Nailing It: Caltech Engineers Help Show That InSight Lander Probe Can Hammer Itself Into Martian Soil
Professor José Andrade’s research team including Postdoctoral researchers Ivan Vlahinic and Jason Marshall have helped the InSight Mars lander boldly go where no one has gone before: beneath the surface of Mars. InSight is equipped with two main instrument packages: a seismometer for studying how seismic waves (for example, from marsquakes and meteorite impacts) travel through the planet and a "mole" that will burrow into the ground, dragging a tether with temperature sensors behind it to measure how temperatures change with depth on the planet. These instruments will tell scientists about Mars's interior structure (similar to the way an ultrasound lets doctors "see" inside a human body) and also about the heat flow from the planet's interior. When designing the mole the engineers at JPL wanted to be certain that it would be capable of reaching the necessary depth, and so they called on Professor Andrade, an expert on the physics of granular materials. He was able to develop new computer models that helped the JPL team predict the mole's effectiveness in Martian soil. Unless the mole encounters an obstacle, Andrade is confident that it will be successful. [Caltech story]
Professor Lapusta Receives GSC Mentoring Award
The Caltech Graduate Student Council (GSC) has selected Professor Nadia Lapusta as the recipient of the 2017-2018, GSC Mentoring Award. The GSC Teaching and Mentoring Awards recognize individuals “who have an extraordinary impact on Caltech graduate students through their roles as teachers and mentors.” Nominators described Professor Lapusta as being an excellent cheerleader who fosters her students' ties with the community. Despite leading a large group, she makes significant amounts of time for her students. One student said, "the path ahead always seems more optimistic after our meetings."
Richard B. Chapman Memorial Awards
Morgane Anne Marie Grivel advised by Professor Morteza Gharib, Kazuki Maeda advised by Professor Tim Colonius, and Jason Schlup advised by Professor Guillaume Blanquart are recipients of the 2018 Richard B. Chapman Memorial Award. Morgane's research focuses on using hydrophilic and hydrophobic regions to modify hydrodynamic flows. Jason's research utilized computational fluid dynamics to investigate the highly unstable combustion of hydrogen-air mixtures with a focus on accurate, cost-effective modeling techniques. Kazuki does research in multi-phase flow, computational fluid dynamics, and biomedical engineering. The Richard B. Chapman Memorial Award is given to an EAS graduate student in hydrodynamics who has distinguished himself or herself in research.
Richard B. Chapman Memorial Award