Adventures in Madrid, Spain!

Ices in the Solar System Meeting Group at the ESA-ESAC. There's a 15th century castle in the background!

Ices in the Solar System Meeting Group at the ESA-ESAC. There's a 15th century castle in the background!

Good morning, Earthlings!

Last week I was on an adventure to Madrid, Spain to attend the Ices in the Solar System Meeting and wanted to share some fun research to look forward to with ESA and NASA collaborations among other space agencies and laboratories! Due to this being a somewhat private meeting, I will not give specific details on the research due to publication ethics, but rather some cool facts learned and mysteries yet to be solved!

Caitlin's Top 10 COOL MYSTERIES:

1- What is the evolution of Swiss Cheese terrain on Mars? Computer modeling is now mixing with seasonal and mineralogical insights into this weird South Polar region on Mars.

2-Rosetta mission has come to an end on Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko (we'll just call it 67P for short). As it was descending onto the comet, it ran into a slight blizzard!

3- Comet 67P also has random outbursts of material and planetary scientists are not sure what could be the cause. 

4-Tectonics on Ganymede have shown some considerable interest, particularly the darker regions on Ganymede have shown to have been ancient tectonic systems relatable to Earth's.

5-Lakes on Titan are proven to be quite sticky, but with what? Laboratory experiments are trying to figure out the methane, ethane, and other volatile compounds to make up these vast lakes. 

6-Possibility of a future Titan probe! Since Cassini will be ending in September 2017 (coming up!), the possibility of a new probe is underway. Whether it is a submarine, a boat, or an airship- all three are being designed currently!

7- The rise of laboratory experimentation has come! Most of the presenters were modelers or theoretical geologists and chemists, but laboratory scientists (like myself) have been able to carry out those models and hopefully improve on them!

8-There might be a subsurface on Ceres? Or at least it might have used to according to the geologic processes we are observing and the types of ices on the surface are confusing with different ages and types of ice!

9-There will a special issue of updated Pluto maps coming out soon in the journal Icarus. Keep an eye out for that!

10-I got to present my lab work dealing with carbon monoxide and nitrogen ices, and although I can not say specifics, I can say that carbon monoxide acted weird at low temperatures and will be continuing this mystery!

Thank you for reading! What in the world are clathrates? Read next week to find out!


Caitlin Ahrens