AstroTalk Episode November 9, 2017

Gravitational Lensing, Monitoring Antarctic Penguin Populations, and What Provides Heat for Enceladus' Subsurface Ocean?

3:02pm - 3:29pm

Introduction: Talk about Gravitational Lensing.
NASA Satellites are monitoring Antarctic Penguin population. Penguins are important ecosystem indicators. Penguins are part of the vast food web in the Antarctic area. Data bases for penguin populations are being updated, so scientists can monitor not only the survival of the penguins, but also the populations of things like krill and polar bears in the Antarctic. A NASA app, MAPPDD, (Mapping Applications for Penguin Populations and Projection Dynamics) allows anyone, including scientists and citizen scientists, to monitor the penguin populations. NASA is accepting proposals on how to best model the penguin population using MAPPDD. Existing datasets for penguin populations are limited and patchy, so NASA hopes that it can help scientists better forecast trends for penguin populations. Penguin scientists have not had much luck in accurately predicting future penguin populations so a competition is now on for citizen scientists to develop a new model, using MAPPPD, to more accurately forecast penguin population dynamics. Do you have it in you to become a penguin detective?
Powering Enceladuds' Active Icy Ocean. (Enceladus is a moon of Saturn). Scientists are trying to figure out what power source is providing heat for Enceladus' subsurface ocean. Scientists believe it is possible that the moon's rocky core is responsible for the heating. Simulations show that as Enceladus orbits Saturn, the rocks in the porous core rub together, and thus provides heat that rises up and interacts with the water in Enceladus' subsurface ocean. The scientists cannot explain, though, why the moon's North pole is so different than the South pole. Geyers spewing water are found in the South but not the North.