NASA scientist to talk about water on Mars

Jeffery Plaut, a scientist at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, will give a talk titled “Water on Mars? Yes, if ice counts!” from 11:10 a.m. to noon on Friday, Nov. 6, in Hedges Conference Room in the Thomas Commons.

Jeffrey Plaut of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory will talk about water on Mars on Nov. 6.
Jeffrey Plaut of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory will talk about water on Mars on Nov. 6.

Plaut is the co-principal investigator for the Mars Advanced Radar for Subsurface and Ionosphere Sounding project, and is a project scientist on the 2001 Mars Odyssey project. The Mars Odyssey project discovered large amounts of hydrogen on the planet, which in turn led to the discovered of water ice buried just below Mars’ surface. MARSIS is a project that uses ground-penetrating radar to search for ice down to 5 kilometers below the planet’s surface.

Both projects have led to massive interest in Mars, as well as helped advance the research on the geology of Earth’s planetary neighbor. In 2013 data from MARSIS was used to create a 3D virtual video of Mars’ North Pole, complete with 1000-kilometer-wide ice caps.

In addition to those projects, Plaut—the brother of Cornell College art professor Tony Plaut ’78—has worked on Space Shuttle radar research and the Magellan spacecraft’s mission to Venus.