Planetary scientist Myriam Telus wins NSF CAREER Award

Myriam Telus
Myriam Telus

Myriam Telus, assistant professor of Earth and planetary sciences at UC Santa Cruz, has received a Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Award from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to support her research on the atmospheres of rocky exoplanets.

In her laboratory, Telus analyzes the gases released from pristine meteorite samples when they are heated in a high-temperature furnace. Meteorites are left over rocky material from the early stages of planet formation, and Telus’s analyses provide clues to the initial composition of the atmospheres of rocky planets. The early atmospheres of rocky planets are thought to form mostly from gases released as a result of intense heating within the planet’s interior.

“Meteorites provide a unique way to link the initial makeup of atmospheres to the ingredients that went into building planets,” Telus said. “This connection is important because exoplanets are not easily observed by telescopes; the main window into these other worlds is through their atmospheres.”

The NSF CAREER Award will support Telus’s work to perform meteorite outgassing analyses that will be helpful for interpreting exoplanet observations. The results will be relevant for rocky planets, including those around sun-like stars, those that formed in more oxidizing conditions, hot rocky planets, and those that experience open-system conditions. This research can provide foundational data for observing, modeling, and interpreting the atmospheric signatures of exoplanets.

Telus, who joined the UCSC faculty in 2017, also received a NASA Early Career Award in 2020.