UH Moment

UH Moment: Planetary Climates

Jupiter, Saturn and its moon Titan—ancient celestial neighbors providing new information about Earth.

Jupiter, Saturn and its moon Titan—ancient celestial neighbors providing new information about Earth.

"I'm interested in the weather and atmospheric science of other planets," said Liming Li, assistant professor of physics in the University of Houston College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics.

Liming Li Saturn

Research from him and his team of scientists from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory examines the weather and climate of Jupiter, Saturn and its moon Titan and how these can inform those of the Earth. The team is analyzing data collected by the unmanned Cassini spacecraft. They've investigated the seasonal changes of Saturn, the atmosphere of the moon Titan, which is so similar to ancient Earth's, and the infamous Great Red Spot on Jupiter.

"Why can a storm last such a long time?" Li asks. "On Earth, storms, even hurricanes, die, but on Jupiter the storm can last a hundred years. That's amazing. Why?"

Jupiter Saturn

Funded by a grant from NASA's Planetary Science Division, Li and his team hope the study of the various stages of life of our planetary neighbors can inform the past and future atmospheric conditions of our own home planet.

"The point is by studying the weather on other planets we learn something new for our planet," Li said.

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