Lori’s Job

The Mars Global Digital Dune Database
Published 5/30/2018 in Lori Fenton's Blog Author lfenton
There are a lot of dune fields on Mars. Over the last ten years I've been part of a group that's mapped out the big dark dunes on the planet to see where they form, and to understand the sedimentary and meteorological processes that control their formation. We compiled a database showing their locations and various physical characteristics. Wait, why do piles of sand form in the first place? On Earth, it's because: 1. There's a lot of sand (not a surprise). 2. There's a lot of strong wind (also not a surprise). 3. The sand is free to be moved by the wind.... read more ❯

My 2018 paper on recent climate change in Meridiani Planum, Mars (Part 3)
Published 4/13/2018 in Lori Fenton's Blog Author lfenton
This is the 3rd (and final) entry in a blog series describing a paper I recently published with colleagues in JGR Planets. Here are links to the previous two entries: Part 1, Part 2. Wow, I didn't think this would take 3 entries. Science is weird. You start a project feeling out of your depth, not knowing exactly where it will take you. You stumble around, read a bunch of papers to absorb the wisdom of others, and work up the courage to do things. You struggle mightily in doing those things: making the model run, keeping access to the computer... read more ❯

My 2018 Paper on Recent Climate Change in Meridiani Planum, Mars (Part 2)
Published 4/12/2018 in Lori Fenton's Blog Author lfenton
In a previous post, I set the stage for my recently published paper in JGR Planets. A recap: we've got good evidence for a change in Mars's climate. Widespread ripples in Meridiani Planum formed >200,000 years ago, last migrated westward more than ~50,000 years ago, had their crests reformed into little dunes by a slightly different wind sometime after that, but have been dormant ever since. Meanwhile, we know that over that same time period, Mars' orbit and axial tilt have varied, which can affect wind patterns. Moreover, over this period, those same planetary changes led to a stepwise sequestration of atmospheric... read more ❯

My 2018 paper on recent climate change in Meridiani Planum, Mars (Part 1)
Published 4/11/2018 in Lori Fenton's Blog Author lfenton
Today a big thing happened: a paper I've spent a year or so working on has finally been published in the Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets (which we just call "JGR Planets"). Scientists write a lot of papers, so it's not as momentous as, say, graduating (or watching a student graduate), but it's still a really nice feeling. I can now download a PDF of the paper, look at all the pretty formatting, lovely figures and tables, pages of analysis and what I hope will turn out to be insightful discussion, and say "Yeah, I did that, and with some... read more ❯

The superbloodmoon and nachas
Published 1/31/2018 in Lori Fenton's Blog Author lfenton
I set my alarm for 5:30 this morning. Sometimes I skip lunar eclipses, but I do try to see them if they're total, and if I think the sky might be cloud-free (which it often isn't in the Bay Area of CA, as low-lying marine clouds typically roll in overnight). My 8 year old is into astronomy and heard about the eclipse from one of his favorite Youtube science channels for kids (can't remember the name of it or I'd share - I'll ask him and update later on). Last night he asked me to wake him up, and I... read more ❯

Parental organizational states
Published 10/5/2015 in Lori Fenton's Blog Author lfenton
There are three states of parental organization. I've done all three on occasion, but I do have my tendencies. We all have our way of getting things done. Here they are: 1. Super organized parent: These are the folks who know where every thing is, and everything has its place (you can tell where the place is, because the things are there, in their place). Appointments are made ahead of time, marked on a calendar, all people who should know about said appointments are informed (possibly more than once), and all required attendants show up at said appointments on time. My... read more ❯

Yeah, it was that kind of morning.
Published 9/23/2013 in Lori Fenton's Blog Author lfenton
The new favorite is "A Bushel and a Peck". The first half dozen times it was cute. No, really. read more ❯

New duties
Published 5/4/2012 in Lori Fenton's Blog Author lfenton
Today I became the deputy manager of the Planetary Landscapes Facebook page. Looks like it will be fun, and I hope it won't take up too much time. I do like the idea of sharing all of the beauty of the universe with people out there -- that beauty is a major reason why I do what I do. read more ❯

The things we do for science.
Published 5/2/2012 in Lori Fenton's Blog Author lfenton
I just submitted a review of a very long paper. In science we spend a good amount of time doing "peer review", which means we look over every piece of work to be published by our colleagues to try to help each other present our work as accurately and clearly as possible. It's not something we get paid for, but it's part of what makes science work, so it has to be done. It took me three days to do this review -- it was a really long article. I don't really have three days to spend on something like this.... read more ❯