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Professor Gretchen Benedix

Pawsey Friday & Interns Poster Session

Pawsey Fridays are opportunities for researchers to showcase their work in an engaging sundowner event. This special February Pawsey Friday will see Professor Gretchen Benedix, a cosmic mineralogist / astro-geologist discuss their intriguing research and use of HPC on Martian Crater Detection.

About the Project

Crater counting is the traditional method of determining the surface ages of planets throughout the solar system. This method, up to now, has gathered data painstakingly counting each crater by hand. The current published database for Mars contains hundreds of thousands of craters for diameters larger than 1km. If we can count craters smaller than this, we will be able to target new areas of interest on Mars or date previously analysed areas with much higher precision.

Manual counting becomes intractable because the rate of impacts on planetary surfaces follows a power law such that the number of small (less than 1km) craters is exponentially higher than the number of large craters (i.e. number in the millions). To count these requires an automated tool. Here we show that we have developed such a tool. We have validated the results against current manual databases. Importantly, and for the first time, we demonstrate that an automated crater counting tool can deliver geologically meaningful ages.

This Pawsey Friday will also showcase the 2019 Summer Interns who will present a poster on their research and experience over the past 10 weeks.

These presentations will be followed by a brief Pawsey update from staff.

A sundowner session will also take place where a selection of drinks and snacks will be available.

Should you have any questions regarding the event, please contact pr@pawsey.org.au.

Registrations are essential:

About Gretchen Benedix

Professor Gretchen Benedix is a cosmic mineralogist / astro-geologist and a Professor of Earth and Planetary Sciences at Curtin University.  She uses the chemistry, mineralogy, spectroscopy and petrology of meteorites to understand the evolution of the Solar System.  She received her PhD in Geology and Geophysics at the University of Hawaii, Manoa in 1997.

She subsequently held a variety of research positions, including at NASA Ames Research Center in Mountain View, Calif. and several universities (Arizona State, Virginia Tech, Washington University) in the US.  She has been lucky enough to work as a researcher in two national Natural History Museums, the Smithsonian in Washington DC and the NHM in London.

She moved from the US to the UK in 2005 to work at the Natural History Museum, and from the UK to Australia in 2012 to work at Curtin University. She has served as a council member as well as a member of several subcommittees of the international Meteoritical Society.

She is currently a member of the Board of the Gravity Discovery Centre in Western Australia and has a continuing visiting scientist position at the Western Australia Museum. Her work has taken her to 6 continents, including Antarctica twice.

She has an asteroid named after her (6579 Benedix), which will never even come close to the Earth.