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Luisa Lara
Instituto de Astrofísica de Andalucía-CSIC

Dr. Luisa Lara obtained her Ph.D. degree in October 1993 from the University of Granada. Her theses was titled “Photochemical study of Titan’s neutral constituents” developed at the Instituto de Astrofísica de Andalucía (IAA-CSIC) under the supervision of Prof. Rafael Rodrigo. From January 1994 to April 2001, she had several postdoctoral stays at the Observatory of Paris-Meudon (France), Max-Planck Institut für Aeronomy (MPG, Katlenburg-Lindau, Germany), European Space Technology Center (ESTEC-ESA, The Netherlands), and Centro de Astrobiología (CAB, Madrid). Since June 2005, she is a CSIC staff researcher at the IAA. Her scientific activity is mainly devoted to the study of planetary and exoplanetary atmospheres, as well as to the characterization of minor bodies of the Solar System (comets and asteroids) through ground-based, remote and in-situ observations. In these fields, she has published more than 70 articles in refereed journals. She is also involved in astronomy and planetary space missions and space observatories being Co-I of several instruments: the optical cameras OSIRIS on board the Rosetta mission (ESA), the laser altimeter BeLA on board the Bepi-Colombo mission (ESA-JAXA) and the heterodyne instrument HIFI on board the Herschel Space Observatory (ESA). She is currently participating in the scientific definition of missions to the Saturn-Titan System, to the Jupiter System, to a near-Earth asteroid, or to a Main Belt Comet.

Abstract: Planetology from the cm to the nm wavelength ranges: AO, ALMA and IAA-CSIC

In this talk, we will explore some research lines related to planetology in which both Spain (IAA-CSIC) and Puerto Rico could benefit from each other. More concisely, we consider that whereas the study of planetary atmosphere is more promising from the ALMA Observatory, the characterization of minor bodies of the Solar System from the centimeter to the nanometer wavelength range offers a unique opportunity to have an integrated view of these bodies which are seen as the remnants of the early stages of the Solar System. Arecibo Observatory will provide information of the shape of these bodies , i.e. very long scale; ALMA will help us to characterize the surface in terms of composition and roughness, whereas the IR, near-IR and optical wavelengths will mainly shed light on surface composition. For the case of comets, bodies half-way between atmosphere and atmosphere-less, most of the information on their nature has to be obtained through ALMA, IR and optical observatories as the radar echo of a comet nucleus is only viable at short geocentric (detectability goes as Δ-4 ). In the field of geosciences, Mercury is the best candidate for Arecibo’s studies in synergy with IAA-CSIC. Given our involvement in the Bepi Colombo mission (ESA-JAXA), we have been developing the tools for the scientific exploitation of the laser altimetry data and high resolution images. These tools provide us with a method to calculate surface heat flows from the geometry of lobate scarps (the most important tectonic structures on Mercury). Some investigation will have to done in order to apply these methods into the radar images provided by Arecibo, for instance. Related to planet with atmospheres, undoubtedly ALMA will be leading this field given its high sensitivity, and spatial and spectral resolution. We will be able to have a dynamical view of the planetary atmospheres in which the p-T-z, molecular abundances, winds regimen, etc, will be obtained.