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Warm, Wet Conditions on Mars May Have Existed Mostly Below the Surface

Kimm Fesenmaier

The best place to look for signs of past life on Mars may be underground. According to a new interpretation of the distribution of clay minerals on Mars, warm water may have stayed mostly confined to the planet's subsurface for hundreds of millions of years.


Oceans of Water in a Planet-Forming Disk

Marcus Woo

Astronomers have detected massive quantities of water in a planet-forming gas disk around a young star. The water—which is frozen in the icy outer regions of the disk—could fill Earth's oceans several thousand times over. The discovery could help explain how Earth got its oceans and suggests that our planet may not be the only watery world in the cosmos.


The Great California ShakeOut

Allison Benter

On Thursday, October 20, at 10:20 a.m., Caltech will once again participate in the annual statewide earthquake drill, the Great California ShakeOut. All Caltech students, staff, faculty, and visitors are encouraged to join more than 7.5 million Californians in performing three action steps: drop, cover, and hold on.


Wet and Mild: Caltech Researchers Take the Temperature of Mars's Past

Marcus Woo

Researchers at the Caltech have directly determined the surface temperature of early Mars for the first time, providing evidence that's consistent with a warmer and wetter Martian past.


Caltech Named World's Top University in New Times Higher Education Global Ranking

Kathy Svitil

Caltech has been rated the world's number one university in the 2011–2012 Times Higher Education global ranking of the top 200 universities, displacing Harvard University from the top spot for the first time in the survey's eight-year history. 


Caltech Geobiologist Receives Presidential Early Career Award

Kathy Svitil

Victoria Orphan, professor of geobiology at Caltech, is one of 94 winners of a Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE), the highest honor bestowed by the U.S. government on scientists and engineers beginning their independent careers.


Out-of-this-world researchers join GPS faculty

Katie Neith

The latest faculty to join the ranks as assistant professors in the Division of Geological and Planetary Sciences spend a lot of time gazing toward the heavens. Bethany Ehlmann has been working on understanding environmental conditions early in Mars's history, while Heather Knutson focuses on characterizing the properties of the planets that orbit stars other than our sun.




Using Technology Designed for Mars to Look at Earth's Deserts

Kimm Fesenmaier

An international team led by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory has used radar sounding technology developed to explore the subsurface of Mars to create high-resolution maps of freshwater aquifers buried deep beneath a desert on Earth.


NASA's GRAIL Mission Shoots for the Moon

Katie Neith

After a successful lift off on Saturday, September 10, NASA's twin Gravity Recovery and Interior Laboratory (GRAIL) spacecrafts are headed toward the moon to study its gravity field. The two solar-paneled spacecrafts are expected to reach lunar orbit at the end of the year. 



A Wave of New Earth-Science Faculty Joins GPS Division

Katie Neith

For Andrew Thompson, assistant professor of environmental science and engineering who joined GPS in August, growing up in Rhode Island gave him a natural affinity for the ocean. Now, he studies physical ocean science, focusing on eddies. While Thompson studies the way sea storms move things around, new faculty member and alum Victor Tsai, assistant professor of geophysics, is busy measuring the seismic noise produced by the movements of the ocean—partly from the crashing of waves onto the shore.