Space & planetary sciences crew welcome! We have the treat of having Leon Alkalai on campus, he is a creative maestro behind many great mission ideas at JPL, and is a key strategic leader for their research efforts.

“The Future of Robotic Space Exploration”

We live in very exciting times with regards to the current state of the art and the near-term opportunities for robotic space exploration. As of today, NASA is planning and developing missions to explore the ocean worlds at the moons of Jupiter and Saturn including Europa, Enceladus and Titan. We have continuous robotic presence on the surface of Mars and in orbit around Mars for over 20 years with plans to robotically return samples back to Earth in the near future. Moreover, robotic explorers are getting more and more sophisticated and more autonomous including the use of Artificial Intelligence and other on-board autonomous functions and using optical communications to provide high-bandwidth communications from deep space back to Earth. In parallel to all these advancements in robotic space exploration for the sake of science and exploration, there is a new tide of commercial space rising. Satellites are getting smaller and more capable and cheaper; access to space is getting easier, more frequent and cheaper. The two trends are fueling a new gold rush to Lower Earth Orbit by commercial space companies and fresh investments from venture capital. Future market sectors include: space tourism, space manufacturing, space resources, research and technology development in space, human habitats on the Moon and Mars, and much more. This is an excellent time to enter into the space business, for science, exploration or for new business development.


Title: Diagnosing change in the ocean carbon sink

Abstract: Since preindustrial times, theocean has absorbed an excess of carbon equivalent to 41% of cumulative fossilfuel emissions, and thus has significantly slowed atmospheric CO2growth and the resulting climate change. Ocean carbon uptake is expected to growsubstantially through 2100. Thus, international climate policy efforts requirethe carbon cycle science community to regularly diagnose ocean carbon fluxesand to distinguish changes in atmospheric CO2 due to naturalvariability from changes due to emission cuts. Our analysis of 35 years of surfaceocean pCO2 observations illustrates significant large-scale variabilityon interannual to decadal timescales. If the expected long-term growth in the oceancarbon sink is to be directly detected, the growth signal must emerge from thenoise of this variability. We predict emergence timescales using a large ensembleof the NCAR climate model (NCAR-LENS). The forced trend in carbon uptake islargest and emerges most quickly at the high latitudes. In the subtropics, thesink grows slowly and does not emerge until late in the century. Surface oceanpCO2 observations indicate carbon sink growth consistent with thepredicted emergence only in the North Pacific; elsewhere, variability continuesto dominate.