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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Wild Briefs

    Methane Lakes Found on Saturn’s Moon

    NASA’s Cassini spacecraft has discovered lakes on Saturn’s moon, Titan, which are believed to be full of methane.

    Many dark, irregular shapes resembling lakes were captured on radar imagery that was taken July 22 during a flyby of Titan, said Jonathan Lunine, Cassini interdisciplinary scientist and professor of planetary science and physics at the UA.

    “”We are 80 to 90 percent sure some lakes are full of methane,”” Lunine said.

    The lakes are believed to be full of methane because the temperature of the moon is the temperature at which methane would liquefy and not yet freeze. Also, the presence of methane lakes would explain the high levels of methane in Titan’s atmosphere, Lunine said.

    “”Methane was first seen in Titan’s atmosphere in 1943 by Gerard P. Kuiper, who, 16 years later, founded the UA Lunar and Planetary Laboratory and Department of Planetary Sciences,”” Lunine said.

    Ever since Kuiper’s discovery, scientists have been trying to discover the source of the methane, which was a major goal of the Cassini mission, Lunine said.

    The lakes were discovered near the north pole of Titan, approximately 70 degrees north of the equator, Lunine said.

    Empty lakes were discovered south of the equator, which suggests that a long time ago, there was a lot more methane present on Titan, Lunine said.

    In October, another radar flyby by Cassini will occur a little more north than the last one in the hopes of finding more lakes, Lunine said.

    The Cassini-Hughes Mission is a collaboration between NASA, the European Space Agency and the Italian Space Agency.

    Heavy rains cause flood damage on campus

    Because of the heavy rains Saturday, flood damage occurred in 15 areas around campus, with the most severe damage in the Arizona Daily Wildcat office, where both drywall and carpeting will have to be replaced, said Chris Kopach, Associate Director of Facilities Management.

    Once the buildings have been dried to prevent mold, Facilities Management will begin replacing the drywall and carpet, which is a process that normally takes two weeks, Kopach said.

    The flooding in the Wildcat office occurred due to the architecture of Park Student Union, which didn’t channel rainwater away from the building fast enough to stop water from leaking under the door, Kopach said.

    Currently, Facilities Management is placing sandbags around the Wildcat office as a short-term preventative measure against future flooding, but in the future, Facilities Design and Construction will have to redesign some of the handicap ramps to prevent flooding, Kopach said.

    Although there has been an unusually high amount of rain this summer, past preventative measures taken by Facilities Management, such as sealing windows and roofs, has stopped a lot of other major flooding from occurring this summer, Kopach said.

    Facilities Management has also installed more drains in the Manuel T. Pacheco Integrated Learning Center last year and a “”speed hump”” outside of the McKale Center this year to prevent water from flooding the building, Kopack said.

    “”We have seen a lot worse, but Facilities Management has done an excellent job at eliminating water damage in putting a great flood prevention maintenance plan in place,”” Kopach said.

    No cost estimates are currently available for the damage, but the costs will be covered by State of Arizona Risk Management Insurance, Kopach said.

    New Director of Stewardship and donor programs

    The UA Foundation has named Lori Hoby as director of stewardship and donor programs at the UA Foundation.

    Before her new position, Hoby was associate director for Planned Giving with the UA Foundation for five years, Hoby said.

    “”I am enthusiastic about assisting the new leadership of The University of Arizona Foundation and the development staff to ensure exemplary and personalized stewardship to donors,”” Hoby said.

    Hoby is a CPA in Arizona and Oregon and was in public accounting for 25 years.

    The UA Foundation is a nonprofit corporation that is in charge of all fund development, asset and relationship management, and facilitates the financing of university development on behalf of the UA, according to the UA Foundation Web site.

    Hoby will work with donor clubs and will oversee donor recognition as part of the newly created position, said UA Foundation spokesman Rodney Campbell.

    UA assistant professor wins prestigious NSF award

    Janet M. Wang Roveda received the prestigious Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE) in a ceremony at the White House last Wednesday.

    Roveda, assistant professor in electrical and computer engineering, was one of 20 PECASE award winners chosen from the 350-400 assistant professors who had received grants from the National Science Foundation’s Faculty Early Career Program(CAREER), according to the NSF Web site.

    In addition to the $400,000 CAREER Award she received, Roveda will receive an addition $100,000 from the PECASE award, Roveda said.

    Roveda said she is working on the design and modeling of nanometer-scaled circuits that will have future bio-applications.

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