Every year, members of the Bay Area Planetary Science (BAPS) community meet in a conference-style meeting. Most of the members of BAPS are actively involved in NASA missions, studying the Moon and Mars, as well as the outer solar system. Talks are usually astrophysics- or geology-oriented and are centered around hypotheses and theories pertaining to the formation and evolution of the solar system.

This year, the BAPS conference took place on the University of California, Berkeley campus on Monday, May 23 and students from Skyline College’s Physics and Astronomy Club (PAC) were invited to participate. The goal was to expose them to the newest developments in the field, introduce them to researchers, and potentially offer them opportunities to take part in analyzing data obtained by NASA missions in dedicated projects.

Several students were able to attend despite the conference falling on the first day of Finals week! Jonathan Mariano-Smith, the club president, learned about the Mars Perseverance Rover and the sheer amount of planning needed for a successful mission. Shannon Hoang, an energy engineering major, got the opportunity to visit Berkeley Engineering where she is planning on transferring in the fall. The research presented at BAPS gave her a chance to map out different pathways that her major could possibly lead her to as she focuses on incorporating environmental sciences in her educational career. Brendan Murtagh is a physics major transferring to UC Berkeley in the Fall, and was also able to explore his future campus, in addition to attending BAPS presentations.

Thank you to the BAPS organizer for inviting PAC’s students to attend and learn about the latest developments in planetary science while exploring their future transfer institution!


Article by Emilie Hein, Shannon Hoang, Jonathan Mariano-Smith and Brendan Murtagh



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