Tonight we are very excited to welcome Dr. Kathryn Bywaters, Research Scientist at the SETI Insitute where she is currently working on the development of life-detection instrumentation for future space exploration. Additionally, she is investigating the nutrient constraints microbes would have on Mars as well as performing experiments in Mars analog environments.
This week we welcome Dr. Rory Barnes to the Weekly Space Hangout. Rory is an assistant professor in the Department of Astronomy and Astrobiology Program at the University of Washington. He is also a member of NASA’s Virtual Planetary Lab as well as the University of Washington’s Big Data program. He studies the habitability of exoplanets with astrophysical, geophysical, and atmospheric computer models.
In August 2019, Rory released VPLanet, an open source, virtual planet simulator that links physical processes together and enables phenomena from one region of a planetary system to be tracked throughout its entire system. Eventually, it is hoped that this will help determine if an exoplanet is capable of supporting life.
VPLanet currently includes two modules which model the internal and magnetic evolution of terrestrial planets’ characteristics. However, being open source and designed for easy growth, researchers are able to write additional physical modules which can be easily integrated with VPLanet in essentially a “plug and play” manner.
Jeff Kargel is a Senior Scientist at the Planetary Science Institute in Tucson, Arizona. He is a geologist, a glaciologist, and a planetary scientist. Climate change is a major thread, and that is what he is here today to talk about.
This week we welcome Dr. Marina Kounkel, a postdoctoral scholar in the Physics and Astronomy Department at the Western Washington University. Her research focuses on observing the dynamics of young stars.