Research into planetary formation at Bristol

Lead Research Organisation: University of Bristol
Department Name: Earth Sciences

Abstract

The work will address two key aspects of planetary science in two separate projects.

The first project is an investigation of how the Moon formed. The best current idea is that the Moon was created by a giant impact between a massive protoplanet and the young Earth. The problem is that this leads to predictions for the chemical makeup of the Moon that differ from what we measure. Alternative impact scenarios exist, and the key to choosing between them is good measurements of the mix of elements (and different isotopes of those elements) on the Moon. This project will make a far more precise set of measurements of moon rocks than has been possible in the past, with the expectation of being able to choose one model over another.

The second project involves using new data from the Cassini spacecraft to investigate the atmosphere of Saturn's giant moon, Titan. The project will determine how Titan's climate system operates
and how the atmosphere redistributes solar energy over two of Titan's 7.5 Earth-year long seasons. Titan is one of only four terrestrial planets with atmospheres in our Solar System and provides unique insight into how planetary atmospheres operate under extreme conditions.

Planned Impact

Direct beneficiaries from the research will be our academic colleagues and interested members of the public, who will be exposed to the research results through our lectures, talks in schools, podcasts, press releases, WWW pages, appearances on radio and TV, and exhibits in and around Bristol. More indirectly, the public may be affected by advice given to local MPs (Stephen Williams, Liam Fox) or City Councillors.

Commercial benefits have already been had from the Isotope Group's research (via projects with Shell). Spin-offs from the instrumentation development in the isotope work have benefitted Thermo-Fisher

Finally, the major economic output of this work will continue to be trained PhDs and PDRAs who mostly go into non- academic areas for their later careers. These careers have included local Government, the defense and security sector, plasma fusion research, meteorology, teaching, and finance..

Publications

10 25 50
 
Description -Titan's atmospheric seasonal variations including polar vortex formation and trace gas evolution over the course of the Cassini mission. These findings are currently being used to plan future studies with JWST and ALMA.
-Predictions of impact induced seismicity on Europa, which could contribute to development of a new lander mission.
-New trace gases discovered on Titan using ALMA, which have implications for astrobiology and atmospheric chemistry.
-We have made important progress in technical developments that underlies one part of the proposal. We have improved our reproducibility of Ca isotope measurement on both thermal and plasma ionisation instrument to 30ppm which places us well for our lunar analyses. We have also developed Is isotope analyses
Exploitation Route We have been sharing our expertise with low temperature geochemists and archaeologists for studying additional problems.
Sectors Education,Environment

 
Description Enchanced knowledge of Titan's atmosphere resulting from research on the grant is being used to help guide future missions, namely James Webb Space Telescope, where Teanby was invited to give a talk to project staff/software engineers at ESTEC in late 2017. The PIs were involved in the first Annual Colin Pillinger Memorial Talk, An Hour on the Moon. This was organised by the University of Bristol for a general audience on the evening of 25th November in the Great Hall. All spaces were filled for this successful event. As part of this the PIs hosted James Carpenter from ESA, who came to present on current developments in lunar exploration. Teanby prepared a case study for the web site of the company National Instruments: http://sine.ni.com/cs/app/doc/p/id/cs-16722
First Year Of Impact 2015
Sector Education,Manufacturing, including Industrial Biotechology
Impact Types Cultural,Societal,Economic

 
Description Aurora
Amount £59,000 (GBP)
Funding ID ST/R001367/1 
Organisation UK Space Agency 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 07/2017 
End 06/2020
 
Description ALMA 
Organisation National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)
Department Goddard Space Flight Center
Country United States 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution Radiative transfer analysis of new ALMA data
Collaborator Contribution Data reduction of new ALMA data
Impact Publication of HNC and HCN abundance on Titan
Start Year 2014
 
Description Cassini 
Organisation National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)
Department Goddard Space Flight Center
Country United States 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution Data analysis and interpretation
Collaborator Contribution Data analysis and interpretation
Impact publications (see pubs section)
 
Description Cassini 
Organisation National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)
Department Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Country United States 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution Data analysis and interpretation
Collaborator Contribution Data analysis and interpretation
Impact publications (see pubs section)
 
Description Cassini 
Organisation Observatory of Paris
Country France 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Data analysis and interpretation
Collaborator Contribution Data analysis and interpretation
Impact publications (see pubs section)
 
Description Cassini 
Organisation SRON Netherlands Institute for Space Research
Country Netherlands 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Data analysis and interpretation
Collaborator Contribution Data analysis and interpretation
Impact publications (see pubs section)
 
Description Cassini 
Organisation University of Oxford
Department Department of Physics
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Data analysis and interpretation
Collaborator Contribution Data analysis and interpretation
Impact publications (see pubs section)
 
Description GSFC 
Organisation National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)
Department Goddard Space Flight Center
Country United States 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution Analysis and interpretation of spacecraft data
Collaborator Contribution Publications and access to data
Impact Contributions to 25 scientific papers since 2006
Start Year 2006
 
Description GSFC 
Organisation National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)
Department Goddard Space Flight Center
Country United States 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution Analysis and interpretation of spacecraft data
Collaborator Contribution Analysis and interpretation of spacecraft data
Impact over 25 research papers published since 2006
Start Year 2006
 
Description JPL 
Organisation National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)
Department Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Country United States 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution Analysis and interpretation of spacecraft data
Collaborator Contribution Analysis and interpretation of spacecraft data
Impact Over 1o research papers published since 2006
Start Year 2006
 
Description JPL 
Organisation National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)
Department Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Country United States 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution Analysis and interpretation of spacecraft data
Collaborator Contribution Analysis and interpretation of spacecraft data for publication
Impact Publication of over 10 scientific papers
Start Year 2006
 
Description Johns Hopkins University 
Organisation Johns Hopkins University
Country United States 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Scientific collaboration (Titan) including hosting a visiting PhD student.
Collaborator Contribution Scientific collaboration / funds for visiting student
Impact Telescope time application for ALMA
Start Year 2010
 
Description Oxford 
Organisation University of Oxford
Department Atmospheric, Oceanic and Planetary Physics
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Analysis and interpretation of spacecraft data
Collaborator Contribution Analysis and interpretation of spacecraft data
Impact More than 10 joint papers published since 2010
Start Year 2010
 
Description Paris 
Organisation Observatory of Paris
Department Laboratory for Space Science and Astrophysical Instrumentation
Country France 
Sector Charity/Non Profit 
PI Contribution Analysis and interpretation of spacecraft data
Collaborator Contribution Analysis and interpretation of spacecraft data
Impact Published over 15 papers on planetary atmospheres
Start Year 2006
 
Description Paris 
Organisation Observatory of Paris
Department Laboratory for Space Science and Astrophysical Instrumentation
Country France 
Sector Charity/Non Profit 
PI Contribution Analysis and interpretation of spacecraft data
Collaborator Contribution Analysis and interpretation of spacecraft data
Impact Publication of over 15 research papers since 2006
Start Year 2006
 
Description Organization and hosting of the festival "De La Plage aux √Čtoiles" in Collioure (France) 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Organization and hosting of the festival "De La Plage aux Étoiles" in Collioure (France). It is an astrophysics outreach festival with exhibitions, conferences and sky observations with telescopes. (Melody Sylvestre)
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL https://www.astrocollioure.fr/spip/
 
Description @Bristol - Earthquakes and Engineering 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact PDRA M. Sylvestre helped demonstrate seismic methods at the Earthquakes and Engineering event at the @Bristol science centre
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description Advised on purported meteorite finds 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact A member of the public came with a stone believed to be a meteorite. I advised that it was a rounded, metamorphic rock and explained its likely origin
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
 
Description Interview for the podcast Curious About 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Media (as a channel to the public)
Results and Impact Interview for the podcast Curious About. Careers and science focus. (Melody Sylvestre)
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL https://cap.podbean.com/e/physics-1534576936/
 
Description Involvement in Pillinger Public lecture 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Hosted ESA speaker for the Pillinger Lecture. Engaged with organisers of event, providing assistance and with members of public at event (>200 people in fully ticketed event in University Great Hall)
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
 
Description Outreach conference about Cassini for the amateur astronomy club Janus in Gennevilliers (France) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Outreach conference about Cassini for the amateur astronomy club Janus in Gennevilliers (France) (Melody Sylvestre)
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Titan Vortex 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Media (as a channel to the public)
Results and Impact Press release, media interviews, and associated publicity surrounding Nature Comms article on Titan's winter polar vortex
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL https://www.stfc.ac.uk/news/titans-unique-chemistry-causes-strange-atmospheric-behaviour/