"Candace Gray spent her childhood with her siblings looking up at the stars and watching for meteor showers," reports Audry Olmsted of New Mexico's Las Cruces Sun News.
"As the recipient of the NASA Earth and Space Science Fellowship, the New Mexico State University graduate student is now keeping her eyes firmly planted on Venus as she tries to determine whether certain oxygen emissions seen in its atmosphere are caused by enhanced solar flux on the planet during solar flares."
"If you look at our solar system, Venus, Earth and Mars all formed really close to each other," said Gray, who just completed her second year of the graduate program in the Department of Astronomy and is using the $30,000 fellowship to study effects of solar flares on Venus's "nightglow," a phenomenon that happens when atoms and ions on a planet's dayside are moved to the nightside and reconnect with atoms and electrons to release light at various wavelengths.
She says that the three planets "formed with similar materials, under the same conditions and temperatures, and at the same time. We would expect them to evolve similarly and have similar atmospheres, but they don't. This shows that they underwent different evolutionary processes. To understand these processes, we need to understand the chemistry going on and then backtrack in time."
- Ars Animalis: Looking at animals throughout the history of art
- Women's History Month: Remembering 22 women in science
- Purity Month: Looking at 100%
- Instead of This, Try This: Starting the new year with change
- Victory Month: Celebrating positive change through grassroots action
- Of Rice and Men: Cooking the world's most important grain for human nutrition
- 21 Days, 21 Reasons, 21 Recipes, 21 Quotes: Eating plants, loving animals
- Rich Dog, Poor Dog: Considering man's best friend
- Physicists & Priests: Looking at the relationship of science and religion
- Deep Space: Staring at the stars
- Gray Matters: Thinking about thinking
- Flower Power: Stopping to smell the angiosperms
- Animal Cruelty: Looking at the devil within
- Chemical Month: Exploring the vast laboratory of our daily lives
- Africa Month: Visiting the world's second-largest continent
- Reports from 2050: Imagining the future