Follow the water on Mars – to Life?

October 2, 2015

While scientists previously identified ice on Mars, NASA on Monday announced evidence of salty water flowing intermittently on the Red Planet. U geology and geophysics professor Marjorie Chan for years has studied landscapes and geological records on Earth that serve as analogs for those on Mars. More than a decade ago, she studied rocks in southern Utah known as Moqui marbles – round “concretions” that form underground when minerals precipitate from flowing groundwater. She predicted similar rocks would be found on Mars. And NASA’s Opportunity rover indeed found such rocks, which were nicknamed “Martian blueberries.” In the last six years, Chan has led Mars researchers on field trips to Utah sites that may help them understand similar sediments on Mars. With growing evidence of past and present water on Mars, Chan believes the possibility is higher than ever that microbial life may exist today on Mars or be preserved in soils there. Chan is available Oct. 5-9 to discuss water and the possibility of microbial life on Mars.Office 801-581-6551/ Email:

Shrinking Salt Flats?

August 7, 2015

Bonneville Speed Week organizers cancelled the event this year because of the poor condition of the famous salt flats, and racers are worried about the impact of continued potash mining. Scientist Brenda Bowen is leading an effort to identify all of the processes that shape the thickness and condition of the salt crust at the Bonneville Salt Flats. She can talk about the impact of mining, weather, ground water and other factors. Bowen is an associate professor of geology and geophysics and director of the Global Change and Sustainability Center at the U.
Phone: 801-585-5326 | Email:

Pluto flyby

July 13, 2015

Astronomer Ben Bromley is available to discuss NASA’s New Horizons mission and the July 14 Pluto flyby. Bromley studies the physics of the planet formation, and Pluto is the subject of two recent studies he’s co-authored (“Evolution of a Ring around the Pluto-Charon binary” and “The Formation of Pluto’s Low Mass Satellites”). Bromley can provide expert views on what New Horizons may find – and what the mission can tell us about the history of our solar system.
Phone: 801-581-8227 | Email:

Is binge-watching shows like “Orange is the New Black” harmful to your health?

June 19, 2015

Fans of the hit Netflix series “Orange is the New Black” can hardly wait to see what’s in store for the ladies imprisoned at the fictional Litchfield Penitentiary when the show resumes for its third season on June 12. But before you settle into your armchair for a weekend of binge-watching to see what happened in the aftermath of season two, be forewarned: Watching episode after episode can have consequences for your health. Public health advocates point out that binge-watching can lead to some negative health effects, including a stronger likelihood of gaining weight and becoming obese. Too much TV can also increase the chances of weight-related diseases like Type 2 diabetes, and in some cases, can be a sign ofdepression. Robin Marcus, Ph.D., chief wellness officer at University of Utah Health Sciences, can offer commentary on the health pitfalls of when binge-watching becomes too much of a habit. To schedule an interview, contact Libby Mitchell or Marissa Villaseñor at the University of Utah Health Sciences Office of Public Affairs.
Phone: 801-587-0945 | Email:
Phone: 801-581-3102 | Email: