Where do we come from? How did our solar system come to be the way it is? Are we alone? By studying the makeup and evolution of Earth, our solar system, and planets orbiting distant stars, Caltech’s astronomers, geologists, planetary scientists, and environmental scientists and engineers are collaborating to tackle these questions. Your support can help Caltech leverage its historic partnership with JPL and unparalleled access to observatories to reveal some of the universe’s greatest mysteries.
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Mars is Earth’s next-door neighbor, yet the Red Planet is utterly alien—frozen, arid, and roiled by massive dust storms. However, this was not always so. Data sent back from Mars, by JPL’s robotic explorers, paint the picture of two planets that once may have been much more similar. Woody Fischer, Caltech professor of geobiology, is helping to decode the history hidden in Mars’ rocky terrain.
HD 187123 b is Cam Buzard’s favorite planet. About 160 light years away in the constellation Cygnus, it circles a star about as massive as our sun—only so close that a year flies by in three days. It weighs more than 150 Earths and sizzles at about 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit.
“You ought to leave the world better than you found it,” engineer Allen Davis was known to say. And he did: Davis, who passed away at age 91 in 2015, left more than $60 million from his estate to Caltech.
In this issue of The Caltech Effect, we explore the notion of familial ties across many dimensions—generations, labs, even the Milky Way.