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About Us

If selected for Phase II funding, the Magnetic Fields, Atmospheres, and the Connection to Habitability (MACH) Research Center will do the following:

  • Provide a validated approach and tools for estimating atmospheric escape from any planet
  • Provide long-lived community-wide access to estimates of atmospheric escape that allows for new contributions over time
  • Reveal the role that atmospheric escape played in the divergent climate histories and habitability of Venus, Earth, and Mars
  • Determine whether Earth’s magnetic field is linked to its habitability
  • Provide atmospheric escape rates for rocky exoplanets via all processes that can be compared directly to remote observations
  • Train and mentor the next generation of cross-disciplinary heliophysicists –  from teens through postdocs
  • Respectfully  collaborate and communicate with diverse communities, internally and externally

MACH Center Vision

MACH aims to provide a validated methodology for estimating atmospheric loss from an arbitrary rocky planet that will serve the heliophysics, planetary, and exoplanetary communities

Research Objectives

  • Improve and link models for atmospheric escape from any planet 
  • Use observations to validate models and explore escape physics 
  • Compute stellar inputs to exoplanets and model transit light curves 
  • Build a multi-dimensional model library for atmospheric escape 
  • Develop an interactive web interface for estimating escape rates 
  • Synthesize new understanding of escape and its drivers

Small sections of two planets are shown in the middle. A line divides the two planets. On the left, the planet is Earth-like with lines representing magnetic fields, dots rise from the planet into space on the top of the planet and along the top magnetic field lines. On the right, the planet looks Mars-like with no magnetic field lines, just dots rising from the planet into space from multiple locations but not ordered in anyway.
Cartoon of atmospheric escape processes that MACH studies acting at generic magnetized (left) and unmagnetized (right) planets, with the star in the center. Ion loss (red O+), thermal escape (red H), photochemical escape (magenta O), and sputtering (yellow O2) are depicted. Hydrodynamic escape is not shown. Image developed by CU undergraduate Cameron Pazol through MACH outreach interaction.