NASA’s Juno spacecraft – currently orbiting Jupiter, flying close approaches to the planet and then out into the realm of the Jovian moons – and the InSight lander, now perched in Mars’ equatorial region, have both received mission extensions, the space agency announced Jan. 8. Cornell astronomers serve key roles on both projects.
An international team of astronomers – including 17 Cornellians – report they have found the first faint, low-frequency whispers that may be gravitational waves from gigantic, colliding black holes in distant galaxies. The findings were obtained from more than 12.5 years of data collected from the national radio telescopes at Green Bank, West Virginia, and the recently collapsed dish at the Arecibo Observatory, in Arecibo, Puerto Rico.
Earth’s most arid desert may hold a key to finding life on Mars.
Diverse microbes discovered in the clay-rich, shallow soil layers in Chile’s dry Atacama Desert suggest that similar deposits below the Martian surface may contain microorganisms, which could be easily found by future rover missions or landing craft.
Amid the clatter in the days before the presidential election – the long lines at early polls, racial strife, street protests, political ad skirmishes and the streaming patter of television punditry – three College of Arts and Sciences professors offered a bright light at the end of the 2020 tunnel: hope for democracy.
As the frenzied 2020 presidential campaign reaches culmination, the nation’s media, political parties and courts brace for a possible contested outcome. But in the United States and around the world, heated national elections are nothing new.
Three decades after Cornell astronomer Carl Sagan suggested that Voyager 1 snap Earth’s picture from billions of miles away – resulting in the iconic Pale Blue Dot photograph – two astronomers now offer another unique cosmic perspective:
Lea Bonnefoy ’15, a Cornell postdoctoral researcher in astronomy who will soon examine NASA mission landing spots on the Saturnian moon Titan, has been awarded a 2020 L’Oréal-United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Young Talents France Prize For Women in Science.
Bonnefoy, who was among 20 doctoral candidates and 15 post-doctoral researchers in all selected to represent France, was recognized in the physical chemistry category.
Ruth Bader Ginsburg ’54, whose legal career in the fight for women’s rights, equal rights and human dignity culminated with her ascent to the U.S. Supreme Court, and who – as an octogenarian – became a cultural hero and arguably the most beloved justice in American history, died Sept. 18 in Washington, D.C. She was 87.
Ginsburg died from complications of cancer, according to a statement from the Supreme Court.
In a little more than a decade, samples of rover-scooped Martian soil will rocket to Earth.
While scientists are eager to study the red planet’s soils for signs of life, researchers must ponder a considerable new challenge: Acidic fluids – which once flowed on the Martian surface – may have destroyed biological evidence hidden within Mars’ iron-rich clays, according to researchers at Cornell and at Spain’s Centro de Astrobiología.