Agee Black Beauty
Carl Agee, director and curator, UNM’s Institute of Meteoritics, and a team of researchers, identified a new class of Martian meteorite that fell to Earth and likely originated from the planet’s crust and surface environment. Photo credit: Steve Carr

Annually, the University Communication and Marketing (UCAM) Department compiles a list of its Top-10 Research News stories from the University of New Mexico during the course of the year. Below is the list of UNM's Top-10 Research News stories for 2013. The stories are listed in chronological order.

Ancient Water-rich Meteorite Linked to Martian Crust
While the Mars' Rovers continue to scour the surface of the Red Planet snapping pictures, zapping rocks and looking at any other clues about its composition, researchers at the UNM’s Institute of Meteoritics have made what could be a once in a lifetime discovery right here on Earth involving a rock delivered by an interplanetary free-ride from Mars. Led by Carl Agee, director and curator, UNM’s Institute of Meteoritics, a team of researchers, have identified a new class of Martian meteorite that fell to Earth and likely originated from the planet’s crust and surface environment.

UNM, Rice Researchers Document the Velocity of Censorship
Censors at Sina Weibo, a Chinese website similar to Twitter, work with amazing speed and efficiency concludes UNM Assistant Professor of Computer Science Jed Crandall and Rice University Professor of Computer Science and Electrical Engineering Dan Wallach in a research paper titled, "The Velocity of Censorship: High-Fidelity Detection of Microblog Post Deletions.”

Researchers Find Massive Impacts Dispersed Chlorine, Helped Make Earth Habitable
Life as we know it may not have existed if the Earth wasn’t repeatedly bombarded by massive planetary bodies more than 4 billion years ago according to new research conducted by scientists at the University of New Mexico and NASA Johnson Space Center. The results of the massive collisions indicate that much of Earth’s supply of chlorine was blown away creating a habitable environment suitable for the existence of complex forms of life – including humans.

Researchers Find Connection with Global Warming and Increased Monsoonal Precipitation
New research by scientists at UNM suggests that future warming may lead to above average monsoonal moisture. While that sounds like a ray of sunshine especially to farmers in arid regions, the extra moisture is likely to be counterbalanced by increased evaporative loss. In a paper published recently by Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) the scientists, including UNM’s Yemane Asmerom and Victor Polyak, and others, document extended drought and pluvial (wet) cycles over the past 1,500 years.

Tracking Hallucinations in the Brain
What happens in your brain when you hear voices that aren’t there?  What happens when you see things that no one else sees around you?  People with some mental illnesses struggle every day to separate reality from hallucinations and it appears those hallucinations trigger activity in specific parts of the brain. UNM Distinguished Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering Vince Calhoun is leading a research group that is asking those questions.

Mind Research Network and UNM Introduce ‘Brain Safe’ Project to Understand and Minimize Concussions on NCAA Athletes
The nonprofit Mind Research Network (MRN) has partnered with the University of New Mexico (UNM) to introduce Brain Safe, an innovative, state-of-the-art sports-related concussion assessment program designed to study and minimize the impact of brain injury on NCAA athletes in contact sports.

Researchers Study Chimpanzee Community to Learn About Ancient Food Sources
New research led by UNM Assistant Professor of Anthropology Sherry V. Nelson examines carbon and oxygen stable isotopes in the tooth enamel from a chimpanzee community to understand the environment of fossil apes and early humans. Nelson wants to eventually look at the diet of hominids to explore what they ate and how they were able to thrive and spread.

UNM Researchers Conduct Oxygen Isotope Analyses on Chelyabinsk Meteorite
After following up on many of the social media reports regarding the Chelyabinsk meteoroid impact last February in Russia, scientists, including those at the University of New Mexico, contributed to present a comprehensive overview of what occurred that day in a report published online recently by the journal Science.

UNM Researchers Study Spontaneous Mutations with Implications Across Biology
Researchers at the University of New Mexico in the Department of Biology are studying the rate and fitness effects of spontaneous mutations, a central area of study in evolution and biology. The research, enabled through a three-year, $750,000 National Science Foundation grant through the Division of Molecular and Cellular Biosciences, will provide researchers with a broad and comprehensive understanding of the evolutionary process with implications across the field of biology including the evolution of complex human disease, drug-resistant bacteria and viruses and cancers.

UNM Fuel Cell Reaches International Audience
What will you drive 10 years from now?  Ongoing research in the School of Engineering at the University of New Mexico may have some influence on that decision. One of the many research laboratories across the globe exploring a future of vehicles powered by fuel cells is located at UNM. A concept car shown by Daihatsu runs on a hydrazine hydrate fuel cell partially designed at UNM. But it’s only one of many possible fuel cell technologies. Last month at the Tokyo Motor Show Daihatsu also displayed a concept pickup truck with UNM fuel cell technology.