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 Light provides spin
19.09.2018 | Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg

nachricht The surprising environment of an enigmatic neutron star
18.09.2018 | Penn State

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: Patented nanostructure for solar cells: Rough optics, smooth surface

Thin-film solar cells made of crystalline silicon are inexpensive and achieve efficiencies of a good 14 percent. However, they could do even better if their shiny surfaces reflected less light. A team led by Prof. Christiane Becker from the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin (HZB) has now patented a sophisticated new solution to this problem.

"It is not enough simply to bring more light into the cell," says Christiane Becker. Such surface structures can even ultimately reduce the efficiency by...

Im Focus: New soft coral species discovered in Panama

A study in the journal Bulletin of Marine Science describes a new, blood-red species of octocoral found in Panama. The species in the genus Thesea was discovered in the threatened low-light reef environment on Hannibal Bank, 60 kilometers off mainland Pacific Panama, by researchers at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama (STRI) and the Centro de Investigación en Ciencias del Mar y Limnología (CIMAR) at the University of Costa Rica.

Scientists established the new species, Thesea dalioi, by comparing its physical traits, such as branch thickness and the bright red colony color, with the...

Im Focus: New devices based on rust could reduce excess heat in computers

Physicists explore long-distance information transmission in antiferromagnetic iron oxide

Scientists have succeeded in observing the first long-distance transfer of information in a magnetic group of materials known as antiferromagnets.

Im Focus: Finding Nemo's genes

An international team of researchers has mapped Nemo's genome

An international team of researchers has mapped Nemo's genome, providing the research community with an invaluable resource to decode the response of fish to...

Im Focus: Graphene enables clock rates in the terahertz range

Graphene is considered a promising candidate for the nanoelectronics of the future. In theory, it should allow clock rates up to a thousand times faster than today’s silicon-based electronics. Scientists from the Helmholtz Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) and the University of Duisburg-Essen (UDE), in cooperation with the Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research (MPI-P), have now shown for the first time that graphene can actually convert electronic signals with frequencies in the gigahertz range – which correspond to today’s clock rates – extremely efficiently into signals with several times higher frequency. The researchers present their results in the scientific journal “Nature”.

Graphene – an ultrathin material consisting of a single layer of interlinked carbon atoms – is considered a promising candidate for the nanoelectronics of the...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

One of the world’s most prominent strategic forums for global health held in Berlin in October 2018

03.09.2018 | Event News

4th Intelligent Materials - European Symposium on Intelligent Materials

27.08.2018 | Event News

LaserForum 2018 deals with 3D production of components

17.08.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Making better use of enzymes: a new research project at Jacobs University

19.09.2018 | Life Sciences

Light provides spin

19.09.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Enjoying virtual-reality-entertainment without headache or motion sickness

19.09.2018 | Information Technology

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>