SETI Institute Projects and Programs (Listed Chronologically)

The Role of Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons in Dense Cloud Absorption Features: The Last Major Unanswered Question in Interstellar Ice Spectroscopy

Friday, October 31 2014 - 4:48 pm, PDT
Interstellar dust plays a vital role in the star formation process and the eventual formation of planetary systems including our own. Ice mantles are an important component of the dust: reactions involving simple ices can create more complex (and astrobiologically interesting) molecules, and ices sublimated back into the gas phase influence the gas-phase chemistry.

Science Processing Support for the TESS Mission

Friday, October 31 2014 - 12:53 pm, PDT
In April 2013, the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) was selected for flight in August 2017 by NASA’s Explorer Program to discover the 1,000 exoplanets best suited for follow-up and characterization with existing, impending, and future facilities and projects such as the James Webb Space Telescope.

Science Analysis Support for NASA Discovery Program's Kepler Extended Mission

Friday, October 31 2014 - 12:48 pm, PDT
The Kepler Mission seeks to determine the prevalence of Earth-size and larger planets orbiting solar-like stars in the solar neighborhood, and to characterize the stellar properties favoring the development of planetary systems.

Exploring Planetary Habitability and Life

Friday, October 31 2014 - 12:39 pm, PDT
Our overarching goal is to continue to foster a new vision of planetary exploration for NASA by developing new science exploration strategies and tools that will increase the science return of future missions, and support the science of ongoing and upcoming missions.

Exploration of Planets Past, Present, and Future Habitability

Friday, October 31 2014 - 12:35 pm, PDT
With this task, we pursue our research in sedimentology related to the Mars Exploration Rover (MER) mission (mission data and terrestrial analogs), which has now entered its third extended mission and the interpretation of orbital imagery focusing on the basin deposits of the martian highlands. Our objective is to characterize and map potential life habitats from the ground and orbit.

Spin States of Near-Earth Asteroids From Radar Speckle Tracking

Friday, October 31 2014 - 12:31 pm, PDT
We have developed a new technique, radar speckle tracking, using the Arecibo and Goldstone radars and elements of the Very Long Baseline Array and the Jansky Very Large Array to rapidly and uniquely determine asteroid pole directions and spin rates. We propose to make speckle tracking a routine part of the current NEA radar observing campaign, to measure the spin states, including the pole directions, of roughly 20 more NEAs over a two-year period.

Mapping Summertime Evolution of Ice in the North and South Poles with CRISM

Friday, October 31 2014 - 12:26 pm, PDT
We propose to use data from the CRISM visible/near infrared (VNIR) mapping spectrometer to examine the spectral changes that take place in the north and south polar caps during summer. It is well known that the residual cap in the north is composed of water ice and in the south is composed of CO2 ice, but changes within the warm season are not yet understood. This proposal will augment recent work on CRISM observations of the springtime evolution and retreat of the seasonal cap of both hemispheres: (Brown et al. 2009 for south and Brown et al 2012 for north).

Experiments to investigate Coherent Backscatter from atmosphereless bodies

Friday, October 31 2014 - 12:17 pm, PDT
We propose to conduct a set of controlled laboratory experiments to investigate the nature of coherent backscattering from high albedo, atmosphereless solar system bodies.

Polar water ice clouds and dust aerosols seasonal mapping using CRISM EPF data

Friday, October 31 2014 - 12:09 pm, PDT
We propose to use Compact Reconnaissance Imaging Spectrometer for Mars (CRISM) emission phase function (EPF) measurements in the Martian poles (regions poleward of 55° latitude) to map dust and water ice aerosols and surface albedos as a function of season using CRISM data.

Characterization of Martian Surface Mineralogy and Habitability

Friday, October 31 2014 - 12:04 pm, PDT
Characterization of the Martian surface via orbit and landed investigations is proposed here. We will be analyzing data collected by the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) that is currently in orbit at Mars. We are also performing lab analyses that provide ground truthing for the MRO-CRISM data.