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Jennifer Whitten has her Goldeneye on Venus

Posted on Mar 31, 2016 by in The OFI Blog |

CEPS post-doctoral fellow, Jennifer Wattins, in front of the Arecibo Telescope

CEPS post-doctoral fellow, Jennifer Whitten, in front of the Arecibo Telescope

Jennifer Whitten current postdoctoral fellow at the Center for Earth and Planetary Studies (CEPS) uses radar data to study the surface geology of Venus, Mars, and the Moon.

During her time at the Smithsonian, she had the opportunity to experience a 10-day observation trip about Venus in which she used a 305 meter (1,000 feet) wide telescope to take measurements of Venus. Yes, 1,000 feet, just about double the height of the Washington Monument. The Arecibo Observatory is actually the largest single-dish telescope in the world and was even featured in the James Bond movie, Goldeneye!

For her research on Venus, she analyzed radar data collected by the Magellan Mission, a spacecraft that orbited Venus in the early 1990s, and the Arecibo Telescope. Here she focused on the distribution of crater ejecta, the material ejected while a crater is being formed on Venus.


The Arecibo Telescope

While on the 10 day observation, Jennifer worked on repeating measurements of Venus to help produce a high resolution view of the planet. Fortunately, the observation run was a success!

To learn about Jennifer’s story, check out her blog on the NASM website here.