Brown's Multimedia Lab encourages students to create projects using film negatives from NASA Lunar Orbiter 4 Mission. The scans were originally part of the Brown/NASA Northeast Planetary Data Center and were donated to the Creative Reuse Center in June 2023 after a DEEPS consolidation effort. “We were surprised and delighted to see some of the scans turn up back at Brown,” Jackson wrote to the Brown Daily Herald.
DEEPS PhD students Brianna Hoegler and Jared Nirenberg, with the support of hundreds of fellow scientists, have written a letter to the National Science Foundation expressing their concerns regarding the future of scientific ocean drilling research. The letter is published in AGU Perspectives, and garnered signatures from nearly three hundred scientists, a majority being early career scientists.
NASA-funded researchers have been granted permission to apply to the China National Space Administration (CNSA) for access to portions of samples collected by China’s Chang’e-5 mission. This is an exciting and welcome development, DEEPS Professor James Head told SpaceNews. “The Solar System is a big place, and planetary science can benefit tremendously from complementary, non-duplicative exploration destinations, and the sharing of samples and other results.”
The next wave of lunar explorers is headed to terrain that promises to be both stunning and challenging. DEEPS Professor James Head offered his comment, saying "I don’t think we know yet how the trafficability is going to affect how the astronauts are going to be able to walk and drive."
A high-grade air quality sensor installed on Brown’s campus is providing detailed measurements of carbon dioxide and methane concentrations in Providence, painting a clearer picture of local air quality.
The Odyssey orbiter captured clouds and dust in the Red Planet’s skies, along with one of its two tiny moons. Laura Kerber '11, deputy project scientist for NASA’s Mars Odyssey orbiter, explains in a video how and why the spacecraft captured a view of the Red Planet similar to the International Space Station’s view of Earth.
The Community Noise Lab and Swearer Center at Brown University organized a forum titled, "Firing Back" held on November 13 at the School of Public Health. At the event, Juliet Fang, a second-year undergraduate student at Brown studying Public Health and Geology-Biology, shared data indicating that the noise levels from the firing range were higher than what the city of Cranston legally allows. Her study underscored the link between noise pollution and various health issues, including disrupted sleep, heightened stress, and cognitive impairments, as well as chronic conditions like hypertension and heart disease.
DEEPS Professor and IBES Director Kim Cobb offered commentary to TIME on the Fifth National Climate Assessment, noting, "at the center of the report are people ... who have escalating risks associated with climate change as well as clear opportunities for win-win climate action."
The last 12 months were the hottest Earth has ever recorded, according to a new report by Climate Central, a nonprofit science research group. IBES Director and DEEPS Professor Kim Cobb commented that the heat of the last year, intense as it was, is tempered because the oceans have been absorbing the majority of the excess heat related to climate change, but they are reaching their limit. “Oceans are really the thermostat of our planet ... they are tied to our economy, food sources, and coastal infrastructure.”
The “Solid Earth Geophysics” class joined the North Burial Ground for a groundbreaking project this Halloween season, using ground penetrating radar (GPR) to help investigate the mysteries buried within the historic cemetery.
Simulations produced by a Brown-led research team offer evidence that Venus once had plate tectonics — a finding that opens the door for the possibility of early life on the planet and insights into its history.
DEEPS & IBES Professor Meredith Hastings is a co-PI on a new project that will center on a field safety, anti-harassment, and bystander intervention training certificate program. “In scientific work, hostile behaviors such as bullying and harassment create a negative work environment that is more often experienced by people of color and those with disabilities. This is an important reason why the geosciences remain one of the least diverse STEM fields,” said Hastings.
The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Justice has released a new environmental justice policy to prioritize racial and socioeconomic fairness in its agency practices. Professor Meredith Hastings commented, saying she listened to input from community members when deciding where exactly to put the air monitors for her research. “More needs to be done to better understand what residents are exposed to, what sources/industries are responsible and our regulatory system needs to move beyond simply expecting industry to comply by making it harder for these businesses to cause harm in the first place,” Hastings wrote to The Public's Radio.
Assistant Professor Emily Cooperdock and colleagues have published new research on uranium isotopes in serpentinite rocks found both underwater and on land. The team discovered that the uranium isotope ratios in submarine serpentinites are influenced by seafloor weathering and differ from seawater ratios. Overall, the results show exciting evidence that U-isotopes can be used to measure recent weathering of ultramafic serpentinites. The findings also caution against using these systems as indicators of ancient geological events.
Researchers used temperature and humidity data along with climate models to analyze humanity’s exposure to potentially lethal heat as the world warms. IBES Director and DEEPS Professor Kim Cobb said the study’s conclusions are “compelling” but not surprising. “Extreme heat is already responsible for countless deaths worldwide every year,” Cobb told CNN.
Assistant Professor James W. Dottin III is featured on a recent episode of PBS's science documentary series, NOVA. In the episode, "Ancient Earth: Birth of the Sky," scientists explore the creation of Earth's atmosphere and our familiar blue sky.
In response to economic isolation due to the Ukraine invasion, Russia is seeking help from China to develop shipping routes through the Arctic. Professor Amanda Lynch shared her perspective with The Wall Street Journal, including concerns about traversing the icy passages with limited emergency support options.
The Brown Daily Herald featured a review of a new EEPS course exploring New England, teaching geological mapping and hands-on skills to ‘read rocks.’EEPS 1250: “New England Field Geology” is teaching hands-on fieldwork skills to 11 students over the course of nine field trips during the semester.
DEEPS Alumna Rocío Paola Caballero-Gill '15 was selected to receive the 2023 AGU Award for Advancing Inclusive Excellence in STEM, which recognizes exemplary efforts made by an individual or team for developing programs, systems, or networks that have led to the advancement of diversity, equity, and inclusion within the Earth and space sciences community.
NASA’s Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security–Regolith Explorer (OSIRIS-REx) mission is returning to Earth carrying an estimated 250 grams (8.8 ounces) of material gathered from the surface of an asteroid. Takahiro Hiroi, DEEPS Senior Research Scientist and Spectroscopy Specialist, shared his optimism for the mission, saying, “Returned samples can additionally [preserve] microscopic, including nanophase, materials that can be evidence of space weathering or shock events, most elements and isotopes, grain density, [and] material strength.”
University of Central Florida planetary scientist and DEEPS alumna Kerri Donaldson Hanna is counting the days until NASA’s Lunar Trailblazer mission launches from Cape Canaveral and begins its journey to search for water on the moon.
A new 3-year grant from the Department of Energy will investigate carbon storage in soil. The project is led by Rice University scientists, Assistant Professor Mark Torres and Postdoctoral Fellow Evan Ramos. DEEPS Assistant Professor Daniel Ibarra is one of the grant's co-investigators.
DEEPS Professor Baylor Fox-Kemper and EEOB Professor Stephen Porder have co-authored a piece in TIME about the Earth's rising temperatures. "As earth system scientists, we've learned it's sometimes more helpful to look at Earth as, well, a system. In this case, the system of the air and the oceans. Understanding how they interact is the key to understanding what is, and what isn’t, unusual about this very hot year."
Providence’s sewer systems are not prepared for the amount of rain falling on the city this year, according to Mayor Brett Smiley. And all that extra water is wreaking havoc and endangering lives. Professor Baylor Fox-Kemper commented saying it’s good that the city is taking action on upgrading its sewer infrastructure, given that we can only expect more rainfall and flooding as the climate continues to warm.
Professors Kim Cobb and Alberto Saal have been elected as American Geophysical Union’s (AGU) Fellows. They join 53 other individuals in the 2023 Class of Fellows. AGU, the world's largest Earth and space sciences association, annually recognizes a select number of individuals for its highest honors. Since 1962, the AGU Union Fellows Committee has selected less than 0.1% of members as new Fellows.
Professor Karen Fischer was selected to receive the AGU Inge Lehmann Medal, which is given annually to a senior scientist in recognition of outstanding contributions to the understanding of the structure, composition, and dynamics of the Earth’s mantle and core. AGU, the world's largest Earth and space science association, annually recognizes a select number of individuals for its highest honors.
Professor Meredith Hastings discussed Providence air quality and the Breathe Providence project with the Providence Journal. Breathe Providence has set out to address what its researchers see as a gap in air quality data by investing in a network of measuring instruments that they hope will yield more detailed information that reflects a person’s actual exposure to ozone and other pollutants.
Three members of IBES faculty will join Director Kim Cobb and Director of Undergraduate Studies Dawn King to form an expanded IBES Leadership Team, as outlined in the Institute’s 2023-2028 Strategic Plan. Dan Ibarra, Assistant Professor in IBES and DEEPS, has been appointed Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. He sees his new role as having two aspects: promoting inclusivity within IBES and working to diversify environmental science as a whole.
Assistant Professor of Practice Seda Şalap-Ayça has been selected as a Sheridan Junior Faculty Teaching Fellow. The Fellows program is a yearlong, cohort-based learning community that provides the opportunity for a small group of junior faculty from across the disciplines to come together to reflect upon and discuss their teaching and their students’ learning with Sheridan staff. "As an early career faculty," said Şalap-Ayça, "I strongly believe that this fellowship experience will help me to improve my pedagogic knowledge, collaborate with teaching-related projects, and more importantly apply what I learned in my courses and share with the teaching community."
In a recent episode of The Agenda, Juliet Mann speaks to James Head, Professor of Geological Sciences at Brown University, who helped select landing sites for the Apollo moon program, and Xu Yansong, Director-General of the Asia-Pacific Space Cooperation Program.
As part of an annual excursion geared toward incoming graduate students in Brown’s Department of Earth, Environmental and Planetary Sciences, about 20 students joined Brown faculty on a Save the Bay tour.
Brown University is getting ready for the Fall Semester and the new academic year, and everyone in DEEPS is looking forward to welcoming new colleagues, starting new projects, and more opportunities for growth. We asked a number of the DEEPS community to highlight what they were looking forward to this Fall, and this is what they had to say:
The SBB Research Group Foundation named Michelle Vong a recipient of its STEM scholarship. Michelle Vong, a junior, studies environmental science at Brown University. Vong recently interned at Colgate-Palmolive to design and deliver zero plastic waste solutions for their products.
SBUDNIC, built by an academically diverse team of students, was confirmed to have successfully reentered Earth’s atmosphere in August, demonstrating a practical, low-cost method to cut down on space debris.
The ancient glaciers hint at an Archaean Earth that may have looked similar in some ways to our own time. Assistant Professor Dan Ibarra commented on the researchers' work, saying that the Pongola oxygen-18 values “would be some of the highest elevations [found on Earth today] like Tibet or the peaks of the Rocky Mountains."
“The oceans do a lot of the work in reducing the level of warming,” DEEPS Professor Baylor Fox-Kemper told CNBC. “Over 90 percent of the excess energy on earth due to climate change is found in warmer oceans, some of it in surface oceans and some at depth.”
Associate Professor Victor Tsai has published a new article in GeoScienceWorld's Seismological Research Letters about the challenges with available Earth imaging techniques, and explores opportunities for improvement.
A new technique for measuring past topography shows the Himalayas were more than halfway to their summit before a continental collision made them the highest range in the world. “Experts have long thought that it takes a massive tectonic collision, on the order of continent-to-continent scale, to produce the sort of uplift required to produce Himalaya-scale elevations,” said DEEPS Assistant Professor Daniel Ibarra. “This study disproves that and sends the field in some interesting new directions.”
The project, supported by the National Science Foundation, will focus on creating a set of tools and convening experts to address climate change related challenges faced by communities along the New England coast.
From lake sediments to post-fire landscapes, many DEEPS undergraduate students are engaged in groundbreaking research throughout the summer break. We are proud to showcase some of these research projects with this photo series.