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EPOXI spacecraft records planet data

Research Achievements

EPOXI spacecraft records planet data

The NASA-funded Virtual Planetary Lab (PI: Prof. Meadows, Astronomy) has become a vital part of the research of our IGERT team, involving in particular IGERT students Ty Robinson and Nick Cowan. The chief highlight during the previous year was using the EPOXI spacecraft, now on its way to a comet, to look back at the Earth and record the integrated spectrum of our entire planet as it rotates. These data, allowing inferences about clouds, oceans, and land distribution, have proven invaluable for purposes of modelling the types of crude spectra we might obtain from other very faint and distant Earth-like planets expected to be soon discovered orbiting other stars. One resultant paper, referring to Earth, was titled "Alien maps of an ocean-bearing world."