Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences News

Professor Part of NASA Team Preparing for 2020 Mars Mission

Jeffrey-Moersch

Over the next five years, Jeffrey Moersch will be traveling to faraway places—from the Arctic to the Chilean desert—in a quest to learn more about a place even farther away—Mars. The earth and planetary sciences professor is part of a new NASA-funded research team helping prepare for the Mars 2020 rover mission. The interdisciplinary team is a member of the NASA Astrobiology Institute and is one of seven to receive a five-year grant of about $8 million.

Tooth Serves as Evidence of 220 Million-Year-old Attack

Reconstruction of the interaction of large land predators (rauisuchid) and aquatic predator (phytosaur) about 210 million years ago based on research by a joint team of University of Tennessee and Virginia Tech researchers. Christopher Hayes, a freshman at Virginia Tech, composed the drawing.

At the beginning of the age of dinosaurs, gigantic reptiles—distant relatives of modern crocodiles—ruled the earth. Some lived on land and others in water and it was thought they didn’t much interact. But a tooth found by a UT researcher in the thigh of one of these ancient animals is challenging this belief.

Cross-Country Science: UT Faculty Mentor Inner-City New Jersey Youth

MXS-Students-TNT

When faculty members Karen Lloyd and Andrew Steen saw an opportunity to introduce a group of inner-city New Jersey high school students to science, they made it happen. Lloyd, an assistant professor of microbiology, and her husband, Steen, an assistant professor of earth and planetary sciences, just completed their second summer program with students and teachers from Malcolm X Shabazz High School in Newark.

Two Doctoral Students Win NASA Fellowships to Further Their Studies

Two earth and planetary sciences doctoral students will be furthering their study of the cosmos with help from NASA. NASA Earth and Space Sciences Fellowships are awarded once a year “to ensure continued training of a highly qualified workforce in disciplines required to achieve NASA’s scientific goals.” The recipients, including UT’s Eric MacLennan, of Boston, Massachusetts, and Richard Cartwright, of Atlanta, Georgia, will each get $30,000 a year for three years.

Staff Recognized for Service at Annual Honors Banquet

Parish

On Wednesday, Chancellor Jimmy G. Cheek celebrated faculty, staff, and students for their accomplishments throughout the past academic year. Sally Parish, director of the Center for Leadership and Service; Rita Smith, executive associate dean of UT Libraries; and Melody Branch, business manager for the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, were recognized for their service to the university.