NEWS ABOUT THE MARTIAN CLIMATE: A YOUNG ISAE-SUPAERO ENGINEER AT THE HEART OF THE RESEARCH
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Lucas Lange, 24 years old, is pursuing a scientific career with an interest in the Universe Sciences. He is conducting research on frost and ice on Mars. His findings shed light on the planet’s climate.
A graduate engineer in 2021, holder of the Astrophysics Master in Space Sciences and Planetology, Lucas Lange is passionate about space. Supported at ISAE-SUPAERO by the Space Systems for Planetology and its Applications research team, he obtained an internship at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Southern California in 2020. “A culmination, an achievement thanks to the School’s network. An incredible opportunity," he told us.
At NASA, scientist Sylvain Piqueux, his internship mentor, asked him to work on detecting frost on the surface of Mars. “As part of my research, I observed an absence of frost in the dusty areas of Mars which we interpreted as “hidden frost”, he said. The researchers then put forward the hypothesis that this “hidden frost” could explain avalanches of dust on the surface of the red planet, a phenomenon that appears at sunrise. This study led Lucas Lange, supervised by Sylvain Piqueux, to write a scientific article recently published in the Journal of Geophysical Research Planets, a renowned international scientific journal in the field of planetology.
Photo: These dark streaks, also known as "slope streaks," result from dust avalanches on Mars. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UArizona
MARS ON HIS MIND
At the end of his internship at the JPL, Lucas did an end-of-studies internship at the CNRS Laboratory of Dynamic Meteorology to study the evolution of dry ice reservoirs on Mars over the last 50 years. He established a new calibration of all the pressure data from the InSight Mission for future scientific work. This work came to the conclusion that there was an absence of ice melting on Mars. A second scientific paper was published following on this discovery.
These are promising achievements for this young engineer-researcher who is starting a thesis on the impact of Milankovitch cycles, i.e. the variations in the obliquity of the planet, on the Martian climate. Lucas is conducting his research work under the supervision of François forget, research director at the Laboratory of Dynamic Meteorology and member of the Academy of Sciences.
Lucas is heading straight towards a career in the space sector drawn by his passion for planetology "the opportunity of the internship at NASA would never have been possible without the quality of the ISAE-SUPAERO curriculum, the support of the School and the teachers-researchers who believed in me. The fact of having already published two scientific papers is a huge boost for me and for the remainder of my career.”
The Martian adventure continues.
Read the scientific papers:
Gardening of the Martian Regolith by Diurnal CO2 Frost and the Formation of Slope Streaks
InSight Pressure Data Recalibration, and its Application to the Study of Long-Term Pressure Changes on Mars
To read in adition: The scientific contribution of ISAE-SUPAERO researchers to NASA’s Insight mission.
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