Tuesday, December 16, 2008

UA geoscientists hold 3 press conferences at AGU

University of Arizona scientists were central players in three press conferences held at the AGU Fall meeting in San Francisco yesterday.

Starting at 9 am, Jonathan Overpeck, Co-Director of the Institute for Environment and Society at UA, was one of three panelists analyzing local and regional impacts of global climate change, with challenges facing cities and states ranging from more frequent heat waves and droughts to higher costs for road maintenance, electricity, emergency services, and reliable water supplies.

At 1 pm, Peter Smith, Principal Investigator for the UA -managed Phoenix Mars Lander, headed up a press conference on "Close look at a Martian arctic environment." The Phoenix Mars Lander spent more than five months this year examining a landing site on far-northern Mars. Phoenix dug to water-ice beneath the surface and analyzed the soil just above the ice for clues about the habitability of this permafrost environment.

To wrap up the day, Jonathan Lunine, from the UA Lunar and Planetary Laboratory, and is on the Cassini-Huygens project, was the lead at the 4pm press conference, talking about whether ice volcanoes are oozing from Titan and replenishing its atmosphere with methane. Or are these flow-like features the icy-debris that have been lubricated by rain and collapsed into sinuous piles like mudflows?

There is a press conference at 1 pm today on the International Year of Astronomy featuring two UA scientists, Stephen Pompea, Manager of Science Education at the National Optical Astronomy Observatory (NOAO), US project director for IYA2009 and leader of the US IYA2009 optics education working group developing the Galileoscope, Connie Walker, Senior Science Education Specialist at NOAO and leader of the US and international IYA2009 working groups on dark-skies awareness.

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