Atmospheric Escape Processes at Mars

Dave Brain—”MAVEN Measurements of Drivers, Response, and Escape

SWIA Science

In this presentation from June 20, 2015, Dr. David Brain, assistant professor of Astrophysical & Planetary Sciences – CU Boulder and MAVEN science team co-investigator, focuses on atmospheric escape processes at Mars during the second day of the 2015 ‪#‎MAVEN‬ New Media Professional Development Workshop.

The presentation and related discussion covered some of the early results from the nine instruments onboard the MAVEN spacecraft and the model predictions of what the early data indicate about Mars’ atmospheric and climate evolution.

View all of the videos from the workshop in one playlist, here:

(Video credit: Tom Mason/University of Colorado – LASP)

Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics
‪#‎MAVENnm‬

MAVEN Early Results

Principal Investigator, Bruce Jakosky—”MAVEN Early Results”

Maven 1000 Orbits

In this presentation from June 20, 2015, Dr. Bruce Jakosky, principal investigator for the MAVEN mission and Professor of Geological Sciences at the University of Colorado Boulder, opened the second day of the 2015 MAVEN New Media Professional Development Workshop with a presentation and discussion about some of the early results from the first mission devoted entirely to investigating Mars’ upper atmosphere.

You can view all of the videos from the workshop in one playlist, here: 

(Video credit: Tom Mason/University of Colorado – LASP)

Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics

ICON EUV Alignment and Calibration has begun

EUV Alignment

The toroidal mirror near the center of the image, focuses light to a line on the glass screen.

ICON passes its Critical Design Review 

During the review, each instrument and system were reviewed, and plans for integration of these systems onto a unified payload finalized. The team was successful in demonstrating their ability to complete these tasks on schedule. All instruments will be delivered to Utah for integration by the end of the calendar year, before delivery to Orbital ATK in Virginia by May 2016, in preparation for launch in June 2017.

Project Manager Bill Craig said “One of the key strengths was the consistency of the team; we were compared to the high quality expected of a Class B mission; a standard we set for ourself at PDR” and P.I. Thomas Immel complemented the team on an outstanding job in preparing and delivering a very successful review.

After Passing CDR, Alignment and Calibration of the EUV Instrument Begins

ICON’s Extreme Ultraviolet (EUV) instrument is an “imaging spectrometer”. Its 2 dimensional detector records spectral information over the range 58.4 to 83.4 nm in the one direction, and records 12 degree wide x 1/4 degree high slices of the sky over a 16 degree field of view in the other direction.

In preparation for alignment of the toroidal grating used in the EUV instrument, an optical system has been setup to simulate the cylindrical wavefront. This simulates the instrument’s view for each slice of sky while in orbit. The optical set up consists of a convex sphere and a concave toroid that produces a line image on the EUV entrance slit to simulate what EUV will observe in space. This optics pair will be used to first align the EUV instrument using visible light, then the final alignment will take place in a vacuum chamber using EUV radiation, since EUV light is not transmitted in air.

Articles Courtesy of UC Berkeley’s Claire Rafferty

MAVEN Results Find Mars Behaving Like a Rock Star

Mars Rockstar

Computer simulation of the interaction of the solar wind with electrically charged particles (ions) in Mars’ upper atmosphere. The lines represent the paths of individual ions and the colors represent their energy, and show that the polar plume (red) contains the most-energetic ions. (Courtesy X. Fang, University of Colorado, and the MAVEN science team)

If planets had personalities, Mars would be a rock star according to recent preliminary results from the MAVEN spacecraft. ‪#‎Mars‬ sports a “Mohawk” of escaping atmospheric particles at its poles, “wears” a layer of metal particles high in its atmosphere, and lights up with aurora after being smacked by solar storms. MAVEN is also mapping out the escaping atmospheric particles. The early results are being discussed at a MAVEN-sponsored “new media” workshop held in Berkeley, California, on June 19-21. (‪#‎MAVENnm‬)

MAVEN and UAE’s Hope mission will provide very powerful combination of Mars science measurements

 Sarah Amiri, deputy project manager of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) Mars Mission, speaks during a ceremony to unveil the mission on May 6, 2015 in Dubai. The Hope mission aims to provide a global picture of the Martian atmosphere.  (Image credit: KARIM SAHIB/AFP/Getty Images)

Sarah Amiri, deputy project manager of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) Mars Mission, speaks during a ceremony to unveil the mission on May 6, 2015 in Dubai. The Hope mission aims to provide a global picture of the Martian atmosphere.
(Image credit: KARIM SAHIB/AFP/Getty Images

On May 7th, 2015 the University of Colorado announced a partnership agreement with the United Arab Emirates on a 2021 Mars Mission.

A mission to study dynamic changes in the atmosphere of Mars over days and seasons led by the United Arab Emirates (UAE) involves the University of Colorado Boulder as the leading U.S. scientific-academic partner.

The complete announcement, including The UAE’s U.S. scientific-academic partners also include the University of California, Berkeley, and Arizona State University, here.

MAVEN and UAE’s Hope mission will provide very powerful combination of Mars science measurements

In an interview with Forbes‪#‎MAVEN‬ principal investigator and Hope mission co-investigator, Bruce Jakosky, offered some insight into how the two missions will complement each other.

“The UAE Space Agency has been very consistent in that they don’t want to do a technology demonstration mission,” said Jakosky. “They want to contribute substantively to the world’s exploration and understanding of Mars.”

“The Hope science measurements will make a valuable contribution by themselves,” he added. “And if MAVEN is still operating when ‪#‎Hope‬ gets there, the combination will be very powerful.”

The complete article in Forbes is here.

STS-125 Launch of Final Hubble Servicing Mission – 6 Year Anniversary

11038998_833251033410964_3260697227022995350_n

Marking the end of an era, spacewalkers Andrew Feustel and John Grunsfeld removed the no-longer-needed COSTAR corrective optics package from the Hubble Space Telescope today and replaced it with the Cosmic Origins Spectrograph, an $88 million state-of-the-art instrument designed to study the large-scale structure of the universe.

The Cosmic Origins Spectrograph, comprised two instruments, one of which was developed in conjunction with CASA University of Colorado Boulder and UC Berkeley’s Space Sciences Lab. The detector and electronics package were built here at our lab. The full article on the COS instrument installation is found here.

A video of the launch courtesy of spaceflightnow:

 

Star Explosion is Lopsided, Finds NASA’s NuSTAR

The still unraveling remains of supernova 1987A are shown here in this image taken by NASA's Hubble Space Telescope. The bright ring consists of material ejected from the dying star before it detonated. The ring is being lit up by the explosion's shock wave.Image credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA

The still unraveling remains of supernova 1987A are shown here in this image taken by NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope. The bright ring consists of material ejected from the dying star before it detonated. The ring is being lit up by the explosion’s shock wave.Image credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA

NASA’s Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array, or NuSTAR, has found evidence that a massive star exploded in a lopsided fashion, sending ejected material flying in one direction and the core of the star in the other.

The findings offer the best proof yet that star explosions of this type, called Type II or core-collapse supernovae, are inherently asymmetrical, a phenomenon that had been difficult to prove before now.

The complete story, courtesy of Caltech, can be found here.

NASA’s NuSTAR Captures Possible ‘Screams’ from Zombie Stars

nustar150429_Tn

We detected what some might call the X-rays howls of zombie stars! Translation for astronomers: NuSTAR detected a surplus of high-energy X-ray emission in the center of our galaxy, which might be coming from a population of compact, dead stars.

Peering into the heart of the Milky Way galaxy, NASA’s Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array (NuSTAR) has spotted a mysterious glow of high-energy X-rays that, according to scientists, could be the “howls” of dead stars as they feed on stellar companions.

The complete story courtesy of NuSTAR Satellite and Caltech is here.