Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

NJIT scientist creates instrument for NASA Aug. 23 launch

08.08.2012
NJIT Distinguished Research Professor and former Bell Labs scientist Louis J. Lanzerotti, will see his 50-year quest to better understand space weather and Earth's Van Allen Radiation Belts rocket, once again, into space on Aug. 23, 2012.

This is when NASA's twin Radiation Belt Storm Probes (RBSP) begin their mission to study the extremes of space weather. Lanzerotti, today one of the most respected and valued scientists behind space exploration, was the principal investigator to build one of five instruments aboard each of the two spacecraft that comprise the RBSP mission.

The mission is part of NASA's Living With a Star program which is managed by Goddard Space Flight Center. The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) manages the mission and has built and will operate the two RBSP spacecraft for NASA. RBSP begins its exploration with a predawn Aug. 23, 2012 launch aboard a United Launch Alliance Atlas V 401 rocket. Each RBSP spacecraft weighs about 660 kilograms (1,455 pounds) and carries an identical set of five instrument suites that will enable scientists to unlock the mysteries of the radiation belts surrounding Earth.

For Lanzerotti, a long-time New Jersey resident, the upcoming launch (and he says now his last) strikes a deeper, personal chord, harkening back to the start of his career in 1965 at the former AT&T Bell Labs, then the dream job of every young physicist. His charge was no less monumental than to analyze radiation data returned prior to the unexpected demise of the first active communications satellite, the 1962 Telstar I. The then state-of-the-art telecommunications pioneer measured 36 inches wide, weighed 170-pounds and carried innovations such as transistors and solar panels, supporting 600 voice calls and one black and white television channel.

Massive influxes of radiation—some of it natural--from the Van Allen belts and some of it man-made from nuclear testing-- doomed Telstar I after only eight months. Still, before its demise, Telstar was able to mark the dawning of the age of modern telecommunications, carry the first transatlantic television signal and prove that satellite communications was feasible. Lanzerotti recently spoke at a celebration commemorating the 50th anniversary of Telstar I hosted by Alcatel-Lucent. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Xv5fOBsNQ0

"Bell Labs Engineer John Pierce who proposed the pioneering Telstar satellite did not expect Earth's space environment to be anything, but benign," recalled Lanzerotti. "James Van Allen's discovery of the radiation belts showed this not to be the case, so Telstar carried special sensors designed by Bell Labs physicist Walter Brown to measure the radiation environment that Telstar would encounter."

Fifty years later, researchers like Lanzerotti and others on the RBSP team and in heliophysics understand much more about the hazards posed by highly-charged particles in the radiation belts – though the processes that drive and shape the belts are still poorly understood. Those mysteries are the focus of the RBSP mission: Modern society's dependence on satellites and other spaced-based technologies that must operate in the belts makes the research that will come from RBSP's data valuable to building better-protected satellites in the future. "We know considerably more now about the space environment and space weather," says Lanzerotti, "and RBSP will be a major step forward in quantifying and eventually predicting conditions in space around Earth."

The two spacecraft will fly in nearly identical, eccentric orbits that cover the entire radiation belt region, lapping each other several times over the course of the two-year mission. This will give researchers an unparalleled view into the mechanics and processes that change the size and intensity of the radiation belts over time. RBSP will explore space weather – changes in Earth's space environment caused by changes in the sun's energy flow – and especially its extreme conditions, which can disable satellites, cause power grid failures and disrupt GPS services.

NJIT, New Jersey's science and technology university, enrolls more than 9,558 students pursuing bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees in 120 programs. The university consists of six colleges: Newark College of Engineering, College of Architecture and Design, College of Science and Liberal Arts, School of Management, College of Computing Sciences and Albert Dorman Honors College. U.S. News & World Report's 2011 Annual Guide to America's Best Colleges ranked NJIT in the top tier of national research universities. NJIT is internationally recognized for being at the edge in knowledge in architecture, applied mathematics, wireless communications and networking, solar physics, advanced engineered particulate materials, nanotechnology, neural engineering and e-learning. Many courses and certificate programs, as well as graduate degrees, are available online through the Division of Continuing Professional Education.

(ATTENTION REPORTERS, EDITORS, PRODUCERS: Lanzerotti is available for interviews in Newark Aug. 13-16, 2012. Hi-res, professional photos are available. Contact Sheryl Weinstein, 973-596-3436, for details.)

Sheryl Weinstein | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.njit.edu/
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Xv5fOBsNQ0

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht A better way to weigh millions of solitary stars
15.12.2017 | Vanderbilt University

nachricht A chip for environmental and health monitoring
15.12.2017 | Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg

All articles from Physics and Astronomy >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: First-of-its-kind chemical oscillator offers new level of molecular control

DNA molecules that follow specific instructions could offer more precise molecular control of synthetic chemical systems, a discovery that opens the door for engineers to create molecular machines with new and complex behaviors.

Researchers have created chemical amplifiers and a chemical oscillator using a systematic method that has the potential to embed sophisticated circuit...

Im Focus: Long-lived storage of a photonic qubit for worldwide teleportation

MPQ scientists achieve long storage times for photonic quantum bits which break the lower bound for direct teleportation in a global quantum network.

Concerning the development of quantum memories for the realization of global quantum networks, scientists of the Quantum Dynamics Division led by Professor...

Im Focus: Electromagnetic water cloak eliminates drag and wake

Detailed calculations show water cloaks are feasible with today's technology

Researchers have developed a water cloaking concept based on electromagnetic forces that could eliminate an object's wake, greatly reducing its drag while...

Im Focus: Scientists channel graphene to understand filtration and ion transport into cells

Tiny pores at a cell's entryway act as miniature bouncers, letting in some electrically charged atoms--ions--but blocking others. Operating as exquisitely sensitive filters, these "ion channels" play a critical role in biological functions such as muscle contraction and the firing of brain cells.

To rapidly transport the right ions through the cell membrane, the tiny channels rely on a complex interplay between the ions and surrounding molecules,...

Im Focus: Towards data storage at the single molecule level

The miniaturization of the current technology of storage media is hindered by fundamental limits of quantum mechanics. A new approach consists in using so-called spin-crossover molecules as the smallest possible storage unit. Similar to normal hard drives, these special molecules can save information via their magnetic state. A research team from Kiel University has now managed to successfully place a new class of spin-crossover molecules onto a surface and to improve the molecule’s storage capacity. The storage density of conventional hard drives could therefore theoretically be increased by more than one hundred fold. The study has been published in the scientific journal Nano Letters.

Over the past few years, the building blocks of storage media have gotten ever smaller. But further miniaturization of the current technology is hindered by...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

See, understand and experience the work of the future

11.12.2017 | Event News

Innovative strategies to tackle parasitic worms

08.12.2017 | Event News

AKL’18: The opportunities and challenges of digitalization in the laser industry

07.12.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Engineers program tiny robots to move, think like insects

15.12.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

One in 5 materials chemistry papers may be wrong, study suggests

15.12.2017 | Materials Sciences

New antbird species discovered in Peru by LSU ornithologists

15.12.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>