Lost in Spaces: Updates on Writing

There isn’t a lot to report. I’m in the processes of writing (my first draft of manuscript thesis chapter). There was a little shuffling since our last meeting because I reworked the outline of my manuscript.

  • Introduction (last week/done)
  • Methods (this week/in progress)
  • Results (next week/results in progress)
  • Conclusions (First week of May)

That puts me about a week behind when I had reported to finish last time. That said, I was leaving a week to prepare for Titan meeting so there was wiggle room. I’m on track now, but I do fear a slight lag of ~1/2 week.

For next week, there a couple results I’m still working on.  The first is more tedious than anything. We have 30 new craters that’ll look pretty much like Figure (1). It’ll look like this, but I’ll be making some changes. First, I’ll move the figure from word to Photoshop (to maximize image quality). Then there will be some shifting of the crater images and the labels within it. I’m thinking names/labels in top left of each square with certainty at the top right. Before that, I’ll reorder them to be from largest to smallest (in diameter). Right now, they are biggest to smallest, but they are separated into my and Catherine’s crater findings. This will probably take a few hours but hopefully not more than that.

Figure 1: 30 New craters found on Titan. Certainty from 1 to 4 (1 being certain 4 being possible). Image is being edited and improved.

After that, the next biggest change I need to complete is to measure the depths of craters relative to the average depths of the local topography (Figure 2). There are two ways of doing this, (1) arbitrarily assigning some height by eyeballing it, or (2) take an average on either side of the crater. I’ll be doing the 2nd unless otherwise told otherwise.
This won’t be too difficult. I’ve already got the main code done. What I need to do is make some tweaks. First, I need to change the part of data I pull to extend further outside the crater. You can see in Figure 2 that the topography doesn’t extend to the same width of the RADAR image we use to visualize the crater (~3x that of crater D). I’m thinking using somewhere between 100km and 200km on either side. Hopefully, we have enough data and that does a good job averaging. It’ll be easier to define a set difference than assigning a length (which may be needed due to possible anomalies in local topography). If it is that simple, then it won’t be hard to process all 15 craters again (Figure 3) because the hardest part is assigning boundaries (which are hard to find in the more obscure craters) to search for the rim which I have saved (in an excel doc) for the craters I’ve already done. That also defines the crater floor, so all necessary steps will be done.

Figure (2): The topography profile that goes through the center of Selk crater (80km), plotted along the same longitudinal axis as the RADAR image. The depth (d) is measured (blue dashed line) by measuring the distance from the upper most rim position and the lowest floor position (black circle) on the left and right of the crater, then averaged. The depth is again measured (dL) by subtracting from a localized average topography on either side (green dotted line).


I’ll be updating the comparative plot between Ganymede and Titan (Figure 3) with stereo data and using the local topography to find the depths. The plot is easy, the hardest (but still easy) part will be finding the depths from the local topography of Ganymede, but that just uses the rim heights so it shouldn’t be too bad.

Figure 3: The depths of Ganymede’s craters as measured by Bray et al. (2012) (black diamonds) and Schenk (2002) (black dashed line). Compared to Titan’s craters using SARTopo data (red circles), and eventually stereo data (blue x’s). Then I’ll plot the depths measured from the rim height and depths measured from the local topography in separate plots.

Continue reading Lost in Spaces: Updates on Writing

LPSC and a Race to the Finish

LPSC was an amazing experience. The best part was probably being able to experience to interact with people I know (see the cover photo of Kevin, Gavin, Jeff, and me). And, I say that as more than a matter of just socializing (although it was great getting to catch up with Kevin!). Going to this and running into people I know really affected how I perceived my own sense of belonging to the community in a way that changed the entire experience for me. Other than that, I had an oral presentation and I think it went rather well. My favorite session was probably the Pluto session. My first LPSC was brand new Pluto data, and it’s fascinating how much things have changed over the last two years. Of course, I really enjoyed the Titan and Cassini sessions. Although, I was really caught up in my own presentation during those sessions. I haven’t sat down and reviewed my notes, but I should review my thoughts on the things I saw.

With the recent acceptance into Western’s PhD program (yay), there is more pressure to finish writing my master thesis for my defense at the end of the summer to ensure I make it into the PhD program in September. With that in mind, I think an itinerary for the summer is in order.

First up is the month of April.

My focus this month is on the first draft of my manuscript for my thesis and paper. The current outline/plan is as follows:

  • Intro stuff (April 6th) (although I’m not sure if this is necessary if I have a ch1 intro already)
    • Discuss Cassini Data and Titan data and Titan overview (as it relates to impact craters) and a Crater Population overview
    • This is to be done by the end of this week (April 6th). I think the Crater Population overview is the main focus for the week.
  • Crater Population (April 13th)
    • Discuss new craters, the radar imagery and then present a complete tabular data review
    • Discuss the distribution (quantifying spatially) and present updated calculations on surface ages
    • Meet with Catherine, discuss final list and review SARTopo depth data
  • Morphology (April 19th)
    • This involves finalizing sartopo data set (ensuring right rim positions and determine whether all craters used should be used)
    • Gather data for stereo and altimetry (from past sources)
      • compare in depth and diameter and in discussion
    • Each week is planned for Monday-Tuesday writing with Wednesday-Friday free to finalize this topo data and do an analysis of resolution limitations. And that also gives ample time during the rest of the week to catch up if I don’t finish during the first two days of each week.
  • Global Degradation (April 23rd)
    • Depth to Diameter plot and discussion on implications for Titan’s surface
      • easy plot to update with previous week data completed
  • Future Work and Conclusions (April 23rd)
    • Chapter 3?
  • With room to review over weekend and beginning of following week before sending to Catherine for edits.

My May schedule begins to be more hectic and will become more defined as I get a better idea of what my final chapter will be.

My idea of chapter 3 is as follows:

  • Opportunity for future work
    • high-resolution ISS map
    • Dragonfly
    • Landscape evolution modelling
  • Conclusions
    • Summary of crater distribution, morphologies, and the state of Titan’s surface

Really, this is maybe 4 pages of double-spaced work, maybe 5? I don’t really understand how this constitutes a chapter unto itself or how I make it independent.

That said, my May schedule and plan is as follows:

  • May 1-8 prepare updated/final presentation for Titan Surface Meeting*
    • This will be the starting template for master defense presentation
  • Write review opportunities with ISS map and Dragonfly (May 15th)
  • Make any other edits to chapter 1 and crater population of manuscript/ ch2 (May 18th)
  •  Visit Mother May 21-24
    • unlikely to have time to write/edit
  • Visit Dad starting May 25th*
    • Landscape evolution and conclusion (May 28th)
    • Edits to Morphology (May 29th-May 30th)
    • Edits to Global Degradation (May 30th-31st)

Okay, with that outlined, I’ll elaborate on the starred/bolded points. First off, the Titan Surface Meeting is May 9-11. I received notice that I will get my housing and travel covered. I was planning on driving, and I’ll probably be given a room with a local grad student (because I was the only male to receive the travel award and they would have to buy a room for just me). I expect the presentation to be mostly like LPSC with more finalized tabular results, and a depth/diameter plot that compares different topographies with my final take away points listed. This will allow for final comments, suggestions and points for me as I approach my defense.

I’m visiting my mom in mid to late May and do not expect to be free to work those four days. Then I will be visiting my dad right after. I did not initially intend to stay so long. I had to cordinate with my mom, and the timing just made more senses to stay until AbGradCon rather than travel back to london then back to Atlanta (my dad is in Jacksonville). Then I got this huge last second news that my dad is getting married on June 2nd. The timing does work out. My current schedule leaves me with just the final summary of the chapter 3 (may require more work prior to trip if I have underestimated Chapter 3) and edits during the trip. I feel like this schedule is managable, but it is my goal to get the hardest part done BEFORE my trip. Comments and suggestions are welcomed.

For the AbGradCon, I have recieved notice that I will have a poster (impact craters on Titan which I’ll tie to dragonfly and Catherine’s paper in review). I am also getting registration and lodging covered.

I said I could cover flight (and possibly lodging with friends) but they gave me what I hoped for, which was a a comfortable conference expereince. I have registered and made the request for my room (with roommate). The poster, I would rather work on while traveling. I have friends at Tech who can help me get it printed for ~$15 or less on campus. That’s just a lower priority, and I’d like to be able to put that second to revisions and writing.

With that, June becomes a little less hectic than May:

  • AbGradCon June 4th-8th (return morning of the 9th)
  • Ch 1 Edits (if needed) (June 11th)
  • Reedits Ch 2 (June 15th)
  • Edits Ch 3 (June 20th)
  • Science of Early Life (McMaster University) June 24th-June 27th
    • using same poster as AbGradCon
  • Final read through (June 28-29th)

Then July becomes Thesis defense prep

  • Make Presentation July 2-6
  • Edit/Practice Presentation (July 9-13th)
  • Do what July 16-27th?
  • Defend July 30th, 31st?

I know there is more to my defense than presenting it to the public. I need to be prepared to defend it to the committee. Topics to review (to what level?) last couple weeks:

  1. Impact Cratering (9th-11th)
    1. Impact Crater Mapping
    2. Formation Mechanics
    3. Modification (relaxation and erosion)
      1. Landscape Evolution
        1. aeolian (dune processes)
        2. fluvial (rain, river, lake processes)
  2. Icy Moon Structure (Titan vs others) (12th-13th)
    1. tools for defining
    2. implications on impact cratering
    3. differences and comparing
  3. Titan Ionosphere and Atmosphere (and how they interact on a physical level) (16th-18th)
    1. Chemistry review (tholin production…chemical processes)
      1. understanding of early earth atmosphere
    2. Interaction with methane, water, and atmosphere
    3. Implications for life?
  4. Cassini (19th-20th)
    1. Mission life
    2. Instruments
      1. Detailed understanding of radar and making of sartopo (I think I’m still lacking this)

One last thing (summer outreach)

I’m not planning on participating in Fake Space Camp, but I would like to do outreach this summer. Last year I presented twice to the Cronyn Observatory public nights (on Saturdays May-August), and I really enjoyed it. I would like to do that again this year. I have several presentation ideas lined up that will take a little prep work, but will be a fun easy discussion with the public about icy moons, Saturn, Cassini, and astrobiology (i.e. my interests).

I’ve actually got more than ideas, I’ve got an out line for 6 different (sometimes lightly overlapping) presentations. Heres a list of ideas and outlines just because I happened to already have thought about it.

  • A voyage through the solar system (and our place in the solar system)
    1. The sun
    2. Mercury
    3. Venus
    4. Earth and the moon
    5. Mars and its moons
    6. Jupiter
    7. Jupiters moons (galilean)
    8. Saturn
    9. Saturns rings and moons
    10. Uranus and its moons
    11. Neptune and its moons
    12. Pluto nad Charon
    13. Keiper Belt and the Orrt Cloud

This is similar to existing presentations, I would restructure it a bit to make it my own or just use an old one.

  • Life in the solar system
  1. What is life? (and stuff for life)
  2. Life on Earth
  3. Life on Mars
    1. Viking Lander
  4. Europa
  5. Titan
  6. Search for life in the Universe
  7. Kepler mission
  8. SETI
  9. Contact plug

This is a ppt I have from last year.

  • Remembering Cassini (a year later)
  1. History
  2. Launch
  3. Arrival
    1. probe to titan
  4. Life span
    1. Studying Saturn
    2. Visiting Titan and Enceladus
    3. Other Moons and the Rings
  5. End of Mission
    1. Playing iconic end of mission clip from youtube (bring speaker)
  6. Inspirations for future missions
    1. Titan
    2. Enceladus

A new presentation to talk about Cassini and its ending

  • Titan: the most unique moon in the solar system
  1. Location (Saturnian system)
  2. Cassini
  3. previous expectations
  4. Huygens probe findings
  5. Atmosphere
  6. Structure compared to other icy moons
  7. Surface (and processes)
  8. Chemistry and Life
  9. Dragonfly (proposed lander/quadcopter)

Talking about Titan

  • Europa: finding life on an ocean world
  1. Icy moons (an explanation)
  2. Galilean satellites
  3. Tidal forces and liquid ocean
  4. Similarities to Enceladus
  5. Ingredients for life
  6. Europa flyby
  7. Europa Lander
  8. Tests for life
  9. Reality check (on finding life and a Europa Lander)

Talking about Europa

  • Telescopes and satellites: how astronomers study the universe
  1. History lesson
    1. prior to Galileo and Galileo
    2. Galileo to now
  2. Modern Telescopes (amateur astronomy)
  3. Ground Based Telescopes (examples. abilities and limitations)
  4. Space Telescopes (examples, abilities and limitations)
  5. Types of light
    1. explaining what it we are detecting
  6. Rovers, Satellites, and probes
    1. Rovers
    2. Satellites and probes (with examples)
    3. Notable missions
      1. Voyager
      2. Galileo
      3. Cassini
      4. New Horizons, Juno and more

Inspired, I think, by the chapter in the Encyclopedia of the Solar System.

  • Icy moons and Ocean Worlds
  1. Earth
  2. Mars
  3. Icy moons
  4. Ceres and Vesta
  5. Europa
  6. Enceladus
  7. Titan
  8. ??

[see last year ppt; would overlap with titan and europa talks]