Devon Burr, assistant professor of earth and planetary science, has been publishing papers about NASA’s mission to Titan, a moon of Saturn, since 2006.
She will be discussing some of the mission’s findings at the Science Forum on April 19.
The Science Forum is a weekly brown-bag lunch series that allows professors and area scientists to discuss their research with the general public in a conversational presentation.
The weekly presentations begin at noon on Fridays in Room C-D of Thompson-Boling Arena. Attendees can bring lunch or purchase it at the arena. Each presentation is forty minutes long and is followed by a question-and-answer session. Science Forum presentations are free and open to the public.
NASA has been studying Titan, Saturn’s largest satellite, since 2004. Although it is ten times farther from the sun than Earth and about 200 degrees Kelvin colder, Titan’s surface is very similar to Earth’s but composed of very different materials.
Pictures and data from Titan show windblown dunes covering about 20 percent of the moon’s surface. They are similar to sand dunes on Earth but are made of carbon-rich material.
Titan also has many drainage networks, similar to river systems on Earth. Instead of being formed by water, they were formed by liquid hydrocarbon.
Burr studies data after it is released by NASA. She said she is excited about the findings.
“There’s another planetary body—another world—that looks amazingly like Earth, but formed in very different materials,” she said. “It’s really fascinating.”
The last Science Forum presentation of the semester will be April 26 and will feature Joan Markel, curator of Civil War exhibits at the McClung Museum, presenting “Digging into Our Civil War Past.”
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