Colorado

Jan 12, 2010 1:33 PM by Bea Karnes, News First 5

Planet hunters, other projects bring fame to CU

Aerospace engineering students at the University of Colorado are hunting for new planets.

Geology students are studying the loss of ice in the Arctic.

Over in the physics department, students are involved with the Large Hadron Collider.

These are three of seven projects that landed CU-Boulder in Discover Magazine's Top 100 Science Stories for 2009.

Two of the top stories published in this month's issue were based entirely on CU-Boulder research:

* CU-Boulder geography Professor Mark Serreze and his team studied dwindling Arctic sea ice and its outlook for the future by monitoring the loss of Arctic sea ice from 1979 to 2009, an area roughly equal in size to all of the U.S. states east of the Mississippi River.

* Research Associate Oleg Abramov and Professor Stephen Mojzsis of CU-Boulder's geological sciences department studied the massive bombardment of Earth nearly 4 billion years ago by asteroids as large as Kansas. The pair discovered that not only would the bombardment not have had the firepower to extinguish potential early life on the planet, it may even have given it a boost by providing subsurface habitats for microbes to survive.

Here's a complete list of CU-Boulder research cited by Discover:

No. 8 -- New planet-hunting efforts
No. 28 -- The MESSENGER mission to Mercury
No. 60 -- Arctic warming
No. 67 -- Water vapor jets on Enceladus, a moon of Saturn
No. 77 -- Early bombardment of Earth by asteroids
No. 86 -- The Large Hadron Collider
No. 100 -- The Hubble Space Telescope repair mission

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