Our Future in Space: The Moon and Beyond
Jack Burns, University of Colorado Boulder
Why do we explore space? How do we explore
space? Where should we explore? What are
the tools for space exploration? These questions will be addressed in this talk focused on
the future of human and robotic exploration of
the solar system and beyond. Since the end of
the Apollo program, the justification for the human space program has proven elusive. We will
borrow a page from the computer and new
commercial space companies to argue for an
inspirational approach to the next phase of
exploration beyond Earth orbit. The “how” is
addressed with NASA’s new Orion and Space
Launch Systems along with new launch systems being developed by private companies
such as SpaceX and Blue Origin. We will argue
that both the Moon and Mars can be explored
through a combination of governmental programs, international partnerships, and public-
private partnerships. The tools for exploration
include telerobotics where astronauts aboard
NASA’s Lunar Gateway in orbit of the Moon
will operate rovers and deploy telescopes on
the lunar surface in a new synergy between
robots and humans.
A Masing BAaDE’s Window
Ylva Pihlström, University of New Mexico
Evolved, intermediate mass stars are tracers of an intermediate age stellar population. Due to high mass-loss rates, they harbor circumstellar envelopes, in which different types of molecular maser emission can be observed. The maser emission allows not only studies of the physical conditions in the circumstellar envelope itself, but also can be used to test Galactic dynamics. Both these facets are investigated in the Bulge Asymmetries and Dynamical Evolution (BAaDE) survey, using 28,000 SiO maser emitting stars in the Milky Way galaxy observed by the VLA and ALMA. I will give an overview of this survey and discuss a few of our results and challenges: A marginal flux bias exists in our sample due to two different sets of frequencies observed, which could partly be corrected for using longer integration times at ALMA. We have collected an extensive infrared data set for our sample, providing a means of modeling parameters such as bolometric luminosities and mass loss rates. Infrared colors further helps to separate C-rich from O-rich stars, and may also be tied to line ratios, tying back to the conditions in the circumstellar envelope.
Searching for diffuse radio emission in merging galaxy clusters with LOFAR
Amanda Wilber, Universität Hamburg
Galaxy cluster mergers are powerful drivers of turbulence and shocks, which can accelerate cosmic-ray electrons within the magnetic field of the intracluster medium (ICM) to generate Megaparsec-sized radio structures. Actively merging clusters are excellent astrophysical laboratories for studying the nature of magnetic fields and the physics of particle acceleration. Questions still remain in identifying the source of cosmic-ray electrons that appear to fill the ICM so uniformly, and in determining the origin and amplification mechanisms of cluster magnetic fields. With its high-resolution, extended coverage, and sensitivity to radio emission with low surface brightness, the LOw Frequency ARray (LOFAR) Two-metre Sky Survey (LoTSS) gives us an unparalleled opportunity to hunt for diffuse radio sources in distant galaxy clusters. In this talk I present the results of LoTSS observations which reveal never-before-seen diffuse radio emission in the merging galaxy clusters Abell 1132 and Abell 1314.
The Role of Ecology in Star and Planet Formation
Megan Reiter, Royal Observatory Edinburgh
Understanding how feedback regulates star and planet formation is one of the outstanding unsolved problems in astrophysics. Stellar feedback affects all astrophysical scales: it shapes the interstellar medium and mass function of galaxies, determines the fragmentation and star formation efficiency of molecular clouds, and plays a central role in the geochemical evolution of terrestrial planets. High-mass stars shape the local star-forming environment – the ecology – via radiation pressure, stellar winds, photoionization, and supernovae. Photoionization is the least explored of these; however, recent numerical work suggests that it dominates the destruction of molecular clouds and planet-forming disks around stars born in clusters. These predictions depend critically on the dynamics of newborn stars and feedback-altered gas, but these quantities are poorly unconstrained. I will talk about two on-going surveys using ALMA, MUE/VLT, and M2FS/Magellan to measure gas and stellar kinematics in order to test the role of environment in shaping the outcome of star and planet formation.
Starless clumps and the earliest phases of high-mass star formation in the Milky Way
Brian Svoboda, NRAO Jansky Fellow
High-mass stars are key to regulating the interstellar medium, star formation activity, and overall evolution of galaxies, but their formation remains an open problem in astrophysics. In order to understand the physical conditions during the earliest phases of high-mass star formation, I will present observational studies we have carried out on dense starless clump candidates (SCCs) that show no signatures of star formation activity. We identify 2223 SCCs from the 1.1 mm Bolocam Galactic Plane Survey, systematically analyse their physical properties, and show that the starless phase is not represented by a single timescale, but evolves more rapidly with increasing clump mass. To investigate the sub-structure in SCCs at high spatial resolution, we investigate the 12 most high-mass SCCs within 5 kpc using ALMA. We find previously undetected low-luminosity protostars in 11 out of 12 SCCs, fragmentation equal to the thermal Jeans length of the clump, and no starless cores exceeding 30 solar masses. While uncertainties remain concerning the star formation efficiency in this sample, these observational facts are consistent with models where high-mass stars form from initially low- to intermediate-mass protostars that accrete most of their mass from the surrounding clump. I will also present on-going research studying gas inflow signatures with GBT/Argus and ALMA, and the dense core mass function with the JVLA.
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