Adopt A Scientist

Cynthia Phillips


Interested in doing science from the comfort of an ergonomic office chair? Join Cynthia to learn how those amazing “pretty pictures” of the planets that grace calendars and press releases are actually made.

She’ll teach you some of the secrets of image processing that she’s used to make some of the most popular images of Io and Europa – images that you’ll recognize from the cover of Science magazine and numerous calendars, T-shirts, textbooks, and other locales. Depending on your interest, you can pick your favorite place in the solar system (Cynthia’s an expert on the Galilean satellites but can accommodate interests in Mars or other solar system bodies) and create your own unique mosaic from raw images to develop a one-of-a-kind product.

You’ll use the same software tools as the pros, and your final mosaic will be scientifically accurate. Then, you and Cynthia will analyze your final product using Cynthia’s skills in planetary geology and remote sensing. Who knows, you might make an amazing scientific discovery in the

An expert in processing spacecraft images of the planets, Cynthia Phillips is particularly interested in the search for active geological processes on such worlds as Mars, Europa, Io, and Enceladus. Regions of current, ongoing geological activity are particularly germane from an astrobiological perspective because they could represent locations where liquid water could be present today. Such active regions are also places where material from underneath could be brought up to the surface, where it’s much easier for scientists to detect using either remote sensing techniques or landed spacecraft.

Cynthia has compared the images taken of Jupiter’s moons Europa and Io by the Galileo and Voyager spacecraft to search for any changes that may have occurred on their surfaces. In the case of Europa, which is believed to have a mammoth, liquid ocean beneath its icy surface, active regions would pinpoint locations where liquid water is located close to the crust. Such areas would be important targets for a future Europa spacecraft mission, and perhaps one day could be landing sites. While she has not yet found any such active regions on Europa, Cynthia continues to search the Galileo dataset. She has also used her detection techniques to document ongoing volcanic activity on Jupiter’s pizza-like moon, Io.

For more information on how to adopt this scientist
Please call us toll free at 1-888-370-2881 and ask for Karen Randall.