The SETI Institute colloquiums are free and open to the public, and run from Noon until 1 pm Wednesdays, at the SETI Institute, 515 N. Whisman Road, Mountain View, California.
Jasper Halekas, UC Berkeley Space Sciences Laboratory
The lunar environment, serene and unchanging to the naked eye, seethes with plasma and electromagnetic activity. Plasma, photons, micrometeorites and energetic particles constantly bombard the lunar surface, producing a tenuous exosphere and a dynamic wake region, and charging the surface to electrostatic potentials reaching kilovolts, producing surface electric fields large enough to affect lunar ions and dust. Meanwhile, plasma interacts directly with crustal magnetic fields, producing perhaps the smallest magnetospheres in the solar system.
Dr. Halekas will talk about how the Moon provides an ideal laboratory to study a variety of fundamental physics processes which are both interesting in their own right, and potentially applicable to Mars and other planets in the solar system.