Author Archive

Cassini-Huygens: 20-Year Mission Accomplished

On October 15th, 1997, the $3 billion spacecraft went on a seven year, two-billion-mile journey to study the planet Saturn along with its moons and rings. After arriving at the Saturnian system, Cassini deployed the 700-pound Huygens probe to its largest moon, Titan. At 100 miles above the surface the aerosol collector pyrolizer (ACP) and […]

Philae: Goodnight but Not Goodbye. Unlocking the Origins of Life: Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko

On September 28th, 1969 a bright fireball exploded, shaking houses as it lit up the daytime sky outside of Murchison, Australia. Over the next forty-five years scientists have studied the Murchison Meteorite and found 14,000 compounds to include 92 different amino acids. Of the amino acids discovered, only 19 are found on earth. This rock, […]

Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko: Data from Rosina.

While anxiously waiting for data from the COSAC (Cometary Sampling and Composition Experiment) aboard the Philae lander, we turn to some of the information that has already been sent by the Rosetta’s Rosina (Rosetta Orbiter Spectrometer for Ion and Neutral Analysis) instrument.  While sampling the comet’s coma they have found carbon dioxide in nearly the […]

Catching a Comet Traveling at 40,000 Miles per Hour

In 1993 the International Rosetta Mission was approved and over the next 21 years an estimated 1 billion Euros was invested in an audacious plan to catch a comet. On March 3rd, 2004 a European Ariane 5 rocket propelled the Rosetta on a ten year mission to orbit a comet.  While there have been 6 […]

Summer Vacation: Newport Naval Superfund Site

This is a continuation of my summer series for fun places to visit that also provide a glimpse into the history of chemical waste in America. In our first installment of summer vacations we were headed to Niagara Falls, New York and stopped along the way to visit Love Canal; probably the most well-known hazardous […]

Book Review: Echoes of Life: What Fossil Molecules Reveal about Earth History.

The year 1936 marks the beginning of organic geochemistry. It started with Alfred Treibs’ discovery of porphyrins in petroleum; compounds that closely resemble chlorophylls in plant matter. Another 25 years would pass before scientists recognized that these compounds, known as biomarkers, could reveal insights into the evolution of plants and animals spanning a time frame […]

The Future of Science is Bright: USA Science and Engineering Festival

The 3rd biannual USA Science and Engineering Festival was held last week and was expected to bring in over 300,000 people with 3000 activities, 750 vendors to include 50 colleges and universities. Their mission is to re-invigorate the interest of our nation’s youth in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) by producing and presenting the […]

Column Bleed & Septa Bleed – Same Old Thing!

On a seminar trip I was confronted with describing why septa bleed and column bleed are different. My canned answer is that septa bleed has a base peak of m/z 73 and column bleed has a base peak of m/z 207 and we can prove this with a GC-MS. Keep in mind that both column […]

Leak Checking Your GC: Leak Detector or Pressure Decay?

There are a variety of techniques for making sure your GC system is leak tight. Senior Technical Service Specialist Tom Bloom discusses different approaches for leak checking using leak detectors or a pressure decay test 1. Scott Grossman’s article, “How Much Sensitivity is Needed in a Leak Detector?” demonstrates the sensitivity of the Restek Leak Detector […]

From the Front Lines: Waging War on Bugs.

In 1901 the bacterium Bacillus theringiensis (Bt) was found to be lethal to silkworms and soon after it was introduced as a pesticide for moths (order Lepidoptera). It was not until 1956 that the method of toxicity of this protein was understood by researchers and by 1961 the pesticide was commercially used in the United […]