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  • richardmitnick 9:02 am on November 18, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Near-Earth Asteroid Might be a Lost Fragment of the Moon", , The University of Arizona (US)   

    From The University of Arizona (US) : “Near-Earth Asteroid Might be a Lost Fragment of the Moon” 

    From The University of Arizona (US)

    Nov. 11, 2021

    Media contact
    Mikayla Mace Kelley
    Science Writer, University Communications
    mikaylamace@arizona.edu
    520-621-1878

    Researcher contact(s)
    Vishnu Reddy
    Lunar and Planetary Laboratory
    reddy@lpl.arizona.edu
    808-342-8932

    Benjamin Sharkey
    Department of Planetary Sciences
    bsharkey@email.arizona.edu

    A team of UArizona-led researchers think that the near-Earth asteroid Kamo`oalewa might actually be a miniature moon.

    1
    An artist’s impression of Earth quasi-satellite Kamo`oalewa near the Earth-moon system. Using the Large Binocular Telescope, astronomers have shown that it might be a lost fragment of the moon. Credit:
    Addy Graham/University of Arizona.

    LBT-U Arizona Large Binocular Telescope Interferometer, or LBTI, is a ground-based instrument connecting two 8-meter class telescopes on Mount Graham, Arizona, USA, Altitude 3,221 m (10,568 ft.) to form the largest single-mount telescope in the world. The interferometer is designed to detect and study stars and planets outside our solar system. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech.

    A near-Earth asteroid named Kamo`oalewa could be a fragment of our moon, according to a paper published today in Communications Earth and Environment by a team of astronomers led by the University of Arizona.

    Kamo`oalewa is a quasi-satellite – a subcategory of near-Earth asteroids that orbit the sun but remain relatively close to Earth. Little is known about these objects because they are faint and difficult to observe. Kamo`oalewa was discovered by the Pan-STARRS telescope in Hawaii in 2016, and the name – found in a Hawaiian creation chant – alludes to an offspring that travels on its own.

    U Hawaii Pan-STARRS1 (PS1) Panoramic Survey Telescope and Rapid Response System is a 1.8-meter diameter telescope situated at Haleakala Observatories near the summit of Haleakala, altitude 10,023 ft (3,055 m) on the Island of Maui, Hawaii, USA. It is equipped with the world’s largest digital camera, with almost 1.4 billion pixels.

    The asteroid is roughly the size of a Ferris wheel – between 150 and 190 feet in diameter – and gets as close as about 9 million miles from Earth.

    Due to its orbit, Kamo`oalewa can only be observed from Earth for a few weeks every April. Its relatively small size means that it can only be seen with one of the largest telescopes on Earth. Using the UArizona-managed Large Binocular Telescope on Mount Graham in southern Arizona, a team of astronomers led by UArizona planetary sciences graduate student Ben Sharkey found that Kamo`oalewa’s pattern of reflected light, called a spectrum, matches lunar rocks from NASA’s Apollo missions, suggesting it originated from the moon.

    Researchers aren’t yet be sure how the asteroid may have broken loose from the moon. That’s partly because there are no other known asteroids with lunar origins.

    “I looked through every near-Earth asteroid spectrum we had access to, and nothing matched,” said Sharkey, the paper’s lead author.

    A debate over Kamo`oalewa’s origins between Sharkey and his adviser, UArizona associate professor of lunar and planetary sciences Vishnu Reddy, led to another three years of hunting for a plausible explanation.

    “We doubted ourselves to death,” said Reddy, a co-author who started the project in 2016. After missing the chance to observe the asteroid in April 2020 due to a COVID-19 shutdown of the Large Binocular Telescope, the team found the final piece of the puzzle in 2021.

    “This spring, we got much needed follow-up observations and went, ‘Wow it is real,'” Sharkey said. “It’s easier to explain with the moon than other ideas.”

    Kamo`oalewa’s orbit is another clue to its lunar origins. Its orbit is similar to the Earth’s, but with the slightest tilt. Its orbit is also not typical of near-Earth asteroids, according to study co-author Renu Malhotra, a UArizona planetary sciences professor who led the orbit analysis portion of the study.

    “It is very unlikely that a garden-variety near-Earth asteroid would spontaneously move into a quasi-satellite orbit like Kamo`oalewa’s,” said Malhotra, whose lab is working on a paper to further investigate the asteroid’s origins. “It will not remain in this particular orbit for very long, only about 300 years in the future, and we estimate that it arrived in this orbit about 500 years ago.”

    Kamo`oalewa is about 4 million times fainter than the faintest star the human eye can see in a dark sky.

    “These challenging observations were enabled by the immense light-gathering power of the twin 8.4-meter telescopes of the Large Binocular Telescope,” said study co-author Al Conrad, a staff scientist for the telescope.

    The study also included data from the Lowell Discovery Telescope in Flagstaff, Arizona.

    Discovery Channel Telescope(US), operated by the Lowell Observatory(US) in partnership with the University of Maryland(US), Boston University(US), the University of Toledo(US) and the Northern Arizona University (US) at Lowell Observatory(US), Happy Jack AZ, USA, Altitude 2,360 m (7,740 ft)

    Other co-authors on the paper include Olga Kuhn, Christian Veillet, Barry Rothberg and David Thompson from the Large Binocular Telescope; Audrey Thirouin from The Lowell Observatory (US); and Juan Sanchez from The Planetary Science Institute (US) in Tucson. The research was funded by NASA’s Near-Earth Object Observations Program (US).

    See the full article here .


    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings
    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.


    Stem Education Coalition

    As of 2019, the The University of Arizona (US) enrolled 45,918 students in 19 separate colleges/schools, including The University of Arizona College of Medicine in Tucson and Phoenix and the James E. Rogers College of Law, and is affiliated with two academic medical centers (Banner – University Medical Center Tucson and Banner – University Medical Center Phoenix). The University of Arizona is one of three universities governed by the Arizona Board of Regents. The university is part of the Association of American Universities and is the only member from Arizona, and also part of the Universities Research Association(US). The university is classified among “R1: Doctoral Universities – Very High Research Activity”.

    Known as the Arizona Wildcats (often shortened to “Cats”), The University of Arizona’s intercollegiate athletic teams are members of the Pac-12 Conference of the NCAA. The University of Arizona athletes have won national titles in several sports, most notably men’s basketball, baseball, and softball. The official colors of the university and its athletic teams are cardinal red and navy blue.

    After the passage of the Morrill Land-Grant Act of 1862, the push for a university in Arizona grew. The Arizona Territory’s “Thieving Thirteenth” Legislature approved The University of Arizona in 1885 and selected the city of Tucson to receive the appropriation to build the university. Tucson hoped to receive the appropriation for the territory’s mental hospital, which carried a $100,000 allocation instead of the $25,000 allotted to the territory’s only university (Arizona State University(US) was also chartered in 1885, but it was created as Arizona’s normal school, and not a university). Flooding on the Salt River delayed Tucson’s legislators, and by they time they reached Prescott, back-room deals allocating the most desirable territorial institutions had been made. Tucson was largely disappointed with receiving what was viewed as an inferior prize.

    With no parties willing to provide land for the new institution, the citizens of Tucson prepared to return the money to the Territorial Legislature until two gamblers and a saloon keeper decided to donate the land to build the school. Construction of Old Main, the first building on campus, began on October 27, 1887, and classes met for the first time in 1891 with 32 students in Old Main, which is still in use today. Because there were no high schools in Arizona Territory, the university maintained separate preparatory classes for the first 23 years of operation.

    Research

    The University of Arizona is classified among “R1: Doctoral Universities – Very high research activity”. UArizona is the fourth most awarded public university by National Aeronautics and Space Administration(US) for research. The University of Arizona was awarded over $325 million for its Lunar and Planetary Laboratory (LPL) to lead NASA’s 2007–08 mission to Mars to explore the Martian Arctic, and $800 million for its OSIRIS-REx mission, the first in U.S. history to sample an asteroid.

    The LPL’s work in the Cassini spacecraft orbit around Saturn is larger than any other university globally. The University of Arizona laboratory designed and operated the atmospheric radiation investigations and imaging on the probe. The University of Arizona operates the HiRISE camera, a part of the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. While using the HiRISE camera in 2011, University of Arizona alumnus Lujendra Ojha and his team discovered proof of liquid water on the surface of Mars—a discovery confirmed by NASA in 2015. The University of Arizona receives more NASA grants annually than the next nine top NASA/JPL-Caltech(US)-funded universities combined. As of March 2016, The University of Arizona’s Lunar and Planetary Laboratory is actively involved in ten spacecraft missions: Cassini VIMS; Grail; the HiRISE camera orbiting Mars; the Juno mission orbiting Jupiter; Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO); Maven, which will explore Mars’ upper atmosphere and interactions with the sun; Solar Probe Plus, a historic mission into the Sun’s atmosphere for the first time; Rosetta’s VIRTIS; WISE; and OSIRIS-REx, the first U.S. sample-return mission to a near-earth asteroid, which launched on September 8, 2016.

    The University of Arizona students have been selected as Truman, Rhodes, Goldwater, and Fulbright Scholars. According to The Chronicle of Higher Education, UArizona is among the top 25 producers of Fulbright awards in the U.S.

    The University of Arizona is a member of the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy(US), a consortium of institutions pursuing research in astronomy. The association operates observatories and telescopes, notably Kitt Peak National Observatory(US) just outside Tucson. Led by Roger Angel, researchers in the Steward Observatory Mirror Lab at The University of Arizona are working in concert to build the world’s most advanced telescope. Known as the Giant Magellan Telescope(CL), it will produce images 10 times sharper than those from the Earth-orbiting Hubble Telescope.

    Giant Magellan Telescope, 21 meters, to be at the NOIRLab(US) National Optical Astronomy Observatory(US) Carnegie Institution for Science’s(US) Las Campanas Observatory(CL), some 115 km (71 mi) north-northeast of La Serena, Chile, over 2,500 m (8,200 ft) high.

    GMT Giant Magellan Telescope(CL) 21 meters, to be at the Carnegie Institution for Science’s(US) NOIRLab(US) NOAO(US) Las Campanas Observatory(CL), some 115 km (71 mi) north-northeast of La Serena, Chile, over 2,500 m (8,200 ft) high.

    The telescope is set to be completed in 2021. GMT will ultimately cost $1 billion. Researchers from at least nine institutions are working to secure the funding for the project. The telescope will include seven 18-ton mirrors capable of providing clear images of volcanoes and riverbeds on Mars and mountains on the moon at a rate 40 times faster than the world’s current large telescopes. The mirrors of the Giant Magellan Telescope will be built at The University of Arizona and transported to a permanent mountaintop site in the Chilean Andes where the telescope will be constructed.

    Reaching Mars in March 2006, the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter contained the HiRISE camera, with Principal Investigator Alfred McEwen as the lead on the project. This National Aeronautics and Space Agency (US) mission to Mars carrying the UArizona-designed camera is capturing the highest-resolution images of the planet ever seen. The journey of the orbiter was 300 million miles. In August 2007, The University of Arizona, under the charge of Scientist Peter Smith, led the Phoenix Mars Mission, the first mission completely controlled by a university. Reaching the planet’s surface in May 2008, the mission’s purpose was to improve knowledge of the Martian Arctic. The Arizona Radio Observatory(US), a part of The University of Arizona Department of Astronomy Steward Observatory(US), operates the Submillimeter Telescope on Mount Graham.

    The National Science Foundation(US) funded the iPlant Collaborative in 2008 with a $50 million grant. In 2013, iPlant Collaborative received a $50 million renewal grant. Rebranded in late 2015 as “CyVerse”, the collaborative cloud-based data management platform is moving beyond life sciences to provide cloud-computing access across all scientific disciplines.

    In June 2011, the university announced it would assume full ownership of the Biosphere 2 scientific research facility in Oracle, Arizona, north of Tucson, effective July 1. Biosphere 2 was constructed by private developers (funded mainly by Texas businessman and philanthropist Ed Bass) with its first closed system experiment commencing in 1991. The university had been the official management partner of the facility for research purposes since 2007.

    U Arizona mirror lab-Where else in the world can you find an astronomical observatory mirror lab under a football stadium?

    University of Arizona’s Biosphere 2, located in the Sonoran desert. An entire ecosystem under a glass dome? Visit our campus, just once, and you’ll quickly understand why the UA is a university unlike any other.

    University of Arizona Landscape Evolution Observatory at Biosphere 2.

     
  • richardmitnick 9:09 pm on October 27, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Astronomers Discover Massive Galaxy 'Shipyard' in the Distant Universe", A protocluster designated as PHz G237.01+42.50., , , , , , The University of Arizona (US)   

    From The University of Arizona (US) : “Astronomers Discover Massive Galaxy ‘Shipyard’ in the Distant Universe” 

    From The University of Arizona (US)

    10.27.21
    Daniel Stolte, University Communications
    Brenda Frye, Steward Observatory

    Astronomers have discovered a structure thought to be a “protocluster” of galaxies on its way to developing into a galaxy supercluster. Observations show the protocluster, which is located 11 billion light-years from Earth, as it appeared when the universe was 3 billion years old, when stars were produced at higher rates in certain regions of the cosmos.

    1
    Several instruments joined forces to produce this image of the G237 protocluster, identifying its galaxies in different colors representing different wavelengths of observations. The image on the right zooms in on the central region of this massive galaxy “shipyard.”

    European Space Agency [Agence spatiale européenne][Europäische Weltraumorganisation](EU) Planck 2009 to 2013.

    European Space Agency Herschel spacecraft active from 2009 to 2013.

    European Space Agency [Agence spatiale européenne][Europäische Weltraumorganisation](EU) XMM Newton X-ray telescope.

    National Aeronautics and Space Administration(US)Spitzer Infrared Space Telescope no longer in service. Launched in 2003 and retired on 30 January 2020.

    NAOJ/Subaru Telescope at Mauna Kea Hawaii, USA,4,207 m (13,802 ft) above sea level.

    LBT-U Arizona Large Binocular Telescope Interferometer, or LBTI, is a ground-based instrument connecting two 8-meter class telescopes on Mount Graham, Arizona, USA, Altitude 3,221 m (10,568 ft.) to form the largest single-mount telescope in the world. The interferometer is designed to detect and study stars and planets outside our solar system. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech.

    Part of ESO’s Paranal Observatory the VLT Survey Telescope (VISTA) observes the brilliantly clear skies above the Atacama Desert of Chile. It is the largest survey telescope in the world in visible light, with an elevation of 2,635 metres (8,645 ft) above sea level.

    Polletta, M. et al. 2021; Koyama, Y. et al. 2021

    Even galaxies don’t like to be alone. While astronomers have known for a while that galaxies tend to congregate in groups and clusters, the process of going from formation to friend groups has remained an open question in cosmology.

    In a paper published in the journal Astronomy & Astrophysics, an international team of astronomers reports the discovery of a group of objects that appear to be an emerging accumulation of galaxies in the making – known as a protocluster.

    “This discovery is an important step toward reaching our ultimate goal: understanding the assembly of galaxy clusters, the most massive structures that exist in the universe,” said Brenda Frye, an associate professor of astronomy at the University of Arizona’s Steward Observatory and a co-author of the study.

    U Arizona Steward Observatory at NSF’s NOIRLab NOAO Kitt Peak National Observatory (US) in the Arizona-Sonoran Desert 88 kilometers 55 mi west-southwest of Tucson, Arizona in the Quinlan Mountains of the Tohono O’odham Nation, altitude 2,096 m (6,877 ft)

    National Science Foundation(US) NOIRLab NOAO Kitt Peak National Observatory on the Quinlan Mountains in the Arizona-Sonoran Desert on the Tohono O’odham Nation, 88 kilometers (55 mi) west-southwest of Tucson, Arizona, Altitude 2,096 m (6,877 ft).

    National Science Foundation(US) NOIRLab (US) NOAO Kitt Peak National Observatory (US) on Kitt Peak of the Quinlan Mountains in the Arizona-Sonoran Desert on the Tohono O’odham Nation, 88 kilometers (55 mi) west-southwest of Tucson, Arizona, Altitude 2,096 m (6,877 ft), annotated.

    The Milky Way, home to our solar system, belongs to a galaxy cluster known as the Local Group, which is part of the Virgo supercluster. But what did a supercluster such as Virgo look like 11 billion years ago?

    Local Group. Andrew Z. Colvin 3 March 2011

    Virgo Supercluster Credit: NASA.

    “We still know very little about protoclusters, in part because they are so faint, too faint to be detected by optical light,” Frye said. “At the same time, they are known to radiate brightly in other wavelengths such as the sub-millimeter.”

    Initially discovered by the European Space Agency’s Planck telescope as part of an all-sky survey, the protocluster described in the new paper showed up prominently in the far-infrared region of the electromagnetic spectrum. Sifting through a sample of more than 2,000 structures that could be in the process of becoming clusters, researchers came across a protocluster designated as PHz G237.01+42.50, or G237 for short. The observations looked promising, but to confirm its identity required follow-up observations with other telescopes.

    Led by Mari Polletta at the INAF Italian National Institute for Astrophysics [Istituto Nazionale di Astrofisica] (IT), the team conducted observations using the combined power of the Large Binocular Telescope in Arizona, which is managed by UArizona, and the Subaru Telescope in Japan. The team identified 63 galaxies belonging to the G237 protocluster. The original discovery was published in a previous paper [MNRAS], and follow-up observations were obtained using archival data, the Herschel Space Observatory and the Spitzer Space Telescope.

    “You can think of galaxy protoclusters such as G237 as a galaxy shipyard in which massive galaxies are being assembled, only this structure existed at a time when the universe was 3 billion years old,” Frye said. “At the same time, the genealogy may be closer than you think. Because the universe is homogeneous and the same in all directions, we think that the Milky Way may have docked at a protocluster node similar to G237 when it was very young.”

    At first, observations of G237 implied a total star formation rate that was unrealistically high, and the team struggled to make sense of the data. The G237 protocluster seemed to be forming stars at a rate of 10,000 times that of the Milky Way. At that rate, the protocluster would be expected to rapidly use up its stellar fuel and subsequently settle down into a complex system similar to the Virgo supercluster.

    “Each of the 63 galaxies discovered so far in G237 was like a star factory in overdrive,” Frye said. “It’s as if the galaxies were working on overtime to the assemble stars. The rate of production was unsustainable. At such a pace, the supply chains are expected to break in the near future, and in a way that permanently shuts down the galaxy shipyard.”

    Such high yields could only be maintained by a continuous injection of fuel, which for stars is hydrogen gas. Frye said that would require an efficient and unbroken supply chain that drew in unreasonably large amounts of fresh gas to fuel the star-forming factories.

    “We don’t know where that gas was coming from,” she said.

    Later, the team discovered that some of what it was seeing came from galaxies unrelated to the protocluster, but even after the irrelevant observations were removed, the total star formation rate remained high, at least 1,000 solar masses per year, according to Polletta. In comparison, the Milky Way produces about one solar mass each year.

    “The picture we have pieced together now is that of a successful galaxy shipyard, which is working at high efficiency to assemble galaxies and the stars within them and has an energy supply that is more sustainable,” Frye said.

    All galaxies in the universe are part of a giant structure that resembles a three-dimensional spider web shape called the cosmic web. The filaments of the cosmic web intersect at the nodes, which equate to the galaxy shipyards in the analogy.

    2
    A simulation of the cosmic web – a vast, three-dimensional “spider web” of gas filaments crisscrossing in the cosmos. Rather than being randomly distributed, galaxies tend to cluster at the nodes of the cosmic web, depicted by the red regions, forming protoclusters such as G237. Credit: G. L. Bryan/M. L. Norman International Gemini Observatory-NOIRLab-NSF-AURA

    “We believe that the filaments mediate the transfer of hydrogen gas from the diffuse medium of intergalactic space onto these hungry, newly forming protocluster structures in the nodes,” Frye said.

    Pointing to future research, Polletta said: “We are in the process of analyzing more observations on this and other Planck protoclusters with the goal of tracing the gas that gives birth to these newly forming stars and feeds the supermassive black holes, to determine its origin and explain the observed extraordinary activity.”

    Frye said she is looking forward to combining data from the Large Binocular Telescope with observations from NASA’s the James Webb Space Telescope, to be launched in December.

    National Aeronautics Space Agency(USA)/European Space Agency [Agence spatiale européenne][Europäische Weltraumorganisation](EU)/ Canadian Space Agency [Agence Spatiale Canadienne](CA) Webb Infrared Space Telescope(US) James Webb Space Telescope annotated. Scheduled for launch in October 2021 delayed to December 2021.

    “Protoclusters offer an opportunity to investigate key questions in astronomy that only this new observatory can answer,” she said, “such as what mechanisms drive the prodigious star formation, and when will the hydrogen supply run out, forcing this galaxy shipyard to close its doors and turn into a supercluster similar to the one our Milky Way is in?”

    See the full article here .


    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings
    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.


    Stem Education Coalition

    As of 2019, the The University of Arizona (US) enrolled 45,918 students in 19 separate colleges/schools, including The University of Arizona College of Medicine in Tucson and Phoenix and the James E. Rogers College of Law, and is affiliated with two academic medical centers (Banner – University Medical Center Tucson and Banner – University Medical Center Phoenix). The University of Arizona is one of three universities governed by the Arizona Board of Regents. The university is part of the Association of American Universities and is the only member from Arizona, and also part of the Universities Research Association(US). The university is classified among “R1: Doctoral Universities – Very High Research Activity”.

    Known as the Arizona Wildcats (often shortened to “Cats”), The University of Arizona’s intercollegiate athletic teams are members of the Pac-12 Conference of the NCAA. The University of Arizona athletes have won national titles in several sports, most notably men’s basketball, baseball, and softball. The official colors of the university and its athletic teams are cardinal red and navy blue.

    After the passage of the Morrill Land-Grant Act of 1862, the push for a university in Arizona grew. The Arizona Territory’s “Thieving Thirteenth” Legislature approved The University of Arizona in 1885 and selected the city of Tucson to receive the appropriation to build the university. Tucson hoped to receive the appropriation for the territory’s mental hospital, which carried a $100,000 allocation instead of the $25,000 allotted to the territory’s only university (Arizona State University(US) was also chartered in 1885, but it was created as Arizona’s normal school, and not a university). Flooding on the Salt River delayed Tucson’s legislators, and by they time they reached Prescott, back-room deals allocating the most desirable territorial institutions had been made. Tucson was largely disappointed with receiving what was viewed as an inferior prize.

    With no parties willing to provide land for the new institution, the citizens of Tucson prepared to return the money to the Territorial Legislature until two gamblers and a saloon keeper decided to donate the land to build the school. Construction of Old Main, the first building on campus, began on October 27, 1887, and classes met for the first time in 1891 with 32 students in Old Main, which is still in use today. Because there were no high schools in Arizona Territory, the university maintained separate preparatory classes for the first 23 years of operation.

    Research

    The University of Arizona is classified among “R1: Doctoral Universities – Very high research activity”. UArizona is the fourth most awarded public university by National Aeronautics and Space Administration(US) for research. The University of Arizona was awarded over $325 million for its Lunar and Planetary Laboratory (LPL) to lead NASA’s 2007–08 mission to Mars to explore the Martian Arctic, and $800 million for its OSIRIS-REx mission, the first in U.S. history to sample an asteroid.

    The LPL’s work in the Cassini spacecraft orbit around Saturn is larger than any other university globally. The University of Arizona laboratory designed and operated the atmospheric radiation investigations and imaging on the probe. The University of Arizona operates the HiRISE camera, a part of the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. While using the HiRISE camera in 2011, University of Arizona alumnus Lujendra Ojha and his team discovered proof of liquid water on the surface of Mars—a discovery confirmed by NASA in 2015. The University of Arizona receives more NASA grants annually than the next nine top NASA/JPL-Caltech(US)-funded universities combined. As of March 2016, The University of Arizona’s Lunar and Planetary Laboratory is actively involved in ten spacecraft missions: Cassini VIMS; Grail; the HiRISE camera orbiting Mars; the Juno mission orbiting Jupiter; Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO); Maven, which will explore Mars’ upper atmosphere and interactions with the sun; Solar Probe Plus, a historic mission into the Sun’s atmosphere for the first time; Rosetta’s VIRTIS; WISE; and OSIRIS-REx, the first U.S. sample-return mission to a near-earth asteroid, which launched on September 8, 2016.

    The University of Arizona students have been selected as Truman, Rhodes, Goldwater, and Fulbright Scholars. According to The Chronicle of Higher Education, UArizona is among the top 25 producers of Fulbright awards in the U.S.

    The University of Arizona is a member of the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy(US), a consortium of institutions pursuing research in astronomy. The association operates observatories and telescopes, notably Kitt Peak National Observatory(US) just outside Tucson. Led by Roger Angel, researchers in the Steward Observatory Mirror Lab at The University of Arizona are working in concert to build the world’s most advanced telescope. Known as the Giant Magellan Telescope(CL), it will produce images 10 times sharper than those from the Earth-orbiting Hubble Telescope.

    Giant Magellan Telescope, 21 meters, to be at the NOIRLab(US) National Optical Astronomy Observatory(US) Carnegie Institution for Science’s(US) Las Campanas Observatory(CL), some 115 km (71 mi) north-northeast of La Serena, Chile, over 2,500 m (8,200 ft) high.

    GMT Giant Magellan Telescope(CL) 21 meters, to be at the Carnegie Institution for Science’s(US) NOIRLab(US) NOAO(US) Las Campanas Observatory(CL), some 115 km (71 mi) north-northeast of La Serena, Chile, over 2,500 m (8,200 ft) high.

    The telescope is set to be completed in 2021. GMT will ultimately cost $1 billion. Researchers from at least nine institutions are working to secure the funding for the project. The telescope will include seven 18-ton mirrors capable of providing clear images of volcanoes and riverbeds on Mars and mountains on the moon at a rate 40 times faster than the world’s current large telescopes. The mirrors of the Giant Magellan Telescope will be built at The University of Arizona and transported to a permanent mountaintop site in the Chilean Andes where the telescope will be constructed.

    Reaching Mars in March 2006, the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter contained the HiRISE camera, with Principal Investigator Alfred McEwen as the lead on the project. This National Aeronautics and Space Agency (US) mission to Mars carrying the UArizona-designed camera is capturing the highest-resolution images of the planet ever seen. The journey of the orbiter was 300 million miles. In August 2007, The University of Arizona, under the charge of Scientist Peter Smith, led the Phoenix Mars Mission, the first mission completely controlled by a university. Reaching the planet’s surface in May 2008, the mission’s purpose was to improve knowledge of the Martian Arctic. The Arizona Radio Observatory(US), a part of The University of Arizona Department of Astronomy Steward Observatory(US), operates the Submillimeter Telescope on Mount Graham.

    The National Science Foundation(US) funded the iPlant Collaborative in 2008 with a $50 million grant. In 2013, iPlant Collaborative received a $50 million renewal grant. Rebranded in late 2015 as “CyVerse”, the collaborative cloud-based data management platform is moving beyond life sciences to provide cloud-computing access across all scientific disciplines.

    In June 2011, the university announced it would assume full ownership of the Biosphere 2 scientific research facility in Oracle, Arizona, north of Tucson, effective July 1. Biosphere 2 was constructed by private developers (funded mainly by Texas businessman and philanthropist Ed Bass) with its first closed system experiment commencing in 1991. The university had been the official management partner of the facility for research purposes since 2007.

    U Arizona mirror lab-Where else in the world can you find an astronomical observatory mirror lab under a football stadium?

    University of Arizona’s Biosphere 2, located in the Sonoran desert. An entire ecosystem under a glass dome? Visit our campus, just once, and you’ll quickly understand why the UA is a university unlike any other.

    University of Arizona Landscape Evolution Observatory at Biosphere 2.

     
  • richardmitnick 4:37 pm on October 15, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Life on LEO: Plants to be Added to the Landscape Evolution Observatory at Biosphere 2", , , , , The University of Arizona (US)   

    From The University of Arizona (US) : “Life on LEO: Plants to be Added to the Landscape Evolution Observatory at Biosphere 2” 

    From The University of Arizona (US)

    10.12.21
    Daniel Stolte

    Surprisingly little is known about how rain moves through landscapes once it’s on the ground. The University of Arizona’s Landscape Evolution Observatory is designed to provide answers. A $3.5 million grant will allow scientists to study the roles plants and microbes play in the process.

    1
    One of three artificial hillslopes in the Landscape Evolution Observatory. Each is equipped with 1,900 sensors and sampling devices that enable scientists to monitor water, carbon and energy cycling processes and the physical and chemical evolution of the landscape at small and large scales. Credit: Aaron Bugaj.

    The National Science Foundation (US) has awarded $3.5 million to a team led by University of Arizona researchers to study how life prevails in barren landscapes, such as those disturbed by wildfires, volcanic eruptions or mining operations.

    The research will yield new insights into the effects of a changing climate on such landscapes, and could someday even help astronauts raise crops on Mars.

    Researchers from The University of Arizona, DOE’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (US) and California Lutheran University (US) will establish a complete ecosystem – with plants, artificial rain and sophisticated monitoring technology – on the large artificial hillslopes at the Landscape Evolution Observatory, or LEO, located inside The University of Arizona’s Biosphere 2. The experiment will offer scientists a detailed look at how emergent plant life interacts with soil, water and carbon dioxide from the atmosphere to create more complex ecosystems.

    “In a nutshell, we’re getting ready to put life on LEO in the form of plants,” said Scott Saleska, a professor in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology who took over as LEO’s director of science earlier this year. “This grant will allow us to answer a question central to ecology: Can we predict what is going to happen when we build up an ecosystem from scratch? LEO allows us to literally watch life’s complexity build up from ground zero.”

    LEO is the world’s largest laboratory experiment in the interdisciplinary earth sciences. The experiment consists of three artificial landscapes that mimic watersheds in the natural world, each contained within elaborate steel structures housed in three adjacent bays under the glass-and-steel domes of Biosphere 2. Each hillslope is 100 feet long and 35 feet wide and blanketed with 1 million pounds of crushed basalt rock, layered 3 feet deep. Each of LEO’s hillslopes is studded with 1,900 sensors that allow scientists to observe each step in the landscapes’ evolution – from lifeless soil to living, breathing landscapes that will ultimately support complex microbial and vascular plant communities.

    3
    The first organisms to colonize barren landscape are microbes and less complex plants, such as these mosses growing in the Landscape Evolution Observatory, on the hillslope soils created from crushed basalt rock that originated in a volcanic eruption. Credit: Aaron Bugaj.

    Over the past five years, researchers have used LEO to gain in-depth knowledge of how landscapes evolve in the absence of plant life other than microbes and mosses. Those studies focused on the interactions between soil and water, with the water being provided through a sophisticated irrigation system that simulates various kinds of rain. The new NSF grant kicks off a new phase of the project, allowing researchers to study more complex interactions between the physical and biological components of LEO’s ecosystem, particularly between tiny microbial communities and higher plants.

    Water, Water Everywhere – But What Does it Do and Where Does it Go?

    The world faces the increasingly urgent question of how to better understand and manage complex physical-biological systems to address pressing problems such as how to restore degraded landscapes, practice sustainable ecosystem management and terraform planets beyond Earth. Terraforming is the science of transforming hostile environments into land that can grow crops.

    By adding plants with roots and vascular systems to LEO, Saleska’s team will study how plant life affects a well-established physical system and test hypotheses about the interactions between plants and microbes.

    Project co-leader Katrina Dlugosch, associate professor of ecology and evolutionary biology, selected alfalfa as the model plant organism to be planted at LEO because it has been thoroughly studied, and its genome has been sequenced and is well-known. Alfalfa also commonly enters in symbioses – or partnerships – with microbes capable of scrubbing nitrogen from the atmosphere and converting it into nutrients the plants can use.

    “Alfalfa provides one of the key features of primary succession – the process of life colonizing an environment that has very little to offer in terms of nutrients,” Dlugosch explained.

    “We think there will be a strong selection in this harsh environment on how these plants establish and maintain their partnerships with the microbes, and we are looking to understand both the ecology of that and, down the road, the biological evolution of this hillslope community as a whole,” said Malak Tfaily, assistant professor in The University of Arizona Department of Environmental Science.

    The team also will use LEO’s hillslopes as models for watershed environments in the natural world. Experiments will test how water flows through landscapes, how that affects the weathering of rock to soil, and the effects of those processes on landscapes and their biological habitability.

    “The basic question boils down to: What happens to the rain?” said Peter Troch, University of Arizona professor of hydrology and atmospheric science and a member of the project’s steering committee. “We are going to test how water is used by plants through root water uptake or contributes to aquifer recharge and streamflow.”

    Troch expects the results to inform land management practices such as water conservation measures in water-limited environments and plant selection in landscape restoration efforts.

    A key part of the project is its scalability, Saleska added. What researchers learn from studying small patches of plants growing on the LEO hillslope can be applied to full landscapes.

    The project, titled Growing a new science of landscape terraformation: The convergence of rock, fluids, and life to form complex ecosystems across scales, was selected by NSF under its Growing Convergence Research program, which aims to solve complex research problems with a focus on societal needs. In addition to experts in hydrology, geochemistry, evolutionary genomics and ecology, the LEO team will include anthropologists who study cultures of science, with the goal of breaking new ground in how researchers from historically separate disciplines can better share and integrate their ideas and insights for the benefit of the world.

    “These are extremely competitive grants, specifically created to address some of the world’s greatest challenges, and to even be considered requires a portfolio of interdisciplinary scholarship and technological capability that the university excels at bringing together,” said University of Arizona President Robert C. Robbins. “The fact that our researchers continue to attract these types of grants speaks to the unique ecosystem of talent, technology and perseverance that our faculty bring to the table.”

    Other members of the LEO project steering committee include Jon Chorover, head of the Department of Environmental Science; Jennifer Croissant, associate professor in the Department of Gender and Women’s Studies; Elizabeth “Betsy” Arnold, a professor in the School of Plant Sciences and the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology; and William Riley, senior scientist at Lawrence Berkeley National Lab in Berkeley.

    See the full article here .


    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings
    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.


    Stem Education Coalition

    As of 2019, the The University of Arizona (US) enrolled 45,918 students in 19 separate colleges/schools, including The University of Arizona College of Medicine in Tucson and Phoenix and the James E. Rogers College of Law, and is affiliated with two academic medical centers (Banner – University Medical Center Tucson and Banner – University Medical Center Phoenix). The University of Arizona is one of three universities governed by the Arizona Board of Regents. The university is part of the Association of American Universities and is the only member from Arizona, and also part of the Universities Research Association(US). The university is classified among “R1: Doctoral Universities – Very High Research Activity”.

    Known as the Arizona Wildcats (often shortened to “Cats”), The University of Arizona’s intercollegiate athletic teams are members of the Pac-12 Conference of the NCAA. The University of Arizona athletes have won national titles in several sports, most notably men’s basketball, baseball, and softball. The official colors of the university and its athletic teams are cardinal red and navy blue.

    After the passage of the Morrill Land-Grant Act of 1862, the push for a university in Arizona grew. The Arizona Territory’s “Thieving Thirteenth” Legislature approved The University of Arizona in 1885 and selected the city of Tucson to receive the appropriation to build the university. Tucson hoped to receive the appropriation for the territory’s mental hospital, which carried a $100,000 allocation instead of the $25,000 allotted to the territory’s only university (Arizona State University(US) was also chartered in 1885, but it was created as Arizona’s normal school, and not a university). Flooding on the Salt River delayed Tucson’s legislators, and by they time they reached Prescott, back-room deals allocating the most desirable territorial institutions had been made. Tucson was largely disappointed with receiving what was viewed as an inferior prize.

    With no parties willing to provide land for the new institution, the citizens of Tucson prepared to return the money to the Territorial Legislature until two gamblers and a saloon keeper decided to donate the land to build the school. Construction of Old Main, the first building on campus, began on October 27, 1887, and classes met for the first time in 1891 with 32 students in Old Main, which is still in use today. Because there were no high schools in Arizona Territory, the university maintained separate preparatory classes for the first 23 years of operation.

    Research

    The University of Arizona is classified among “R1: Doctoral Universities – Very high research activity”. UArizona is the fourth most awarded public university by National Aeronautics and Space Administration(US) for research. The University of Arizona was awarded over $325 million for its Lunar and Planetary Laboratory (LPL) to lead NASA’s 2007–08 mission to Mars to explore the Martian Arctic, and $800 million for its OSIRIS-REx mission, the first in U.S. history to sample an asteroid.

    The LPL’s work in the Cassini spacecraft orbit around Saturn is larger than any other university globally. The University of Arizona laboratory designed and operated the atmospheric radiation investigations and imaging on the probe. The University of Arizona operates the HiRISE camera, a part of the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. While using the HiRISE camera in 2011, University of Arizona alumnus Lujendra Ojha and his team discovered proof of liquid water on the surface of Mars—a discovery confirmed by NASA in 2015. The University of Arizona receives more NASA grants annually than the next nine top NASA/JPL-Caltech(US)-funded universities combined. As of March 2016, The University of Arizona’s Lunar and Planetary Laboratory is actively involved in ten spacecraft missions: Cassini VIMS; Grail; the HiRISE camera orbiting Mars; the Juno mission orbiting Jupiter; Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO); Maven, which will explore Mars’ upper atmosphere and interactions with the sun; Solar Probe Plus, a historic mission into the Sun’s atmosphere for the first time; Rosetta’s VIRTIS; WISE; and OSIRIS-REx, the first U.S. sample-return mission to a near-earth asteroid, which launched on September 8, 2016.

    The University of Arizona students have been selected as Truman, Rhodes, Goldwater, and Fulbright Scholars. According to The Chronicle of Higher Education, UArizona is among the top 25 producers of Fulbright awards in the U.S.

    The University of Arizona is a member of the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy(US), a consortium of institutions pursuing research in astronomy. The association operates observatories and telescopes, notably Kitt Peak National Observatory(US) just outside Tucson. Led by Roger Angel, researchers in the Steward Observatory Mirror Lab at The University of Arizona are working in concert to build the world’s most advanced telescope. Known as the Giant Magellan Telescope(CL), it will produce images 10 times sharper than those from the Earth-orbiting Hubble Telescope.

    Giant Magellan Telescope, 21 meters, to be at the NOIRLab(US) National Optical Astronomy Observatory(US) Carnegie Institution for Science’s(US) Las Campanas Observatory(CL), some 115 km (71 mi) north-northeast of La Serena, Chile, over 2,500 m (8,200 ft) high.

    The telescope is set to be completed in 2021. GMT will ultimately cost $1 billion. Researchers from at least nine institutions are working to secure the funding for the project. The telescope will include seven 18-ton mirrors capable of providing clear images of volcanoes and riverbeds on Mars and mountains on the moon at a rate 40 times faster than the world’s current large telescopes. The mirrors of the Giant Magellan Telescope will be built at The University of Arizona and transported to a permanent mountaintop site in the Chilean Andes where the telescope will be constructed.

    Reaching Mars in March 2006, the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter contained the HiRISE camera, with Principal Investigator Alfred McEwen as the lead on the project. This National Aeronautics and Space Agency (US) mission to Mars carrying the UArizona-designed camera is capturing the highest-resolution images of the planet ever seen. The journey of the orbiter was 300 million miles. In August 2007, The University of Arizona, under the charge of Scientist Peter Smith, led the Phoenix Mars Mission, the first mission completely controlled by a university. Reaching the planet’s surface in May 2008, the mission’s purpose was to improve knowledge of the Martian Arctic. The Arizona Radio Observatory(US), a part of The University of Arizona Department of Astronomy Steward Observatory(US), operates the Submillimeter Telescope on Mount Graham.

    The National Science Foundation(US) funded the iPlant Collaborative in 2008 with a $50 million grant. In 2013, iPlant Collaborative received a $50 million renewal grant. Rebranded in late 2015 as “CyVerse”, the collaborative cloud-based data management platform is moving beyond life sciences to provide cloud-computing access across all scientific disciplines.

    In June 2011, the university announced it would assume full ownership of the Biosphere 2 scientific research facility in Oracle, Arizona, north of Tucson, effective July 1. Biosphere 2 was constructed by private developers (funded mainly by Texas businessman and philanthropist Ed Bass) with its first closed system experiment commencing in 1991. The university had been the official management partner of the facility for research purposes since 2007.

    U Arizona mirror lab-Where else in the world can you find an astronomical observatory mirror lab under a football stadium?

    University of Arizona’s Biosphere 2, located in the Sonoran desert. An entire ecosystem under a glass dome? Visit our campus, just once, and you’ll quickly understand why the UA is a university unlike any other.

     
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