The Irish Geological Association online lecture will be delivered by Dr Jennifer Scully (NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California) on the topic: 'There and back again: a geologist's tale of planetary exploration'.
Abstract: I will give an overview of the NASA missions I have taken part in, focusing on planetary geology. First, the Dawn mission, which investigated asteroid belt bodies Vesta and Ceres. Vesta is largely dry and has a basaltic crust modified over millions of years by meteorite impacts and fracturing/faulting. Ceres is the only dwarf planet in the inner solar system and has a relatively large amount of water ice just beneath the surface, suggesting a former subsurface ocean. Ceres also has spectacular bright salt formations and an isolated mountain. Second, the Europa Clipper mission, which will investigate Europa via multiple flybys. Jupiter's icy moon Europa contains an extensive subsurface ocean that is of great interest to astrobiologists. Finally, I will talk about future planetary mission concepts I am involved with, including landings and/or sample returns.
Dr Jennifer Scully is a scientist at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in California, which is funded by NASA and managed by the California Institute of Technology (Caltech). She graduated with a B.A. in Science (Geology) from Trinity College Dublin in 2010, after enjoying her time in the Museum Building and on field trips around Ireland, Scotland and Spain. She then moved to the U.S. to pursue a Ph.D. in geology at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), which focused on planetary geology.