh planet, Uranus, in 1986.

    Like both its bloated inner siblings, Uranus hosts a ring system, though it is much fainter than that of Saturn. The rings around Uranus were initially discovered in 1977 by astronomers aboard the Kuiper Airborne Observatory, an airplane equipped with an infrared telescope. But Voyager 2 studied them in unprecedented detail. The mission also uncovered 10 new moons and clocked the planet’s atmosphere zipping around the world at speeds approaching 450 mph (725 km/h). Before continuing on to Neptune, Voyager 2 also captured informative images of some of the ice giant’s largest moons: Titania, Miranda, Umbriel, Oberon, and Ariel.

    10
    Thanks to adaptive optics, the Keck Telescope obtained these infrared views of the two hemispheres of Uranus and its faint ring system in 2004. The ice giant’s south pole is facing left in both images. Credit:W.W. Keck Observatory/Lawrence Sromovsky (The University of Wisconsin-Madison (US))

    W.M. Keck Observatory two ten meter telescopes operated by California Institute of Technology(US) and The University of California(US), at Mauna Kea Observatory, Hawaii USA, altitude 4,207 m (13,802 ft). Credit: Caltech.

    But no other craft has visited Uranus since. That’s disappointing, considering all the mysteries the planet still holds. Not least of which: Why is Uranus’ rotation axis tilted nearly 100° to the plane of the solar system, making it orbit the Sun not like a spinning top, but more like a rolling ball? No matter the cause (the leading theory is an ancient planetary collision), we do know that this unique orientation gives Uranus the most extreme seasons in the solar system. One pole is bathed in constant sunlight while the other is veiled in darkness for some 21 years at a time. Uranus’ magnetic field is also lopsided, tilted some 60° relative to its spin axis, so the planet’s rotation twists its magnetic field lines into a bizarre corkscrew shape.

    Another unresolved mystery about Uranus is its structure. The blue-green hue of its swirling atmosphere (primarily made of hydrogen and helium) is the result of trace methane gas, which more readily absorbs red light. But as you venture deeper beneath the planet’s cloud tops, things get murkier. Scientists think that about 80 percent of the planet exists in the form of hot and dense mantle layers composed of super-pressurized water, ammonia, and methane fluids, which surround a small core of icy rock. The jury’s still out on that, however. Maybe another mission to Uranus is in order?

    STATS
    Mass: 14.5 Earth masses
    Equatorial diameter: 31,760 miles (51,120 km)
    Average temperature: –323 F (–197 C)
    Rotation period (day):
    17 hours 15 minutes (retrograde)
    Orbital period (year): 84 Earth years
    Moons: At least 27 moons

    11
    Taken by Voyager 2 at a distance of some 4.4 million miles (7.1 million km), this view of Neptune features a temporary great dark spot at center (and a companion bright smudge below that). First seen in 1989, this spot had disappeared by the time Hubble observed the world in 1994, though it did see a similar feature in the ice giant’s northern hemisphere. Credit: NASA/JPL-CALTECH

    Neptune

    You’d expect the solar system’s most distant planet, which is some 30 times farther from the Sun than Earth, to be pretty chill. But although aquamarine Neptune is absolutely cold, it’s definitely not calm.

    Neptune sports the strongest winds in the solar system, which can whip across the gaseous planet at speeds up to 1,200 mph (2,000 km/h). That’s about 1.5 times the speed of sound! Plus, about half the time, the world hosts at least one giant anticyclonic storm called a great dark spot, which are thought to take on a shadowy appearance because their strong winds tear a hole in Neptune’s methane-laced cloud deck. However, unlike Jupiter’s seemingly immortal Great Red Spot, Neptune’s fierce storms usually pop up and disappear within just a few years.

    12
    Voyager 2 observed the surface of Neptune’s moon Triton, which is composed mainly of nitrogen ice, as it flew by the world in 1989. This contrast-enhanced map approximates Triton’s true colors and has a resolution of 1,970 feet (600 m) per pixel.
    NASA/JPL-Caltech/The Lunar and Planetary Institute (US).

    Let’s not forget Triton, Neptune’s largest satellite, either. It’s the only large moon in the solar system that orbits in the opposite direction of its host planet’s spin. Scientists think Triton might have this so-called retrograde orbit because it was captured from the Kuiper Belt, a vast disk of icy remnants from the early solar system, orbiting beyond Neptune.

    Kuiper Belt. Minor Planet Center.

    But no matter its origin, Triton is a surprisingly active world. Thanks to Voyager 2, we know this frosty wonderland is home to a variety of intriguing features: Its frozen nitrogen crust is adorned with rounded mounds created by icy lava flows, as well as vast, smooth volcanic plains. It’s also speckled by fewer craters than expected for an object its age, suggesting its surface is being rejuvenated. Voyager even found that Triton hosts active ice volcanoes that spew frozen nitrogen as high as 5 miles (8 km) above the moon’s south pole.

    I’ll leave you with one final thought: In the decades since Voyager 2 carried out the only mission to the ice giants, scientists have uncovered thousands of exoplanets outside our solar system. And despite planetary formation models suggesting ice giants should be relatively rare, exoplanetary evidence suggests they are surprisingly common. So, although our ice giants may seem too alien to matter, exploring them might help us better understand what it took to set the stage for life here on Earth — or even beyond.

    STATS
    Mass: 17.15 Earth masses
    Equatorial diameter: 30,800 miles (49,500 km)
    Average temperature: –330 F (–201 C)
    Rotation period (day): 16 hours 7 minutes
    Orbital period (year): 165 Earth years
    Moons: At least 14 moons

    13
    The western lobe of Pluto’s “heart,” Sputnik Planitia, was imaged by New Horizons during its flyby in 2015. Thanks to the spacecraft, astronomers now know the area is a craterless region rich in slowly shifting nitrogen, methane, and carbon monoxide ices.
    NASA/The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (US)/The Southwest Research Institute (US).

    Honorable mention: Pluto

    Pluto, despite what the International Astronomical Union says, is still a planet in the minds of many. And whether it’s a planet or dwarf planet, nearly all agree Pluto is a fascinating world. Covered in plains of nitrogen ice and textured with mountain ranges of frozen water, this demoted world was closely studied less than seven years ago by NASA’s New Horizon spacecraft.

    National Aeronautics Space Agency(USA) New Horizons(US) spacecraft.

    STATS
    Mass: 0.002 Earth masses
    Diameter: 1,480 miles (2,380 km)
    Surface temperature: –387 F (–233 C)
    Rotation period (day): About 6.4 Earth days (retrograde)
    Orbital period (year): 248 Earth years
    Moons: Charon, Hydra, Styx, Kerberos, Nix

    *Citations will be credited only on the first instance.

    See the full article here .


    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    Astronomy is a magazine about the science and hobby of astronomy. Based near Milwaukee in Waukesha, Wisconsin, it is produced by Kalmbach Publishing. Astronomy’s readers include those interested in astronomy and those who want to know about sky events, observing techniques, astrophotography, and amateur astronomy in general.

    Astronomy was founded in 1973 by Stephen A. Walther, a graduate of the University of Wisconsin–Stevens Point and amateur astronomer. The first issue, August 1973, consisted of 48 pages with five feature articles and information about what to see in the sky that month. Issues contained astrophotos and illustrations created by astronomical artists. Walther had worked part time as a planetarium lecturer at the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee and developed an interest in photographing constellations at an early age. Although even in childhood he was interested to obsession in Astronomy, he did so poorly in mathematics that his mother despaired that he would ever be able to earn a living. However he graduated in Journalism from the University of Wisconsin Stevens Point, and as a senior class project he created a business plan for a magazine for amateur astronomers. With the help of his brother David, he was able to bring the magazine to fruition. He died in 1977.

     
  • richardmitnick 8:26 am on December 27, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "The Red Sky Paradox Will Make You Question Our Very Place in The Universe", , , , , , Dwarf stars are an attractive prospect for the search for extraterrestrial life., FGK dwarfs: yellow and white dwarf stars, Habitable worlds are at least two-orders of magnitude less common around M-dwarfs than FGKs., Habitable zone rocky exoplanets are 100 times less common around red dwarfs than they are around yellow dwarfs., M dwarfs: red dwarf stars, No red dwarfs have yet reached the end of their main sequence lifespan during the entire 13.4 billion years since the Big Bang., Planetary Science, Red dwarfs are much cooler and longer-lived than stars like the Sun., Red dwarfs make up as much as 75 percent of all stars in the Milky Way., Resolution I: An Unusual Outcome, Resolution II: Inhibited Life Under a Red Sky, Resolution III: A Truncated Window for Complex Life, Resolution IV: A Paucity of Pale Red Dots, Resolving the red sky paradox is of central interest to astrobiology and SETI with implication as to which stars to dedicate our resources., , Solar Science, We expect our Sun to live around 10 billion years; red dwarf stars are expected to live trillions of years.   

    From Columbia University (US) via Science Alert (US) : “The Red Sky Paradox Will Make You Question Our Very Place in The Universe” 

    Columbia U bloc

    From Columbia University (US)

    via

    ScienceAlert

    Science Alert (US)

    27 DECEMBER 2021
    MICHELLE STARR

    1
    Artist’s impression of a habitable world orbiting a red dwarf. Credit: M. Kornmesser/The European Southern Observatory [Observatoire européen austral][Europäische Südsternwarte](EU)(CL).

    On the grand cosmic scale, our little corner of the Universe isn’t all that special – this idea lies at the heart of the Copernican principle. Yet there’s one major aspect about our planet that’s peculiar indeed: Our Sun is a yellow dwarf.

    Because our home star is what we know most intimately, it would be tempting to assume that yellow and white dwarf stars (FGK dwarfs) are common elsewhere in the cosmos. However, they’re far from the most multitudinous stars in the galaxy; that particular feather belongs in the cap of another type of star – red dwarf (M dwarfs).

    Not only do red dwarfs make up as much as 75 percent of all stars in the Milky Way, they are much cooler and longer-lived than stars like the Sun. Much, much longer lived.

    We expect our Sun to live around 10 billion years; red dwarf stars are expected to live trillions. So long, in fact, that none have yet reached the end of their main sequence lifespan during the entire 13.4 billion years since the Big Bang.

    Since red dwarfs are so abundant, and so stable, and since we shouldn’t automatically consider ourselves to be cosmically special, the fact we’re not orbiting a red dwarf should therefore be somewhat surprising. And yet, here we are, orbiting a not-so-common yellow dwarf.

    This, according to a paper by astronomer David Kipping [PNAS] of Columbia University, is the “Red Sky Paradox” – a corollary to the “Fermi Paradox”, which questions why we’ve not yet found any other forms of intelligent life, out there in the big wide Universe.

    “Solving this paradox,” he writes, “would reveal guidance for the targeting of future remote life sensing experiments and the limits of life in the cosmos.”

    2
    Artist’s impression of the planetary system orbiting red dwarf TRAPPIST-1. Credit: Mark Garlick/Science Photo Library/Getty Images)

    A size comparison of the planets of the TRAPPIST-1 system, lined up in order of increasing distance from their host star. The planetary surfaces are portrayed with an artist’s impression of their potential surface features, including water, ice, and atmospheres. Credit: NASA.

    The TRAPPIST-1 star, an ultracool dwarf, is orbited by seven Earth-size planets Credit:NASA.

    TRAPPIST national telescope interior at ESO La Silla (CL), 600 km north of Santiago de Chile at an altitude of 2400 metres.

    TRAPPIST national telescope at ESO La Silla (CL), 600 km north of Santiago de Chile at an altitude of 2400 metres.

    Red dwarf stars are an attractive prospect for the search for extraterrestrial life. They don’t burn as hot as Sun-like stars, which means any exoplanets orbiting them need to be closer to reach habitable temperatures. In turn, this could make any such exoplanets easier to find and study, since they orbit their stars more frequently than Earth does the Sun.

    Indeed, astronomers have found quite a few rocky exoplanets – like Earth, Venus and Mars – orbiting red dwarf stars in this habitable zone. And some of them are even relatively close. It’s tantalizing stuff, and it certainly seems like red dwarf stars ought to host life at least somewhere, which is why astrobiologists are looking.

    In his paper, Kipping lays out four resolutions to the Red Sky Paradox.

    Resolution I: An Unusual Outcome

    The first is that, well, we’re just a freaking oddball. If the rates at which life emerges around both star types are similar, then Earth is an outlier, and our emergence orbiting the Sun was just a random, one in 100 chance.

    That would create tension with the Copernican principle, which states that there are no privileged observers in the Universe, and that our place in it is pretty normal. For us to be outliers would suggest that our place is not so normal.

    This answer is not impossible, but nor is it a particularly satisfying one. The other three resolutions provide answers that are not only more satisfying, they could actually be testable.

    Resolution II: Inhibited Life Under a Red Sky

    Under this resolution, Kipping argues that yellow dwarfs are more habitable than red dwarfs, and, as a consequence, life emerges far less often around red dwarfs – around 100 times less. There’s lots of theoretical evidence supporting this idea. Red dwarfs, for instance, tend to be rowdy, with lots of flare activity, and don’t tend to have Jupiter-like planets.

    “Much theoretical work has questioned the plausibility of complex life on M dwarfs, with concerns raised regarding tidal locking and atmospheric collapse, increased exposure to the effects of stellar activity, extended pre-main sequence phases, and the paucity of potentially beneficial Jupiter-sized companions,” Kipping wrote.

    “On this basis, there is good theoretical reasoning to support resolution II, although we emphasize that it remains observationally unverified.”

    3
    Artist’s impression of a red dwarf unleashing a megaflare. Credit: S. Wiessinger/The Goddard Space Flight Center-NASA (US).

    Resolution III: A Truncated Window for Complex Life

    Here, the argument is that life simply hasn’t had enough time to emerge around red dwarf stars.

    This may seem counter-intuitive, but it has to do with the pre-main sequence phase of the star’s life, before it starts fusing hydrogen. In this state, the star burns hotter and brighter; for red dwarfs, it lasts about a billion years. During this time, a runaway permanent greenhouse effect could be triggered on any potentially habitable worlds.

    This could mean that the window for complex biology to emerge on rocky planets on white and yellow dwarfs is a lot longer than it is on red dwarfs.

    Resolution IV: A Paucity of Pale Red Dots

    Finally, although around 16 percent of red dwarfs with exoplanets are listed as hosting rocky exoplanets in the habitable zone, perhaps these worlds are not as common as we thought. Our surveys sample the most massive red dwarfs, because they’re the brightest and easiest to study; but what if the titchy ones, about which we know relatively little, don’t have habitable zone rocky exoplanets?

    Since the low-mass red dwarfs are, in fact, the most numerous, this could mean that habitable zone rocky exoplanets are 100 times less common around red dwarfs than they are around yellow dwarfs.

    “In this case, intelligent life is rare amongst the cosmos and spawns universally between M- and FGK-dwarfs, but habitable worlds are at least two-orders of magnitude less common around M-dwarfs than FGKs,” Kipping wrote.

    “Two orders-of-magnitude is a considerable difference making this a particularly interesting explanation. This would require that the vast majority of many known Earth-sized, temperate planets around M-dwarfs are somehow inhospitable to life, or that the late-type M-dwarfs (low mass end) rarely host habitable worlds.”

    4
    Artist’s impression of a habitable world orbiting red dwarf Proxima Centauri. Credit:Mark Garlick/Science Photo Library/Getty Images.

    It’s even possible that the answer lies in several of these resolutions, which would allow the effect in any one area to be less pronounced. And we might be able to obtain confirmation soon. As our technology improves, for instance, we will be able to better see the lower-mass red dwarf stars, and look for planets in orbit around them.

    Having done that, if we find rocky exoplanets, we can take a closer look at their potential habitability, determining if they orbit in the habitable zone, and if life there could have been stymied by stellar processes.

    “Ultimately,” Kipping wrote, “resolving the red sky paradox is of central interest to astrobiology and SETI, with implication as to which stars to dedicate our resources to, as well as asking a fundamental question about the nature and limits of life in the cosmos.”

    See the full article here .

    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    Columbia U Campus
    Columbia University (US) was founded in 1754 as King’s College by royal charter of King George II of England. It is the oldest institution of higher learning in the state of New York and the fifth oldest in the United States.

    University Mission Statement

    Columbia University is one of the world’s most important centers of research and at the same time a distinctive and distinguished learning environment for undergraduates and graduate students in many scholarly and professional fields. The University recognizes the importance of its location in New York City and seeks to link its research and teaching to the vast resources of a great metropolis. It seeks to attract a diverse and international faculty and student body, to support research and teaching on global issues, and to create academic relationships with many countries and regions. It expects all areas of the University to advance knowledge and learning at the highest level and to convey the products of its efforts to the world.

    Columbia University is a private Ivy League research university in New York City. Established in 1754 on the grounds of Trinity Church in Manhattan Columbia is the oldest institution of higher education in New York and the fifth-oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. It is one of nine colonial colleges founded prior to the Declaration of Independence, seven of which belong to the Ivy League. Columbia is ranked among the top universities in the world by major education publications.

    Columbia was established as King’s College by royal charter from King George II of Great Britain in reaction to the founding of Princeton College. It was renamed Columbia College in 1784 following the American Revolution, and in 1787 was placed under a private board of trustees headed by former students Alexander Hamilton and John Jay. In 1896, the campus was moved to its current location in Morningside Heights and renamed Columbia University.

    Columbia scientists and scholars have played an important role in scientific breakthroughs including brain-computer interface; the laser and maser; nuclear magnetic resonance; the first nuclear pile; the first nuclear fission reaction in the Americas; the first evidence for plate tectonics and continental drift; and much of the initial research and planning for the Manhattan Project during World War II. Columbia is organized into twenty schools, including four undergraduate schools and 15 graduate schools. The university’s research efforts include the Lamont–Doherty Earth Observatory, the Goddard Institute for Space Studies, and accelerator laboratories with major technology firms such as IBM. Columbia is a founding member of the Association of American Universities and was the first school in the United States to grant the M.D. degree. With over 14 million volumes, Columbia University Library is the third largest private research library in the United States.

    The university’s endowment stands at $11.26 billion in 2020, among the largest of any academic institution. As of October 2020, Columbia’s alumni, faculty, and staff have included: five Founding Fathers of the United States—among them a co-author of the United States Constitution and a co-author of the Declaration of Independence; three U.S. presidents; 29 foreign heads of state; ten justices of the United States Supreme Court, one of whom currently serves; 96 Nobel laureates; five Fields Medalists; 122 National Academy of Sciences members; 53 living billionaires; eleven Olympic medalists; 33 Academy Award winners; and 125 Pulitzer Prize recipients.

     
  • richardmitnick 10:49 am on December 26, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Earth and Mars were formed from inner Solar System material", As a reference for the original isotopic inventory of the outer and inner Solar System the researchers used two types of meteorite: carbonaceous chondrites and non- carbonaceous chondrites., But the composition of Earth and Mars does not exactly match the material of the non-carbonaceous chondrites either., Computer simulations suggest that another different kind of building material must also have been in play., Planetary Science, Some of this material is today still found largely unaltered in meteorites., The isotopic composition of this third type of building material as inferred by our computer simulations implies it must have originated in the innermost region of the Solar System., The outer rock layers of Earth and Mars have little in common with the carbonaceous chondrites of the outer Solar System., The theory postulating that the four rocky planets grew to their present size by accumulating millimeter-sized dust pebbles from the outer Solar System is not tenable., The University of Münster [Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster](DE), This third material was almost completely absorbed into the inner planets and thus does not occur in meteorites.   

    From The University of Münster [Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster](DE): “Earth and Mars were formed from inner Solar System material” 

    1

    From The University of Münster [Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster](DE)

    1
    The four terrestrial planets: Mercury, Venus, Earth and Mars. © The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (US)/The Lunar and Planetary Institute (US)-Universities Space Research Association (US).

    An international research team investigated the isotopic composition of rocky planets in the inner Solar System.

    Earth and Mars were formed from material that largely originated in the inner Solar System; only a few percent of the building blocks of these two planets originated beyond Jupiter’s orbit. A group of researchers led by the University of Münster (Germany) report these findings today in the journal Science Advances. They present the most comprehensive comparison to date of the isotopic composition of Earth, Mars and pristine building material from the inner and outer Solar System. Some of this material is today still found largely unaltered in meteorites. The results of the study have far-reaching consequences for our understanding of the process that formed the planets Mercury, Venus, Earth, and Mars. The theory postulating that the four rocky planets grew to their present size by accumulating millimeter-sized dust pebbles from the outer Solar System is not tenable.

    2
    The Martian Meteorite Elephant Moraine (EETA) 79001. The scientists examined these and other Martian meteorites in the study. © NASA/JSC.

    Approximately 4.6 billion years ago in the early days of our Solar System, a disk of dust and gases orbited the young Sun. Two theories describe how in the course of millions of years the inner rocky planets formed from this original building material. According to the older theory, the dust in the inner Solar System agglomerated to ever larger chunks gradually reaching approximately the size of our Moon. Collisions of these planetary embryos finally produced the inner planets Mercury, Venus, Earth, and Mars. A newer theory, however, prefers a different growth process: millimeter-sized dust “pebbles” migrated from the outer Solar System towards the Sun. On their way, they were accreted onto the planetary embryos of the inner Solar System, and step by step enlarged them to their present size.

    Both theories are based on theoretical models and computer simulations aimed at reconstructing the conditions and dynamics in the early Solar System; both describe a possible path of planet formation. But which one is right? Which process actually took place? To answer these questions, in their current study researchers from the University of Münster (Germany), The Côte d’Azur Observatory [Observatoire de la Côte d’Azur](FR), The California Institute of Technology (US), The Natural History Museum Berlin [Museum für Naturkunde](DE), and The Free University of Berlin [Freie Universität Berlin](DE) determined the exact composition of the rocky planets Earth and Mars. “We wanted to find out whether the building blocks of Earth and Mars originated in the outer or inner Solar System”, says Dr. Christoph Burkhardt of the University of Münster, the study’s first author. To this end, the isotopes of the rare metals titanium, zirconium and molybdenum found in minute traces in the outer, silicate-rich layers of both planets provide crucial clues. Isotopes are different varieties of the same element, which differ only in the weight of their atomic nucleus.

    Meteorites as a reference

    Scientists assume that in the early Solar System these and other metal isotopes were not evenly distributed. Rather, their abundance depended on the distance from the Sun. They therefore hold valuable information about where in the early Solar System a certain body’s building blocks originated.

    As a reference for the original isotopic inventory of the outer and inner Solar System the researchers used two types of meteorites. These chunks of rock generally found their way to Earth from the asteroid belt, the region between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter. They are considered to be largely pristine material from the beginnings of the Solar System. While so-called carbonaceous chondrites, which can contain up to a few percent carbon, originated beyond Jupiter’s orbit and only later relocated to the asteroid belt due to influence of the growing gas giants, their more carbon-depleted cousins, the non-carbonaceous chondrites, are true children of the inner Solar System.

    The precise isotopic composition of Earth’s accessible outer rock layers and that of both types of meteorites have been studied for some time; however, there have been no comparably comprehensive analyses of Martian rocks. In their current study, the researchers now examined samples from a total of 17 Martian meteorites, which can be assigned to six typical types of Martian rock. In addition, the scientists for the first time investigated the abundances of three different metal isotopes.

    The samples of Martian meteorites were first powdered and subjected to complex chemical pretreatment. Using a multicollector plasma mass spectrometer at the Institute of Planetology at the University of Münster, the researchers were then able to detect tiny amounts of titanium, zirconium, and molybdenum isotopes. They then performed computer simulations to calculate the ratio in which building material found today in carbonaceous and non-carbonaceous chondrites must have been incorporated into Earth and Mars in order to reproduce their measured compositions. In doing so, they considered two different phases of accretion to account for the different history of the titanium and zirconium isotopes as well as of the molybdenum isotopes, respectively. Unlike titanium and zirconium, molybdenum accumulates mainly in the metallic planetary core. The tiny amounts still found today in the silicate-rich outer layers can therefore only have been added during the very last phase of the planet’s growth.

    The researchers’ results show that the outer rock layers of Earth and Mars have little in common with the carbonaceous chondrites of the outer Solar System. They account for only about four percent of both planets’ original building blocks. “If early Earth and Mars had mainly accreted dust grains from the outer Solar System, this value should be almost ten times higher,” says Prof. Dr. Thorsten Kleine of the University of Münster, who is also director at The MPG Institute for Solar System Research [Max-Planck-Institut für Sonnensystemforschung](DE). “We thus cannot confirm this theory of the formation of the inner planets,” he adds.

    Lost building material

    But the composition of Earth and Mars does not exactly match the material of the non-carbonaceous chondrites either. The computer simulations suggest that another different kind of building material must also have been in play. “The isotopic composition of this third type of building material as inferred by our computer simulations implies it must have originated in the innermost region of the Solar System”, explains Christoph Burkhardt. Since bodies from such close proximity to the Sun were almost never scattered into the asteroid belt, this material was almost completely absorbed into the inner planets and thus does not occur in meteorites. “It is, so to speak, ‘lost building material’ to which we no longer have direct access today,” says Thorsten Kleine.

    The surprising find does not change the consequences of the study for theory of planet formation. “The fact that Earth and Mars apparently contain mainly material from the inner Solar System fits well with planet formation from the collisions of large bodies in the inner Solar System,” concludes Christoph Burkhardt.

    See the full article here .

    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    The The University of Münster [Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster](DE) is a public university located in the city of Münster, North Rhine-Westphalia in Germany.

    With more than 43,000 students and over 120 fields of study in 15 departments, it is Germany’s fifth largest university and one of the foremost centers of German intellectual life. The university offers a wide range of subjects across the sciences, social sciences and the humanities. Several courses are also taught in English, including PhD programmes as well as postgraduate courses in geoinformatics, geospational technologies or information systems.

    Professors and former students have won ten Leibniz Prizes, the most prestigious as well as the best-funded prize in Europe, and one Fields Medal. The WWU has also been successful in the German government’s Excellence Initiative.

     
  • richardmitnick 7:34 am on December 17, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Earth has a hot new neighbour – and it's an astronomer's dream", A rocky planet discovered in the Virgo constellation could change how we look for life in the universe., As a transiting planet Gliese 486b gives scientists two unique opportunities to study its atmosphere., Planetary Science, Super-Earth Gliese 486b-a rocky planet, TESS: the NASA/MIT Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite, , Transmission spectroscopy and emission spectroscopy   

    From The University of New South Wales (AU) : “Earth has a hot new neighbour – and it’s an astronomer’s dream” 

    U NSW bloc

    From The University of New South Wales (AU)

    05 Mar 2021 [Missed the first time around, found in a year-end wrap up.]
    Sherry Landow

    A rocky planet discovered in the Virgo constellation could change how we look for life in the universe.

    1
    It’s getting hot in here … 430 degrees Celsius hot, that is. Artist’s interpretation: RenderArea

    A newly discovered planet could be our best chance yet of studying rocky planet atmospheres outside the solar system, a new international study involving UNSW Sydney shows.

    The planet, called Gliese 486b (pronounced Glee-seh), is a ‘super-Earth’: that is, a rocky planet bigger than Earth but smaller than ice giants like Neptune and Uranus. It orbits a red dwarf star around 26 light years away, making it a close neighbour – galactically speaking.

    With a piping-hot surface temperature of 430 degrees Celsius, Gliese 486b is too hot to support human life. But studying its atmosphere could help us learn whether similar planets might be habitable for humans – or if they’re likely to hold other signs of life.

    The findings are published today [05 Mar 2021] in Science.

    “This is the kind of planet we’ve been dreaming about for decades,” says Dr. Ben Montet, an astronomer and Scientia Lecturer at UNSW Science and co-author of the study.

    “We’ve known for a long time that rocky super-Earths must exist around the nearby stars, but we haven’t had the technology to search for them until recently.

    “This finding has the potential to transform our understanding of planetary atmospheres.”

    Like Earth, Gliese 486b is a rocky planet – but that’s where the similarities end.

    Our neighbour is 30 per cent bigger and almost three times heavier than Earth. It’s possible that its surface – which is hot enough to melt lead – is scattered with glowing lava rivers.

    Super-Earths themselves aren’t rare, but Gliese 486b special for two key reasons: firstly, its heat ‘puffs up’ the atmosphere, helping astronomers take atmospheric measurements; and secondly, it’s a transiting planet, which means it crosses over its star from Earth’s perspective – making it possible for scientists to conduct in-depth analysis of its atmosphere.

    “Understanding super-Earths is challenging because we don’t have any examples in our backyard,” says Dr. Montet.

    “Gliese 486b is the type of planet we’ll be studying for the next 20 years.”

    3
    The researchers think Gliese 486b might have kept a part of its original atmosphere – despite its proximity to its star. Image: RenderArea

    Lessons from the atmosphere

    A planet’s atmosphere can reveal a lot about its ability to support life.

    For example, a lack of atmosphere might suggest the planet’s nearby star is volatile and prone to high stellar activity – making it unlikely that life will have a chance to develop. On the other hand, a healthy, long-lived atmosphere could suggest conditions are stable enough to support life.

    Both options help astronomers solve a piece of the planetary formation puzzle.

    “We think Gliese 486b could have kept a part of its original atmosphere, despite being so close to its red dwarf star,” says Dr Montet.

    “Whatever we learn about the atmosphere will help us better understand how rocky planets form.”

    As a transiting planet Gliese 486b gives scientists two unique opportunities to study its atmosphere: first when the planet passes in front of its star and a fraction of starlight shines through its atmospheric layer (a technique called ‘transmission spectroscopy’); and then when starlight illuminates the surface of the planet as it orbits around and behind the star (called ‘emission spectroscopy’).

    Planet transit. NASA/Ames.

    In both cases, scientists use a spectrograph – a tool that splits light according to its wavelengths – to decode the chemical makeup of the atmosphere.

    “This is the single best planet for studying emission spectroscopy of all the rocky planets we know,” says Dr Montet.

    “It’s also the second-best planet to study transmission spectroscopy.”

    3
    Would Gliese 486b be on your interstellar bucket list? Photo: Shutterstock.

    Life on Gliese 486b

    Gliese 486b is a great catch for astronomers – but you wouldn’t want to live there, says Dr Montet.

    “With a surface of 430 degrees Celsius, you wouldn’t be able to go outside without some kind of spacesuit,” he says.

    “The gravity is also 70 per cent stronger than on Earth, making it harder to walk and jump. Someone who weighed 50 kilograms on Earth would feel like they weighed 85 kilograms on Gliese 486b.”

    On the plus side, the quick transition of the planet around its star means that interstellar visitors would have a birthday every 36 hours.

    They would just need to expect the party to be interrupted.

    “The planet is really close to its star, which means you’d really have to watch out for stellar storms,” says Dr Montet.

    “The impacts could be as innocuous as beautiful aurorae covering the sky, or they could completely wipe out electromagnetic systems.”

    But despite these dangers of living on Gliese 486b, Dr Montet says it’s too valuable a planet to cross off our interstellar bucket list just yet.

    “If humans are able to travel to other star systems in the future, this is one of the planets that would be on our list,” he says.

    “It’s so nearby and so different than the planets in our own solar system.”


    National Science Foundation(US) NOIRLab’s Gemini North Frederick C Gillett telescope at Mauna Kea Observatory Hawai’i (US) Altitude 4,213 m (13,822 ft). Gemini North telescope in Hawaii is one of the many telescopes around the world that helped the team make their discovery.

    Narrowing the search for habitable planets

    The study was part of the CARMENES project, a consortium of eleven Spanish and German research institutions that look for signs of low-mass planets around red dwarf stars.

    Red dwarfs are the most common type of star, making up around 70 per cent of all stars in the universe. They are also much more likely to have rocky planets than Sun-like stars.

    Based on these numbers, the best chance for finding life in the universe may be looking around red dwarfs, says Dr Montet – but this comes with a catch.

    “Red dwarfs are known to have a lot of stellar activity, like flares and coronal mass ejections,” says Dr Montet. “This kind of activity threatens to destroy a planet’s atmosphere.

    “Measuring Gliese 486b’s atmosphere will go a long way towards deciding if we should consider looking for signs of life around red dwarfs.”

    4
    Citizen scientist TG Tan built an observatory in his Perth backyard 10 years ago. He’s since been involved in the discovery of 70 planets. Photo: TG Tan.

    From an Aussie backyard to The National Aeronautics and Space Agency(US)

    The findings were made possible using data from NASA’s all-sky survey called the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) mission and telescopes in Spain, USA, Chile and Hawaii.

    _________________________________

    The National Aeronautics Space Agency (US)/Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US) TESS

    Massachusetts Institute of Technology(US) TESS – Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite replaced the Kepler Space Telescope in search for exoplanets. TESS is a NASA Astrophysics Explorer mission led and operated by Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US), and managed by NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center (US).

    NASA/MIT Tess in the building

    The National Aeronautics Space Agency (US)/ The Massachusetts Institute of Technology(US) TESS – Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite replaced the Kepler Space Telescope in search for exoplanets. TESS is a NASA Astrophysics Explorer mission led and operated by The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US), and managed by NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center (US).

    Additional partners include Northrop Grumman, based in Falls Church, Virginia; NASA’s Ames Research Center in California’s Silicon Valley; The Center for Astrophysics – Harvard and Smithsonian; The MIT Lincoln Laboratory; and The STScI(US) in Baltimore.

    _________________________________

    Almost 70 people were involved in the study, including two Australians: Dr Montet from UNSW Science, and Thiam-Guan (TG) Tan [above], a citizen astronomer who built an observatory in his own backyard in Perth. Mr. Tan helped confirm the planet by observing a transit of Gliese 486b.

    “I built my observatory more than 10 years ago to see if I could participate in the search for planets,” says Mr Tan. “It has been very satisfying to be able to confirm that a bloke in a backyard can contribute to significant discoveries, such as Gliese 486b.”

    In addition to Gliese 486b, Mr Tan has helped discover more than 70 planets using his observatory.

    “It’s an interesting time in astronomy,” says Dr Montet. “TESS is producing all of this data, but it’s more information than any person or group can look at.

    “Citizen scientists have an opportunity to get involved in testing astronomical data, whether it’s confirming a planet sighting or looking for transiting planets.

    “These kinds of collaborations between professional and amateur astronomers are really helping advance the scientific field.”

    People interested in getting involved in astronomical research can look at the Planet Hunters website, says Dr Montet. TESS data is made available to the community only two months after its collected.

    “The easiest way to get involved is to create an account and start looking at TESS data,” he says. “You don’t even need a fancy telescope.

    “Who knows – you might even be able to find the next Earth-sized planet.”

    See the full article here .


    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    U NSW Campus

    The University of New South Wales is an Australian public university with its largest campus in the Sydney suburb of Kensington.

    Established in 1949, UNSW is a research university, ranked 44th in the world in the 2021 QS World University Rankings and 67th in the world in the 2021 Times Higher Education World University Rankings. UNSW is one of the founding members of the Group of Eight, a coalition of Australian research-intensive universities, and of Universitas 21, a global network of research universities. It has international exchange and research partnerships with over 200 universities around the world.

    According to the 2021 QS World University Rankings by Subject, UNSW is ranked top 20 in the world for Law, Accounting and Finance, and 1st in Australia for Mathematics, Engineering and Technology. UNSW also leads Australia in Medicine, where the median ATAR (Australian university entrance examination results) of its Medical School students is higher than any other Australian medical school. UNSW enrolls the highest number of Australia’s top 500 high school students academically, and produces more millionaire graduates than any other Australian university.

    The university comprises seven faculties, through which it offers bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees. The main campus is in the Sydney suburb of Kensington, 7 kilometres (4.3 mi) from the Sydney CBD. The creative arts faculty, UNSW Art & Design, is located in Paddington, and subcampuses are located in the Sydney CBD as well as several other suburbs, including Randwick and Coogee. Research stations are located throughout the state of New South Wales.

    The university’s second largest campus, known as UNSW Canberra at ADFA (formerly known as UNSW at ADFA), is situated in Canberra, in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT). ADFA is the military academy of the Australian Defense Force, and UNSW Canberra is the only national academic institution with a defense focus.

    Research centres

    The university has a number of purpose-built research facilities, including:

    UNSW Lowy Cancer Research Centre is Australia’s first facility bringing together researchers in childhood and adult cancers, as well as one of the country’s largest cancer-research facilities, housing up to 400 researchers.
    The Mark Wainwright Analytical Centre is a centre for the faculties of science, medicine, and engineering. It is used to study the structure and composition of biological, chemical, and physical materials.

    UNSW Canberra Cyber is a cyber-security research and teaching centre.

    The Sino-Australian Research Centre for Coastal Management (SARCCM) has a multidisciplinary focus, and works collaboratively with the Ocean University of China [中國海洋大學](CN) in coastal management research.

     
  • richardmitnick 4:18 pm on December 13, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "New research explains Earth's peculiar chemical composition", BSE: bulk silicate Earth, , Chondritic meteorites are among the first solid materials to form in the early Solar System., Planetary Science, The Tokyo Institute of Technology[東京工業大学](JP)   

    From The Tokyo Institute of Technology[東京工業大学](JP): “New research explains Earth’s peculiar chemical composition” 

    tokyo-tech-bloc

    From The Tokyo Institute of Technology[東京工業大学](JP)

    December 13, 2021

    Hiroyuki Kurokawa
    Specially Appointed Assistant Professor
    Earth-Life Science Institute (ELSI),
    Tokyo Institute of Technology
    hiro.kurokawa@elsi.jp
    Tel +81-3-5734-2854

    Contact
    Thilina Heenatigala

    Director of Communications
    Earth-Life Science Institute (ELSI),
    Tokyo Institute of Technology
    thilinah@elsi.jp
    Tel +81-3-5734-3163
    +81-3-5734-3416

    1
    Artist Impression of Accretion. Molten Earth formed by the impacts of many small asteroids. Credit: Alan Brandon/Nature

    Chondritic meteorites are among the first solid materials to form in the early Solar System. It is commonly thought they delivered Earth’s volatile elements based on analysis of the isotopes they contain. However, the abundances of C, N and H in what scientists call the “bulk silicate Earth” or “BSE” (which includes the atmosphere, oceans, crust, and mantle) are significantly different from their abundances in chondrites; in addition to their simply being relatively less of these particular elements in the BSE, there is also a notable lack of nitrogen. Due to these discrepancies, the origin of Earth’s major volatile elements remains mysterious, and previous studies have proposed non-chondritic, differentiated meteorites or asteroids might have delivered them.

    The new study showed that the BSE’s C, N, and H depletion pattern could indeed be due to the continual infall of chondritic bodies if their volatiles were affected by the Earth-formation process itself. First, the study proposes that since the planet was essentially a molten ball of rock in its earliest stages, significant amounts of C could have been removed into Earth’s core. Later, as the planet cooled and solidified and the oceans formed, C and H would have been deposited as water and carbonate rocks. At the same time, N largely remained in the atmosphere, where subsequent explosive meteorite impacts blasted some of it into space.

    The researchers modelled the evolution of the volatiles’ abundances in the atmosphere, oceans, crust, mantle, and core from the earliest stages of Earth’s formation, taking all of these factors into account, as well as constraints about the Earth’s formation, such as its early mineralogy and the size distribution of incoming asteroids and meteorites. They then compared the final volatile inventory under various conditions to the current Earth.

    Team member Kurokawa says, “The origins of Earth’s habitable environment and how life emerged are undoubtedly exciting questions. The fact that the Earth is habitable is not just because it has liquid water on its surface, though that is important, but also because its atmosphere C and N help keep Earth’ surface warm enough to sustain liquid water. The abundance of these major volatile elements matters; if we increased or decreased their abundance by even a factor of a few times, Earth might have been a completely dry planet or completely ocean-covered one, or its climate might have been extremely hot or cold.”

    Kurokawa further explains that scientists have for some years been interested in a region around stars they call the “habitable zone” or HZ, which is a distance at which a planet receives enough energy from sunlight to keep a planet’s surface cold enough to retain water, but warm enough to keep that water liquid. Whether a planet exists in the HZ also depends, however, on the planet’s mass and chemical composition, since small, low-mass planets more easily lose volatiles due to gravitational escape, and planetary atmospheres can help warm planets by trapping outgoing infrared radiation through so-called greenhouse-warming.

    The study explains the abundance of Earth’s major volatile elements and shows that Earth’s volatile composition is a natural outcome of forming an Earth-sized planet in an HZ. In contrast, the researchers suggest that Venus (which formed nearer to the Sun than the proposed HZ) and Mars (which is ten times smaller than Earth) should have acquired different volatile abundances.

    The authors think these results can further help predict which extrasolar planets in the HZs of their host stars should be truly habitable. Astronomers have already found Earth-sized planets located in HZs around other stars, though their surface environments are so far not observable. This study predicts that provided such planets formed similarly to Earth, they really are Earth-like planets; and may have abundances of major volatile elements similar to Earth, and thus likely evolve as Earth did and therefore also good candidates to search for life beyond Earth.

    The authors note there is some uncertainty in some of the parameters they modelled. Each parameter has a different degree of uncertainty. For instance, how elements partition between silicate magma and core-forming metal has an order of magnitude uncertainty typically. Incorporating all of these different processes into a single model in a simple way and quantifying the influence of their uncertainties required running their model many times with different parameters.

    Says Kurokawa, “We are interested in how habitable environments which can sustain life can develop on Earth and other planets and, consequently, the question “Is Earth special or common?”. Earth’s surface environment is controlled not only by its distance from the Sun and the presence of water but also by its inventory of major volatile elements such as C, N and H. This is an important question in particular because Earth’s volatile abundance differs so greatly from the primitive Solar System bodies in our Solar System from which Earth is thought to have formed.”

    Previous attempts to explain the abundance of Earth’s volatile elements have focused on limited consideration of the interplay of planet formation processes. This study is the first to model how the abundance of major volatile elements may have changed during Earth’s accretion and how we can reproduce the observed composition.

    “One of the new questions this work raises is how the distribution of major volatile elements was determined early in Earth’s history,” Kurokawa adds. “Our model predicts these volatiles were mostly hosted in the surface soon after Earth’s formation. In contrast, the largest reservoir of them today is the mantle. Plate tectonics should be responsible for this change. However, when and how these volatiles were transported to the mantle is a yet unsolved question. This is also related to the emergence and evolution of life on Earth; N is sometimes the limiting factor for biological activity, and the present-day N cycle is largely dominated by life.”

    A future question the team aims to address is whether the same planet formation scenario can explain the volatile abundances of other terrestrial planets, including Venus, Mars, and extrasolar terrestrial planets. Venus’ surface, including the atmosphere, will be explored by future missions by The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (US) (DAVINCI+, VERITUS) and The European Space Agency [Agence spatiale européenne][Europäische Weltraumorganisation](EU) (EnVision). Though little or no data is available for the volatile compositions in those planets’ interiors, some information is available from the analysis of Martian meteorites and seismological measurement from the Mars InSight mission.

    NASA/Mars InSight Lander.

    The team believes that testable predictions for these planets can be developed from this study.

    12
    Figure 2. Schematic image of Earth’s formation and early evolution

    a: Earth in its main accretion stage, when it was covered by a magma ocean. b: Earth in its late accretion stage, when oceans already existed. Credit: Sakuraba et al. (2021) Scientific Reports.

    3
    Figure 3. Time evolution of the abundance of carbon, nitrogen, and water (hydrogen)

    Time evolution of the amount of carbon, nitrogen, and water (hydrogen) obtained from the simulations. The number in the legend of each line indicates the time when Earth reached a percentage of its current mass. The green area is the current Earth’s elemental abundance (excluding the core). a: Main accretion stge. b: Late accretion stage. Credit: Sakuraba et al. (2021) Scientific Reports.

    Science paper:
    Scientific Reports

    See the full article here .

    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    tokyo-tech-campus

    The Tokyo Institute of Technology[東京工業大学](JP) is the top national university for science and technology in Japan with a history spanning more than 130 years. Of the approximately 10,000 students at the Ookayama, Suzukakedai, and Tamachi Campuses, half are in their bachelor’s degree program while the other half are in master’s and doctoral degree programs. International students number 1,200. There are 1,200 faculty and 600 administrative and technical staff members.

    In the 21st century, the role of science and technology universities has become increasingly important. The Tokyo Institute of Technology continues to develop global leaders in the fields of science and technology, and contributes to the betterment of society through its research, focusing on solutions to global issues. The Institute’s long-term goal is to become the world’s leading science and technology university.

     
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