Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Space@VT Research to Improve Space Weather Understanding

26.08.2009
Members of Virginia Tech’s Space@VT research group are receiving a $2 million grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to build a chain of space weather instrument stations in Antarctica. Space weather affects a variety of everyday consumer technologies including global positioning systems (GPS), satellites for television reception, and cellular phones. Also, the understanding of space weather is critical to space programs.

For example, “satellites experience the disruptive effects of energetic charged particles and electrical charging across the satellite structure during various weather conditions. Astronauts are vulnerable to energetic radiation that may occur at space station altitudes.

Navigation signals from global positioning satellites are affected by irregularities in the ionosphere that develop under some conditions, and massive disruption in electric power distribution systems can be triggered by geomagnetic storms,” explained Robert Clauer, professor of electrical and computer engineering (ECE) at Virginia Tech. http://www.space.vt.edu/people/faculty/clauer.html

Clauer is leading the team of researchers who include: Joseph Baker, assistant professor of ECE, Tamal Bose, professor of ECE, Brent Ledvina of Coherent Navigation, but who continues to hold an adjunct assistant professor of ECE position, and Majeid Manteghi, assistant professor of ECE. Bose is also the associate director of Wireless@Virginia Tech, a second Virginia Tech research group that is acting as a collaborator on this project (http://www.wireless.vt.edu/).

The northern hemisphere is already well-instrumented as a number of stations currently exist in the Arctic, including an array in Greenland. But due primarily to the “extreme Antarctic climate and lack of manned facilities with the necessary infrastructure to support facilities, the southern polar region is not,” Clauer said.

Data from the southern magnetic field is weaker than the northern magnetic polar field because its “magnetic dipole is offset from the center of the earth and tilted,” Clauer, an expert in atmospheric sciences, explained.

One of the most spectacular manifestations of the dynamic Sun-earth environment or space weather is the aurora borealis in the northern hemisphere and aurora austrialis in the southern Polar Regions. “Since the space age, we now understand these phenomena to be specifically related to the processes of the electric and plasma dynamic environment that exists around the Earth, and these processes result from interactions between the solar wind and the Earth’s magnetosphere,” Clauer added.

Today, the science of space plasma physics has matured, but the goal remains for scientists and engineers to accurately predict the properties of space weather, and this is also the goal of the National Space Weather Program. Space weather refers to the conditions on the sun and in the solar wind, magnetosphere, ionosphere, and thermosphere that can influence the reliability of space borne and ground-based technology or which can endanger human life or health.

Clauer’s office is physically located at the National Institute of Aerospace (NIA), a consortium of universities established in 2002 to develop excellence in research and education in a spectrum of aerospace related areas of study, including space science. The NIA teams with NASA Langley Research Center in Hampton, Va., to conduct some of the nation’s most advanced aerospace and atmospheric research.

Earlier this year, members of the Space@VT group received a $6 million grant to build radar units. J. Michael Ruohoniemi, ECE associate professor, is leading this effort of which nearly $2 million of the award went to Virginia Tech and Space@VT, directed by Wayne Scales, also of ECE. Other participants in the grant, also from the NSF, are Dartmouth College, University of Alaska at Fairbanks, and the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (JHU/APL).

These new radar units will complement the Super Dual Auroral Radar Network –– providing an acronym with a humorous touch, SuperDARN. This network is an international collaboration with support provided by the funding agencies of more than a dozen countries. The radars combine to give extensive views of the upper atmosphere in both the Arctic and Antarctic regions. The new radars will become part of a continuous chain of coverage that extends from Europe to eastern Asia.

The College of Engineering at Virginia Tech is internationally recognized for its excellence in 14 engineering disciplines and computer science. The college's 5,700 undergraduates benefit from an innovative curriculum that provides a “hands-on, minds-on” approach to engineering education, complementing classroom instruction with two unique design-and-build facilities and a strong Cooperative Education Program. With more than 50 research centers and numerous laboratories, the college offers its 1,800 graduate students opportunities in advanced fields of study such as biomedical engineering, state-of-the-art microelectronics, and nanotechnology. Virginia Tech, the most comprehensive university in Virginia, is dedicated to quality, innovation, and results to the commonwealth, the nation and the world.

Lynn A. Nystrom | Newswise Science News
Further information:
http://www.vt.edu
http://www.space.vt.edu

More articles from Information Technology:

nachricht Quantum bugs, meet your new swatter
20.08.2018 | Rice University

nachricht Metamolds: Molding a mold
20.08.2018 | Institute of Science and Technology Austria

All articles from Information Technology >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: It’s All in the Mix: Jülich Researchers are Developing Fast-Charging Solid-State Batteries

There are currently great hopes for solid-state batteries. They contain no liquid parts that could leak or catch fire. For this reason, they do not require cooling and are considered to be much safer, more reliable, and longer lasting than traditional lithium-ion batteries. Jülich scientists have now introduced a new concept that allows currents up to ten times greater during charging and discharging than previously described in the literature. The improvement was achieved by a “clever” choice of materials with a focus on consistently good compatibility. All components were made from phosphate compounds, which are well matched both chemically and mechanically.

The low current is considered one of the biggest hurdles in the development of solid-state batteries. It is the reason why the batteries take a relatively long...

Im Focus: Color effects from transparent 3D-printed nanostructures

New design tool automatically creates nanostructure 3D-print templates for user-given colors
Scientists present work at prestigious SIGGRAPH conference

Most of the objects we see are colored by pigments, but using pigments has disadvantages: such colors can fade, industrial pigments are often toxic, and...

Im Focus: Unraveling the nature of 'whistlers' from space in the lab

A new study sheds light on how ultralow frequency radio waves and plasmas interact

Scientists at the University of California, Los Angeles present new research on a curious cosmic phenomenon known as "whistlers" -- very low frequency packets...

Im Focus: New interactive machine learning tool makes car designs more aerodynamic

Scientists develop first tool to use machine learning methods to compute flow around interactively designable 3D objects. Tool will be presented at this year’s prestigious SIGGRAPH conference.

When engineers or designers want to test the aerodynamic properties of the newly designed shape of a car, airplane, or other object, they would normally model...

Im Focus: Robots as 'pump attendants': TU Graz develops robot-controlled rapid charging system for e-vehicles

Researchers from TU Graz and their industry partners have unveiled a world first: the prototype of a robot-controlled, high-speed combined charging system (CCS) for electric vehicles that enables series charging of cars in various parking positions.

Global demand for electric vehicles is forecast to rise sharply: by 2025, the number of new vehicle registrations is expected to reach 25 million per year....

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

LaserForum 2018 deals with 3D production of components

17.08.2018 | Event News

Within reach of the Universe

08.08.2018 | Event News

A journey through the history of microscopy – new exhibition opens at the MDC

27.07.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Quantum bugs, meet your new swatter

20.08.2018 | Information Technology

A novel synthetic antibody enables conditional “protein knockdown” in vertebrates

20.08.2018 | Life Sciences

Metamolds: Molding a mold

20.08.2018 | Information Technology

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>