Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences News

In Memoriam: Lawrence “Larry” Taylor

Lawrence “Larry” Taylor, a faculty member who was founder and director of UT’s Planetary Geosciences Institute, passed away September 18. He was 79. A prolific researcher, Taylor had a career at UT that spanned 46 years. He was one of the geoscientists based at the Johnson Space Center during Apollo 17, NASA’s last manned mission to the moon, in December 1972.

UT’s Engel Co-Investigator on Grant Funded Through Oil Spill Penalties

A UT earth and planetary sciences professor is co-principal investigator on a project that will study how practices to restore coastal marshes and lands are impacting marsh food webs. The project recently received a $2 million grant from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s RESTORE Science Program. NOAA disbursed a total of $16.7 million to fund various research projects from penalties paid by parties responsible for the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

Burr Co-Authors Paper Examining Electric Sands of the Moon Titan

Turns out that the grains covering the surface of Saturn’s largest moon, Titan, act like clingy packing peanuts—they become electrically charged and cause particles to stick to them. The study describing this finding, co-authored by UT researcher Devon Burr, was published this week in the journal Nature Geoscience.

Christian Science Monitor Interviews McSween about Martian Volcano

One Martian volcano may have erupted for at least 2 billion years, according to new research. The most recent study has long suggested that big volcanic centers on Mars, such as Tharsis and Elysium, could have formed as long ago as 3 or 4 billion years ago, says Harry “Hap” McSween, a geoscientist at UT who was not involved in the research.