Climate change in outer space? Saturn in the spotlight

Prof. Mark Smith - Contributed photo
Prof. Mark Smith
— image credit: Contributed photo

Can climate change on Saturn offer insights into changes on earth? Professor Mark Smith believes it can.

Smith, dean of Science at University of Houston, will present an early Arthur Whiteley Winter Lecture at 7 p.m., Friday, Nov. 16, in the UW Friday Harbor Labs commons.

A former professor of Planetary Science at the University of Arizona, Smith focused his early work on the mechanisms whereby molecules are formed in the extreme outreaches of the galaxy. With the advent of NASA’s Cassini mission to Saturn, Smith and his research team developed techniques to study the chemistry of carbon, which is integral to life.

One outcome is the realization that non-human induced climate change can take place over a short period of time in certain atmospheres.

The Whitely lecture series is sponsored by San Juan Nature Institute in collaboration with Friday Harbor Labs. Admission is free; donations accepted. Info, 378-3646, or



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