(1) Poster Title: Assessing the Variability of candidate Thorne-Zytkow Objects
Presenter: Anna O’Grady
Thorne-Zytkow objects are a hypothetical subclass of red giants or red supergiants that contain neutron stars inside their convective envelopes. Supergiant TZOs are formed either from a close binary system undergoing common envelope evolution after one companion has exploded as a supernova or by an asymmetric supernova kicking a neutron star into its RSG companion. Confirming the existence, frequency, and a lifetime of TZOs would provide useful constraints on binary evolution. Photometrically TZOs strongly resemble RSGs, but one strong candidate has been identified in the Small Magellanic Cloud by Levesque+2014 through spectroscopic analysis. The candidate, HV2112, has very strong photometric variability and an unusual light curve. We have carried out a systematic search for HV2112-like variability in the Clouds, identifying ~10 new candidates amongst millions of stars. In this poster, we present the results from our survey, including a detailed analysis of the pulsations, physical parameters and intrinsic nature of these sources.
About the Presenter:
I’m a 3rd-year graduate student at the Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics and Dunlap Institute at the University of Toronto. I received my Bachelor of Science (Physics and Applied Mathematics) from Memorial University of Newfoundland. My interests in astronomy include massive tar
evolution, eruptive stellar behaviour, variable stars, and transients. I’m particularly interested in how eruptive and variable behaviour in massive stars interacts with mass loss, dust production, and their eventual fates as supernovae.
(2) Poster Title: BioGrade Yeast: Biomanufacturing with Antifreeze-Yeast on Mars
Presenter: Patricia Rea
Future Mars colonists will need to independently produce materials and food. Genetically engineered yeast has been proven to be an effective biofactory. It is relatively fast-growing, lightweight for space travel and has a high yield. However, if there is an environmental failure within their developed biosphere it would be catastrophic for colonists. Having a system that puts cells in a form of stasis, only pausing growth and material production, allows for the cells to continue growing once the correct conditions are restored, making it safer and more efficient for human colonization. Thus, the purpose of this project is to see if Saccharomyces cerevisiae (S. cerevisiae/yeast) can be genetically engineered to
express Antifreeze proteins (AFPs) and if AFPs will produce a survival advantage in extreme cold. Through this experimentation, the survival rates of the two AFPs both suggest a survival advantage, sbwAFP suggesting a short term advantage, and Zvafp13 suggesting a long term advantage for yeast cells. This research builds on work conducted last year, where S. cerevisiae was engineered with green fluorescent protein GFP) and tested for survival in varying temperatures.
About the Presenter:
Patricia Rea is a Grade 8 student and a Silver Medalist at the 2019 Canada Wide Science Fair, where she also received the RASC’s Excellence in Astronomy Award and the junior Discovery Award for her research on antifreeze proteins. Patricia is a junior editor of the book Zero to Genetic Engineering Hero and is focused on applying her synthetic biology skills to astrobiology.
(3) Poster Title: Juan Geuer’s Art – An Accolade to the Dominion Observatory
Presenter: Sharon Odell
Recent attention has been placed on Juan Geuer’s career in art and science after his passing in 2009. He is best known now for his scientific contributions within the Ottawa community, however, he also was once the Dominion Observatory’s head draftsman employed by Director Dr. Carlyle Smith Beals. This presentation provides a review of the latest Ottawa Art Gallery exhibition “Carbon + Light: Juan Geuer’s Luminous Precision” which is on display now from 9 March until 18 August 2019. Also, it analyzes his artwork specifically created for the Dominion Observatory, which is famously exhibited within its walls today. These contemporary masterpieces, reflect Geuer’s great passion for not only the sciences of Astronomy and Seismology, as well as the great respect he had for the Dominion Observatory itself.
(4) Poster Title: SpaceX Texas Update
Presenter: Eric Briggs
On two separate trips in late 2018 and early 2019, two testing facilities for Space Exploration Technologies Corp. were visited.
During a work-related visit to the Rio Grande Valley in Texas, Boca Chica Beach on the Gulf of Mexico coast was investigated. At that location on the Mexican frontier SpaceX was preparing a rocket test facility for their new staged-combustion methane-oxygen Raptor engines. SpaceX plans to eventually build and fly the ‘Starship’ fully reusable rocket design at Boca Chica. A comparison of work in progress between October 2018 and the present day is made.
During a work-related visit to the Dallas area in January of 2019 a visit was made to the edge of the former Bluebonnet Ordnance Plant in McGregor, TX. SpaceX has used the McGregor facility for research and development of rocket engines including Raptor and Merlin, and testing of completed rocket stages before launch from California or Florida. Merlin is the gas-generator kerosene-oxygen engine used in the well-known Falcon 9 launch vehicle.
SpaceX is operating other facilities in Hawthorne and Long Beach, California, and at the launch complexes on the east and west coasts. Brief comparisons are made between these facilities.