Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

FUSE Satellite Completes Five Years in Orbit

22.06.2004


Project marks unique collaboration with NASA

NASA’s Far Ultraviolet Spectroscopic Explorer (FUSE) satellite will reach a major milestone on Thursday, June 24, 2004 – the five-year anniversary of its launch atop a Delta-II rocket from Cape Canaveral in Florida.

The 18-foot tall, 3,000 pound satellite continues to operate from its perch nearly 500 miles above the Earth’s surface, gathering unique data about everything from planets and nearby stars to galaxies and quasars billions of light years away. Groundbreaking science done during FUSE’s five years in orbit include a first-ever observation of molecular nitrogen outside our solar system; confirmation of a hot gas halo surrounding the Milky Way galaxy; and a rare glimpse into molecular hydrogen in the Mars’ atmosphere, among other findings. By its fifth anniversary, FUSE will have collected more than 47 million seconds of science data on more than 2,200 unique objects in the cosmos.



“The sheer magnitude and amount of scientific work that is being produced using FUSE is beyond even what we had imagined,” said Warren Moos, FUSE’s principal investigator and a professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at The Johns Hopkins University’s Krieger School of Arts and Sciences in Baltimore. “Scientists working with FUSE have produced a steady flow of papers – a half dozen a month – each representing a major scientific study. What has been accomplished is extremely impressive and very satisfying.”

Designed and operated by a team of engineers and scientists at Johns Hopkins, FUSE is the largest astrophysics mission NASA has ever handed off to a university to manage. The project also has input from the Canadian and French space agencies.

“Astronomers are using FUSE to produce very exciting and unexpected results,” said George Sonneborn, FUSE project scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md.. “FUSE has discovered a new component of the Milky Way galaxy, is charting very hot gas in the vast regions of universe between distant galaxies, and is probing the nature of disks of gas and debris around young stars where planets may form.”

FUSE comprises four telescopes that function as a single instrument, dissecting far-ultraviolet light from distant objects into high-resolution spectographic information used by astronomers from around the world. With more than 10,000 times the sensitivity of its predecessor – the Copernicus satellite in the 1970s – FUSE complements the Hubble Space Telescope by observing light at wavelengths too short for that instrument to see. Since its launch, astronomers have used FUSE to study stars and nebulas in nearby galaxies, to discover a new component of the Milky Way galaxy and even to probe the vast regions of space between distant galaxies in the universe.

Despite the obvious successes, there have been times over the past five years when serious problems threatened the satellite’s pointing control system and thus, the mission itself. In late 2001, two of the device’s four reaction wheels – components that point the satellite’s telescopes and keep them steady – stopped working, leaving the mission in peril.

Rather than close up shop as some feared, FUSE scientists and engineers collaborated intensely for two months and devised a solution: using a combination of software and other hardware to mimic the functions of the missing wheels.

“It’s been a real roller-coaster ride,” says William P. Blair, FUSE’s chief of observatory operations and physics and astronomy research professor at Johns Hopkins. “But we’ve overcome the problems and, if anything, FUSE is now working better than ever.”

| newswise
Further information:
http://www.nasa.gov
http://fuse.pha.jhu.edu

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht SwRI-led team discovers lull in Mars' giant impact history
26.04.2017 | Southwest Research Institute

nachricht New survey hints at exotic origin for the Cold Spot
26.04.2017 | Royal Astronomical Society

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: Making lightweight construction suitable for series production

More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.

Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...

Im Focus: Wonder material? Novel nanotube structure strengthens thin films for flexible electronics

Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.

"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...

Im Focus: Deep inside Galaxy M87

The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.

Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...

Im Focus: A Quantum Low Pass for Photons

Physicists in Garching observe novel quantum effect that limits the number of emitted photons.

The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...

Im Focus: Microprocessors based on a layer of just three atoms

Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.

Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Expert meeting “Health Business Connect” will connect international medical technology companies

20.04.2017 | Event News

Wenn der Computer das Gehirn austrickst

18.04.2017 | Event News

7th International Conference on Crystalline Silicon Photovoltaics in Freiburg on April 3-5, 2017

03.04.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Scientist invents way to trigger artificial photosynthesis to clean air

26.04.2017 | Materials Sciences

Ammonium nitrogen input increases the synthesis of anticarcinogenic compounds in broccoli

26.04.2017 | Agricultural and Forestry Science

SwRI-led team discovers lull in Mars' giant impact history

26.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>