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10/17/2013 Craters: Useful Tools or Nightmarish Headache?

Published on May 24, 2013

Speaker:Stuart J. Robbins (LASP)
Date:10/17
Time:4:00pm
Location:SPSC W120

Seminar Abstract:

Impact craters have been used for decades for a variety of studies across the solar system, and crater populations have been primarily used to model the ages of planetary surfaces.  While age-modeling has a simple premise (a surface is older if it has more craters, and crater density is calibrated to Apollo and Luna sample returns), the practical application of craters is fraught with caveats, uncertainties, and conflicting models.  In this seminar, I will discuss some of my research over the past few years as a graduate student and postdoc at LASP.  This research has gone from understanding and using crater populations via the creation of the first global crater database of Mars that contains all craters larger than 1 km, to conducting a study with seven other crater analysts and thousands of volunteers to understand the uncertainties in the crater identification and measurement process itself.  I will take you from the certainty of “these are the data, this is the answer” to “can we even say what the data are?” and leave you with some of the key questions that the crater community will seek to address in an upcoming conference in 2015.