Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences News

Two UT Scientists to Begin Searching for Potential Habitats for Life on Mars

Jeffrey Moersch

NASA’s Curiosity rover landed on Mars Sunday night. Then, the work began for two UT professors searching for potentially habitable environments on the red planet. Linda Kah and Jeffrey Moersch, associate professors in the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, are an integral part of the NASA team working on the rover.

UT professors helping to lead mission to Mars

WATE-TV’s Jill McNeal interviewed Jeffrey Moersch, associate professor in the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, before he headed to California for his Mars Mission. He and Linda Kah, also an associate professor in the department, are an integral part of the NASA team working on the Curiosity rover.

TIME: How to Weigh an Asteroid — and Why You Should Care

The work of a UT professor has been featured in TIME. Josh Emery, assistant professor of earth and planetary sciences, has helped reveal a rare orbital shift and the density of an asteroid that will pass close to Earth.

Knox County Teacher Wins Marian E. Oates Teacher Enrichment Award

Jamie Stapleton

Jamie Stapleton, a sixth-grade teacher at Whittle Springs Middle School in Knox County, is the 2012 recipient of the Marian E. Oates Teacher Enrichment Award from UT. The award, which includes a scholarship for professional development, will allow Stapleton to spend the summer collaborating with Professor Mike McKinney, director of environmental studies in UT’s Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences.

Professor’s Work on NASA Dawn Spacecraft Reveals Secrets of Large Asteroid

Slice of a meteorite

Harry “Hap” McSween, Chancellor’s Professor and Distinguished Professor of Earth and Planetary Sciences, presented findings of a mission investigating the asteroid Vesta at a press conference held at NASA headquarters on Thursday. McSween is a co-investigator for the Dawn spacecraft mission, which has been circling Vesta since last July and is slated to stay until late August.

Professor to Present Asteroid Findings at NASA News Conference

Harry McSween

Harry “Hap” McSween, Chancellor’s Professor and Distinguished Professor of Earth and Planetary Sciences, will present a new analysis of the giant asteroid Vesta during a NASA news conference on Thursday, May 10. The event will be streamed live on Ustream.

UT Competes in NASA Moonbuggy Race Founded by UT Professor

For six weeks, a team of four UT students worked with old bicycle parts, scrap metals and little engineering expertise inside a garage to build a moonbuggy, a simulation of the lunar rovers used by the Apollo 15, 16 and 17 astronauts. The students raced their moonbuggy in NASA’s 19th annual moonbuggy race at the US Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville, Ala. The race was founded by their mentor Larry Taylor, distinguished professor of earth and planetary sciences.

Jones Professorship Puts UT on the Map for Hydrogeologist

A native of British Columbia, Canada, Larry McKay had to pull out a map to locate the state of Tennessee twenty years ago when he was invited to UT. Knoxville was the place he wanted to go to start his career as a professor after he learned the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences would award him the Donald H. Jones Professorship of Hydrogeology. The endowed professorship, established by 1950 UT geology graduate Donald Jones and his wife Flo, has given McKay the opportunity to combine his love of teaching with research.