In my opinion it's the best celestial body to observe — it's big enough to see in captivating detail without a telescope and it doesn't thank you for your wonderment by burning out your eyeballs. And while it may lack the kaleidoscopic coloring, dynamic vitality, and exotic mystery of some of the other local orbs, our moon is the old friend we wouldn't want to lose.
Tonight we'll learn all about our trusty sidekick — the theories on its formation, predictions about its future, its internal structure, its geological past and present, and the many ways in which it affects the earth.
We'll discover how the moon impacts our climate, how it got locked in a synchronous rotation with the earth, how tides work, and why some scientists suggest that without the moon life on earth may never have developed- Ask a Scientist
Dr. Jennifer Heldmann completed her undergraduate studies at Colgate University in Hamilton, NY, earning a Bachelor's degree in Astrogeophysics.
She began studying Mars under the direction of Dr. Jim Bell of Cornell University by analyzing the large-scale mineralogical composition of Mars through the use of Hubble Space Telescope (HST) data. Heldmann then received her Master's degree in Space Studies and a minor in Geology at the University of North Dakota. Heldmann has worked closely with the Astrobiology Academy at NASA Ames Research Center for the past five years to conduct research regarding the habitability of other planets.
Heldmann also worked at NASA Ames under the direction of Dr. Chris McKay on a variety of projects including extreme physical conditions supporting life in Antarctica, collecting experimental data regarding the soil chemistry of martian simulant soils, and conducting field work in the Mars analog environment of the Canadian High Arctic to study cold perennial springs flowing in polar desert conditions. She then went to the University of Colorado at Boulder where she recently completed her Ph.D.
Heldmann has also participated in simulated Mars missions by living in Mars habitat modules and is very excited for the promising future of Mars exploration. Heldmann is now working at the NASA Ames Research Center as a National Research Council Post-doctoral fellow during this very exciting time of solar system exploration.