Dr. U

An important part of science is public outreach.  What is the point of making fascinating new discoveries when the general public doesn’t understand them?  I’m working on a project to remedy that.

Using Dr. U in the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Center.

Dr. Universe will be an App that can provide a way for people to ask their space science questions.  It will give them answers by searching its own internal database.

My job is to think about questions people might ask and then look up answers.  So far I have answered more than 11,000 questions just about our solar system!  I have learned so much about the planets.  For example, did you know that winds in Saturn’s upper atmosphere reach 1,091 mph (1,800 km/h)? (In contrast, the strongest hurricane-force winds on Earth top out at about 245 mph, or 396 km/h.)  I knew that the giant planets were windy, but I hadn’t expected anything that fast.

I have now started on stars and galaxies, and it is challenging to try to fit the entire universe into a spreadsheet!  We know so much about the Universe, but this process also really makes you realize how little we are certain of.

Keep an eye for Dr. U; we hope to start doing pilot tests by the end of the year.