SPACE SCIENCE & ASTROBIOLOGY DIVISION HIGHLIGHTS

Key Highlights Space Science

 

Planetary Science

  • Tony Colaprete and Jennifer Heldmann, ARC Code SST, will join a small group of NASA Civil Servants and contractors from across the agency to form a Technical Assessment Team (TAT) focused on defining Science Objectives for Artemis
Astrophysics
  • ATAP team members, Jessie Dotson and Lorien Wheeler will be giving a presentation to the Aphosis 2021 Observing Campaign working group organized by the International Asteroid Warning Network on 01/07/2021.
  • 9 SSA members will be presenting talks and posters at the upcoming AAS virtual conference on January 10 – 15, 2021. See list under presentations below.
  • SSA had 1 publication come out at the end of December and 2 that are upcoming in February 2021. See list below under publications.
  • Jessie Dotson, Christina Hedges, and Tom Greene were members of a winning Small Sat proposal

DIVISION HIGHLIGHTS IN FULL SPACE SCIENCE & ASTROBIOLOGY DIVISION HIGHLIGHTS

SS Weekly Report

Date: 08 January 2021

Division: SS

SIGNIFICANT ANNOUNCEMENTS
  • HQ SMD Lori Glaze Planetary Science Division has asked Ames Code S Scientist in Space Science, Life Science and Earth Science Divisions to participate in the Interagency Working Group – Ocean Exploration and Characterization (IWG-OEC) which is establishing several subgroups to focus on Marine resources, Marine Archaeology, Benthic ecology, Water column, Seafloor Hazards, OEC tools & technology, and Outreach and education
  • Jessie Dotson, Christina Hedges, and Tom Greene (all SSA) were members of a winning Small Sat proposal. More details of this mission will be forthcoming in an official announcement from SMD that is expected to come out shortly. The science goals of this mission are to unravel the confounding effects that star spots / faculae imprint on transit spectroscopy of exoplanet atmospheres and to use transit spectroscopy to look for water, hydrogen, and hazes in exoplanet atmospheres. This science is well-aligned with Ames competencies in exoplanet atmospheres
  • Tony Colaprete (SST) and Jen Heldmann (SST), ARC Code SST, will join a small group of NASA Civil Servants and contractors from across the agency to form a Technical Assessment Team (TAT) focused on defining Science Objectives for Artemis. NASA HQ has developed a Cross-Artemis Site Selection and Analysis Team (CASSA) to ensure that the proper technical analyses are completed in order to identify a location for Artemis landings and the future development of a Base Camp.

 

Upcoming Meetings / Events/Conferences
  • AAS Winter Meeting Presentations:
A picture containing text, sign, plaque

Description automatically generated
  • Laura Venuti will be presenting a talk titled “Multicolor Variability of Young Stars in the Lagoon Nebula: Physical Drivers and Intrinsic Timescales” on 1/11/2021, 9:00am- 9:10am. Oral Session: T Tauri Stars: Properties and Variability, Presentation Number: 118.01
  • Lisseth Gavilan (SSA) will be presenting a talk titled “Low-Temperature Formation of Carbonaceous Grains from PAHs” by Gavilan et al. including members of the COSmIC team on January 13th at 9am PT. Presentation Number: 306.06
  • Rus Belikov (SSA) will be presenting a talk titled “Progress in Technology Advancement of Multi-Star Wavefront Control” on 1/13 at 9:00am. Oral Session – New Ways to Look For Exoplanets. Presentation Number: 318.03
  • Dan Sirbu (SSA) will be presenting a talk titled “End-to-end modeling of Lyot coronagraph for LUVOIR: sensitivity to segment-level aberrations,” on 1/14/2021, 12:20pm-12:30 pm. Oral Session: Roman and LUVOIR, Presentation Number: 416.03
  • Sarah Nickerson (SSA) will be presenting a talk titled “The First Mid-Infrared Detections of HNC and H<sup>13</sup>CN in the Interstellar Medium,” on 1/14/2021 12:30:00 PM – 12:40:00 PM. Oral Session— Astrochemistry 1, Presentation Number: 406.04
  • Alejandro Borlaff-Serano (SA)will be presenting a talk titled “Magnetic Chaos hidden in the Whirlpool galaxy” on 1/14/2021 4:10:00 PM – 4:20:00 PM. Oral Session— Spiral Galaxies, Presentation Number: 430.01
  • David Rappeti (SSA)  will be presenting a talk titled “Status of a Pipeline to Extract the Global 21-cm Signal from a Large Foreground and Constrain Model Parameters,” on 1/15/2021 12:00:00PM – 1:30:00 PM. Oral Session – Cosmology 3, Presentation Number: 510.05
  • Kathryn Lester (SSA)  will be presenting an iPoster titled “Stellar Companions of TESS Exoplanet Host Stars” (Exoplanets I, #344.01). 
  • Ann Marie Cody (SSA)  will be presenting an iposter titledYoung Stars in Taurus: the K2 View” (Young Stellar Objects, Very Young Stars, T-Tauri Stars, H-H Objects) Presentation of Poster: 01/11/2021 @ 4:10pm.
•     43rd COSPAR Scientific Assembly presentation:

Seamus Thomson (SSX) will present a paper on, “ Electrochemical Life Detection Methods for Ocean World Exploration”. The authors report their adaptation of the Mars Phoenix Wet Chemistry Laboratory (WCL) electroanalytical voltammetry capabilities to assay life critical redox molecules in synthetic seawater representative of a saline alkaline solution. Co-authors are Antonio Ricco, Jessica Koehne, Richard Quinn (SSX).

DateNameWho, What (location), and Time
Postponed TBD8th SS Division Annual JamboreeSS Division Staff,Building 3- Ballroom – Time: 8:00 – 5:00
January 10 – 15, 2021237TH Meeting of the American Astronomical Society (AAS)Virtually Anywhere Registration and meeting overview: https://aas.org/meetings/aas237 Time: 10:00am —7:00pm (Varies)
January 14, 2020(Oral Session) — Cosmology 2      –  David Rapetti (SSA) –   Session Type: Oral Session –  Session Number: 410 –  Session Title: (Oral Session) — Cosmology 2 –   Session Time: 1/14/2021 12:00:00 PM – 1/14/2021 –   1:30:00 PM  
January 19,2021The Life Detection Knowledge Base WorkshopRegistration: https://www.nfold.org/ldf-kbworkshop Time 10:00 AM – 12:00 Pacific
January 20 – 21,   2021    Lunar Surface Science Workshop (LSSW)   To solicit input from the community on the potential for new scientific research that could be enabled by human exploration near the lunar south pole. In addition, we want to identify and help to close knowledge gaps associated with crew activities and safety. https://www.hou.usra.edu/meetings/lunarsurface2020/  
January 21, 2021MSR Sample Caching Strategy Workshophttps://forms.gle/gf4rxQ1BjFqdVe9BA 8am-12pm PST
January 28 – 4 February, 202143rd COSPAR Scientific Assemblyhttps://www.cospar2020.org/ – Location:  Sydney Australia
February 22 – 26, 2021The Habitable Worlds 2021 conferencehttps://aas.org/meetings/aastcs8/habitable
August 7-12, 2021SmallSat 2021- Mission Operations & Autonomyhttps://smallsat.org/

 

Awards and Recognitions
  • N/A
Publications

 

  • Title: The First Mid-Infrared Detection of HNC in the Interstellar Medium: Probing the Extreme Environment Towards the Orion Hot Core

Authors: Sarah Nickerson, Naseem Rangwala, Sean Colgan, Curtis DeWitt, Xinchuan Huang, Kinsuk Acharyya, Maria Drozdovskaya, Ryan C. Fortenberry, Eric Herbst, and Timothy J. LeeShort Abstract: We present the first mid-infrared (MIR) detections of HNC and H13CN in the interstellar medium,and numerous, resolved HCN rovibrational transitions. Our observations span 12.8 to 22.9μm to-wards the hot core Orion IRc2, obtained with the Echelon-Cross-Echelle Spectrograph aboard the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA). Exceptional,∼5 km s−1resolution distinguishes individual rovibrational transitions of the HNC and HCN P, Q, and R branches; and theH13CN R branch. This allows direct measurement of the species’ excitation temperatures, column densities, and relative abundances. HNC and H13CN exhibit a local standard rest velocity of−7 km s−1that may be associated with an outflow from nearby radio source I and an excitation temperature of about 100 K. We resolve two velocity components for HCN, the primary component also being at−7km s−1with temperature 165 K. The hottest component, which had never before been observed, is at1 km s−1with temperature 309 K. This is the closest component to the hot core’s centre measured to date. The derived12C/13C = 13±2 is below expectation for Orion’s Galactocentric distance, but the derived HCN/HNC = 72±7 is expected for this extreme environment. Compared to previous sub mm and mm observations, our SOFIA line survey of this region shows that the resolved MIR molecular transitions are probing a distinct physical component and isolating the chemistry closest to the hot core.

  • Title: LCROSS Mission

Author: Kimberly Ennico-Smith Short Abstract: The last two decades our understanding of lunar polar volatiles, including water, has changed extensively from the Apollo era. While the presence of water within polar craters was theorized as early as 1961 (Watson et al. 1961, Arnold et al. 1979), it was not until 1990s that evidence for lunar polar water first emerged. Observations by the Clementine (1994; Nozette et al. 1996) and Lunar Prospector (1998; Feldman et al. 2001) spacecrafts brought forth the first indication of potential water ice located within permanently shadowed regions (PSRs) at the lunar poles. From 2009 onward, new observations contributed further evidence for water and other volatiles, within and around polar PSRs (e.g. Spudis et al. 2010, Colaprete et al. 2010, Gladstone et al. 2012). The data indicate that polar volatiles have a heterogeneous distribution both vertically and laterally, with changes in form and state (e.g. frost vs. interstitial ice). One of these 2009 missions, the Lunar CRater Observation and Sensing Satellite (LCROSS), the subject of this article, provided the first (and so far, only) in-situ evidence of water ice in the lunar subsurface (Colaprete et al. 2010, Schultz et al. 2010).

  • Title: Tentative Evidence for Water Vapor in the Atmosphere of the Neptune-Size Exoplanet HD 106315 c

Authors: Laura Kreidberg, Paul Molli`ere, Ian J.M. Crossfield, Daniel P. Thorngren, Yui Kawashima, Caroline V. Morley,  Bj ̈orn Benneke, Thomas Mikal-Evans, David Berardo, Molly Kosiarek, Varoujan Gorjian, David R. Ciardi, Jessie L. Christiansen, Diana Dragomir, Courtney D. Dressing, Jonathan J. Fortney, Benjamin J. Fulton, Thomas P. Greene, Kevin K. Hardegree-Ullman, Andrew W. Howard, Steve B. Howell, Howard Isaacson, Jessica E. Krick,1ohn H. Livingston, Joshua D. Lothringer, Farisa Y. Morales, Erik A Petigura, Joseph E. Rodriguez, Joshua E. Schlieder ,and Lauren M. Weiss — Short Abstract: We present a transmission spectrum for the Neptune-sized exoplanet HD 106315 c from optical to infrared wavelengths based on transit observations from the Hubble Space Telescope/Wide Field Cam-era 3,K2, and Spitzer. The spectrum shows tentative evidence for a water absorption feature in the1.1−1.7μm wavelength range with a small amplitude of 30 ppm (corresponding to just 0.8±0.04atmospheric scale heights). Based on an atmospheric retrieval analysis, the presence of water vapor is tentatively favored with a Bayes factor of 1.7 – 2.6 (depending on prior assumptions). The spectrum is most consistent with either enhanced metallicity, high altitude condensates, or both. Cloud-free solar composition atmospheres are ruled out at>5σconfidence. We compare the spectrum to grids of cloudy and hazy forward models and find that the spectrum is fit well by models with moderate cloud lofting or haze formation efficiency, over a wide range of metallicities (1−100×solar). We combine the constraints on the envelope composition with an interior structure model and estimate that the core mass fraction is&0.3. With a bulk composition reminiscent of that of Neptune and an orbital distance of 0.15 AU, HD 106315 c hints that planets may form out of broadly similar material and arrive at vastly different orbits later in their evolution.

PublicationJournal/Web link
The First Mid-Infrared Detection of HNC in the Interstellar Medium: Probing the Extreme Environment Towards the Orion Hot Core Sarah Nickerson, Naseem Rangwala, Sean Colgan, Curtis DeWitt, Xinchuan Huang, Kinsuk Acharyya, Maria Drozdovskaya, Ryan C.Fortenberry, Eric Herbst, and Timothy J. Lee (SSA)https://iopscience.iop.org/journal/0004-637X Journal: The Astrophysical Journal Publication Date: 12/31/2020
    LCROSS Mission Kimberly Ennico-Smith (SSA)  https://meteor.springer.com/lunar Publication Name: Encyclopedia of Lunar Science, 1st edition Publication Date: 02/01/2021
Tentative Evidence for Water Vapor in the Atmosphere of the Neptune-Size Exoplanet HD 106315 c Laura Kreidberg, Paul Molli`ere, Ian J.M. Crossfield, Daniel P. Thorngren, Yui Kawashima, Caroline V. Morley, Bj ̈orn Benneke, Thomas Mikal-Evans, David Berardo, Molly Kosiarek, Varoujan Gorjian, David R. Ciardi, Jessie L. Christiansen, Diana Dragomir, Courtney D. Dressing, Jonathan J. Fortney, Benjamin J. Fulton, Thomas P. Greene (SSA), Kevin K. Hardegree-Ullman, Andrew W. Howard, Steve B. Howell (SSA), Howard Isaacson, Jessica E. Krick,1ohn H. Livingston, Joshua D. Lothringer, Farisa Y. Morales, Erik A Petigura, Joseph E. Rodriguez, Joshua E. Schlieder (SSA) ,and Lauren M. Weiss  https://iopscience.iop.org/journal/0004-637X Journal: The Astrophysical Journal Publication Date: 02/01/2021
In vitro selections with RNAs of variable length converge on a robust catalytic core  Milena Popović (SSX), Alexander Q. Ellingson, Theresa P. Chu, Chenyu Wei (SSX), Andrew Pohorille (SSX), Mark A. Ditzler (SSX)   Nucleic Acids Research, https://doi.org/10.1093/nar/gkaa1238 Published: December 24, 2020  
Project Milestones
  • Asteroid Threat Assessment Project (ATAP) team members Jessie Dotson (SSA) and Lorien Wheeler (TNP) will be giving a presentation titled “Apophis Hypothetical Impact Exercise Risk Assessment: Epoch 1” to the Apophis 2021 Observing Campaign working group.  The observing campaign is organized by the International Asteroid Warning Network (IAWN) in coordination with NASA’s Planetary Defense Coordination Office on 1/7/2021.
Science Communication Stories Other Highlights and News
  • N/A
Other Highlights and News
  • N/A

Attachments