Older news for IMPACT

9/23/2016: IMPACT hosts experiment to explore microparticle behavior in plasma-material interactions

Late last year, IMPACT hosted physiscist Zhehui (Jeff ) Wang from the Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) who conducted an experiment to better understand high energy microparticles. The experiment used high speed cameras from Vision Research to follow the behavior of hot and molten microparticles to support simulation and modeling efforts of magnetic fusion and plasma-material interactions. A full article from Vision Research can be found here. Footage provided by Vision Research can also be found here.

Image courtesy of Vision Research

10/15/2016: IMPACT to host 2017 Dust, Atmospheres, and Plasma workshop

The Dust, Atmosphere and Plasma environment of the Moon and Small Bodies (DAP-2017) workshop will be a forum to (i) discuss our current understanding of the surface environment of the Moon, the moons of Mars, and asteroids, (ii) share new results from past and ongoing missions to airless bodies and comets, and (iii) describe expectations for planned upcoming missions to airless bodies and comets. For more information on the meeting including scheduled talks and posters please visit the DAP-2017 website, here.

Lunar surface courtesy of NASA

8/14/2016: IMPACT outreach inspires future scientists and engineers

For the past several years, in coordination with IMPACT's Junior Aerospace Engineering Camp, students from La Casa de Esperanza have been learning about and building rockets of various sizes while becoming familiar with careers in STEM fields. Tom Mason, of the Laboratory of Atmospheric and Space Physics (LASP), organized the rocket building camp for students of La Casa de Esperanza. The camp incoporated ideas such as Newton's laws of motion, design, and team work. More information about the event can be found here. Additionally, interviews with students in the camp and Tom Mason can be found here.

Student of the Junior Aerospace Camp. Photo is courtesy of the University of Colorado, Boulder.

7/22/2016: IMPACT and LASP host Dusty Visions Workshop

The 2016 Dusty Visions Workshop was held from July 22nd - 24th at the University of Colorado, Boulder. Hosted by LASP and IMPACT, the workshop discussed all things space dust with topics including the dynamics and characteristics of interplanetary/interstellar, circumplanetary, and cometary dust, laboratory experiments, dust instrumentation, and current/future space missions. A complete list of talks and more information on the workshop can be found here.

Group photo of participants in the 2016 workshop. Included in the background are the iconic faltirons above Boulder as well as the LASP Space Technology Research and Biotechnology buildings.

9/22/2015: IMPACT student selected as University of Colorado Astronaut Scholar

Oak Nelson is an undergraduate student in Engineering Physics and works at IMPACT under Dr. Tobin Munsat on initial experiments in the ice chamber. He was selected as one of only two University of Colorado Astronaut Scholars. The award ceremony will be held on Oct. 2nd at 2pm in the Kittredge Auditorium. Astronaut Gary Payton will give a short lecture and presentation.

Photograph of Oak Nelson

9/19/2015: IMPACT hosts International Observe the Moon Night

IMPACT has participated in its sixth consecutive International Observe the Moon Night (InOMN). Every year since 2010, IMPACT has engaged the community in lunar science by providing a knowledgeable staff as well as a variety of telescopes. Typically, there are a few hundred people that stop by to take look at our moon and learn something new about our closest neighbor in the cosmos.

More information about InOMN can be found here.

Community members and IMPACT staff viewing the moon.

8/18/2015: SSERVI sponsers graduate seminar

NASA's Solar System Exploration Research Virtual Institute (SSERVI) and the SSERVI teams at University of Central FL (CLASS) and Brown University/MIT (SEEED) are sponsoring a graduate seminar discussing science and exploration of Mars' moons, Phobos and Deimos. The aim of the seminar is to indentify important science and engineering question regarding robotic and human exploration of the moons.

The seminar combines professional and student lead lectures discussing topics such as cratering history, origin and formation theories, geology, space weathering, and evolution of the system. The lectures will be live streamed via adobe-connect and available online.

Logo coutesy of arc.nasa.gov

7/24/2015: Student-built instrument passes Pluto

In 2006 NASA launched New Horizons to explore Pluto, the Kuiper Belt, and beyond. New Horizons had its closest approach with Pluto on July 14th, 2015 being the first spacecraft to visit the unexplored body. During the nearly 10 year flight to Pluto, a student-built instrument named the Student Dust Counter (SDC) has been taking interplanetary dust measurements to map the size distribution of dust particles in our solar system. The principle investigator of the SDC is Mihály Horányi, who oversees the project.

Recent articles from the NY Times, Washington Post and Channel 9 News discuss the SDC and include interviews with Mihály Horányi as wells as past and current students involved with the instrument.

For more information, please visit the SDC website, here.

Image of several SDC team members next to the finished instrument and some of the testing equipment. The white suits are worn to protect the instrument from dust, dirt, and dead skin that could come off human bodies.

6/18/2015: Asymmetric dust cloud around the Moon

IMPACT researchers discover an asymmetric, permanent dust cloud around the Moon with LADEE instrument LDEX. These results were released in a Nature paper on June 18, 2015 with lead author and PI of LDEX, Mihály Horányi. Co-Authors include Jamey Szalay, Sascha Kempf, Eberhard Grün and Zoltan Sternovsky from IMPACT as well as Juergen Schmidt from University Oulu in Finland and Ralf Srama from the University of Stuttgart in Germany.

Articles from the LA Times and National Geographic discuss the paper as well as the LDEX instrument. Furthermore, a University of Colorado press release can be found, here.

The Nature paper can be found, here.

An artist's conception of the thin dust cloud surrounding the Moon and the LADEE mission orbit. The colors represent the amount of material ejected from the lunar surface, with red representing the highest density of dust and blue representing the lowest density. Credit: Daniel Morgan and Jamey Szalay, University of Colorado

5/26/2015: LASP instrument chosen for NASA's Europa mission

On May 26th NASA announced their selection of 9 instruments for a mission to Europa, an icy moon of Jupiter. Among the selected instruments will be the LASP-built SUrface Dust Mass Analyzer (SUDA) with IMPACT's own, Sascha Kempf acting as the principle investigator. SUDA will study the composition of solid particles originating from Europa's surface.

Europa is believed to have a subsurface ocean capable of supporting life, providing an opportunity to search for living organisms beyond our planet. Furthermore, exploration of Europa may provide insight to the conditions necessary for the emergence of life in our solar system.

A Channel 9 news story about the mission can be found here.
More information about SUDA can be found here.
More information about the entire Europa mission can be found here.

This artist's rendering shows a concept for the proposed NASA mission to Europa, in which a spacecraft with nine instruments will make multiple close flybys of the icy Jovian moon. (Courtesy NASA/JPL-Caltech)

4/15/2015: IMPACT student receives prestigious Goldwater Scholarship

Oak Nelson is an undergraduate student in Engineering Physics and works at IMPACT under Dr. Tobin Munsat on initial experiments in the ice chamber. He was awarded the prestigious Goldwater Scholarship, which recognizes sophomores and juniors who have achieved high academic merit and who are expected to be leaders in their fields. Nelson is among only 260 Goldwater Scholars selected from a pool of 1,206 mathematics, science and engineering students from universities and colleges nationwide.

A link to a University of Colorado article can be found here.

Photograph of Oak Nelson

4/19/2015: Japanese public broadcasting network visits IMPACT

Earlier this year, the Japanese public broadcasting organization, NHK, filmed a video regarding the lunar phenomena known as horizon glow. IMPACT's PI, Dr. Mihály Horányi, and Co-I Dr. Xu Wang are featured in the video discussing dust transport and current research at IMPACT. A link to the video can be found here. An interview with Dr. Mihály Horányi starts at 27:40 followed by footage of an experiment conducted by Dr. Xu Wang.

Image of horizon glow above the lunar surface.

3/11/2015: Hydrothermal activity within Enceladus

IMPACT research associate, Dr. Sean Hsu is the lead author of a recent Nature paper that analyzed nanometer-sized silica particles originating from Enceladus, the geologically active moon of Saturn. Using data collected by the Cosmic Dust Analyser (CDA) aboard the Cassini spacecraft, this study provides new insights to Enceladus' subsurface ocean, including its salinity, pH, and temperature. This is also the first indication of ongoing hydrothermal activities outside the planet Earth.

The paper published in Nature can be found here.

A news article from the Daily Camera can be found here.

Photograph of Sean Hsu

2/25/2015: IMPACT breaks the 100 km/s speed barrier

The Dust Accelerator Laboratory (DAL) detected their fastest dust grain to date. An iron grain with a charge of 0.2 fC and diameter of 30 nm was clocked at a speed of 107.6 km/s (or 240,694 mph). More information about the accelerator can be found here.

The Dust Acceleration Laboratory (DAL)

10/9/2014: Lunar Eclipse

In case you missed it, IMPACT research associate Sean Hsu captured a wonderful picture of the full lunar eclipse that occurred the night of October 7th. Seen here is the 'Blood Moon' near greatest eclipse along with Uranus just to the left of the Moon.

Image taken by IMPACT researcher, Sean Hsu.

10/7/2014: LADEE receives 2014 Popular Mechanic Breakthrough Award

NASA's Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Exporer (LADEE) was launched on Sept. 6th, 2013 to study the structure and composition of the tenous lunar exosphere. LADEE was recently awarded Popular Mechanics 2014 Breakthrough Award for innovation in space craft design and data transfer capabilities.

Popular Mechanics article about LADEE can be found here.

More information regarding the LADEE mission can be found here.

Image of LADEE courtesy of NASA/AMES

10/3/2014: IMPACT sets new speed record

The 3 MV dust accelerator in the Dust Accelerator Laboratory (DAL) has detected its fastest dust grain to date. A dust grain with a charge of 0.65 fC, mass of 6.43 x 10-19 kg, and radius of 269.12 nm was clocked at a speed of 66.9 km/s (or 149,651 mph). More information about the accelerator can be found here.

The Dust Acceleration Laboratory (DAL)

9/26/2014: Observing comets from Mars

On September 21st, the Mars Atmosphere and Volatile EvolutioN (MAVEN) mission reached Mars to study the upper atmosphere, ionosphere, and interactions with the sun. MAVEN arrived just in time for an opportunity to observe a comet passing by Mars in October 2014. Recently, NASA held a workshop discussing the comet and observation opportunities. The comet will be observed by both Earth and Mars based instruments.

The proceedings for the workshop can be found here.

More information regarding MAVEN can be here.

Artist rendition of the comet passing by Mars, courtesy of mars.nasa.gov

9/6/2014: International Observe the Moon Night

IMPACT has participated in its fifth consecutive International Observe the Moon Night (InOMN). Every year since 2010, IMPACT has engaged the community by providing knowledgeable staff and two reflecting telescopes (with 15" and 17" primary mirrors) placed on Boulder's Pearl Street Mall. Typically there are a few hundred people that attend and take a chance to look at our moon, maybe for the first time, through a telescope and learn something they didn't know from IMPACT staff.

Community members and IMPACT staff viewing the moon.

8/10/2014: IMPACT reaches out to underrepresented students

In coordination with IMPACT's Education and Public Outreach program, the Junior Aeorspace Camp is designed to bring science, technology, engineering, and mathematics to underserved and underrepresented students. Tom Mason, of the Laboratory of Atmospheric and Space Physics (LASP), organized a rocket building camp for students of Longmont, CO. The camp incoporated ideas such as Newton's laws of motion, design, and team work. More information about the event can be found in news articles written by 7news of Denver and Times-Call of Longmont, CO.

Tom Mason (right), of LASP with two students, Alexis Mosqueda (center) and Kenya Falcon (left) building their 2 liter bottle water rocket. Photo courtesy of Times-Call, Longmont, CO

8/5/2014: Getting ready for International Observe the Moon Night

On September 6th people from all over the world will participate in International Observe the Moon Night (InOMN). InOMN provides opportunities to observe the Moon with multiple perpectives including HD images captured by the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) and views through various telescopes. To find an event near you or for information on hosting your own event, please visit Observe the Moon Night.

Can't see the Moon? Check out "The Moon as Art" image collection put together by LRO: Moon as Art.

Other high resolution images from the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera (LROC) can be found here: LROC.

The central peak of Tycho Crater taken by LRO

7/16/2014: High school plasma

Jack Hunsaker, a high school intern, has revived the high school plasma chamber to study the properties of an Argon plasma. After pumping the Argon gas to a pressure of 1 Torr, or about 0.1% of atmospheric pressure, a filament produces ionizing electrons that collide with the Argon creating the plasma. Jack is also developing the tools necessary to make sweeps of the plasma taking data at various locations.

Argon plasma with langmuir probe donated by Xu Wang

6/19/2014: In-Situ Resource Utilization (ISRU) Conference

Earlier this month, the Colorado School of Mines campus hosted the 5th joint Space Resources Roundtable (SRR) / Planetary & Terrestrial Mining Sciences Symposium (PTMSS). This meeting brought together indivduals from the space exploration sector, the financial sector, and mining and mineral companies to discuss issues regarding the utilization of resources available on other celestial bodies like the Moon and Mars.

The proceeedings and pictures from the meeting are available here: ISRU Proceedings.

More information on the meeting can be found here: ISRU Info.

D.R. Scott (Apollo 15). The apparent “haze” above the hills is caused by dust on the camera lens. (Courtesy of NASA)

5/10/2014: Prof. Mihály Horányi discusses LADEE

Prof. Mihály Horányi discusses the Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer (LADEE) in an interview with FOX31 Denver News. He talks about the purpose and some of the major findings of the NASA mission.

5/5/2014: Jamey Szalay discusses SDC

In an interview with FOX31 Denver News, Jamey Szalay discusses the Student Dust Counter (SDC). SDC is student built and operated instrument aboard the New Horizons mission, which is on its way to Pluto.

4/17/2014: The LADEE mission comes to an end

On April 17th the LADEE mission came to an end. The Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer (LADEE) had a highly elliptical orbit that allowed the craft to probe a wide range of altitudes. The NASA mission gathered information regarding the composition and structure of the tenous atmosphere and dust environment above the surface. Over the passed weeks, LADEE underwent multiple maneuvers that put it on course to impact the surface and bring the mission to an end.

An interview with Mihály Horányi (PI of the LDEX instrument aboard LADEE) hosted by Colorado Public Radio can be found here.

Other articles from The New York Times and Space Ref are also available.

Photograph of LADEE as it orbits the moon. Image courtesy of NASA

4/17/2014: LADEE mission ending with a bang

NASA's Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer (LADEE) mission is coming to an end and will impact the lunar surface later this week. Launched in September 2013, LADEE has been exploring the moon's dusty atmosphere trying to unravel mysteries like horizon glow observed by the Apollo missions. Mihály Horányi is the PI of LADEE's Lunar Dust Environment EXplorer (LDEX), which has been collecting dust to characterize both the tenous atmosphere and surface processes.

An article from "space.com" discussing the mission can be found here.

Other articles from Nature and The New Yorker are also available.

Surveyor images showing horizon glow above the lunar surface. Image courtesy of nasa.gov

4/11/2014: In-Situ Resource Utilization (ISRU) Conference

From June 9th to the 12th, the Colorado School of Mines campus will host the fifth joint Space Resources Roundtable (SRR) / Planetary & Terrestrial Mining Sciences Symposium (PTMSS). This meeting brings together indivduals from the space exploration sector, the financial sector, and mining and mineral companies to discuss issues regarding the utilization of resources available on other celestial bodies like the Moon and Mars.

More information on the meeting can be found here.

D.R. Scott (Apollo 15). The apparent “haze” above the hills is caused by dust on the camera lens. (Courtesy of NASA)

2/7/2014: LADEE receives 28 day mission extension

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has approved a 28-day mission extension for the Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer (LADEE). Expected to impact the lunar surface in late April 2014, LADEE will continue gathering information regarding the moon's tenuous atmosphere and dust environment. These observations will provide understanding of the mechanisms and processes that shape the lunar surface and other airless bodies.

The Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics (LASP) provided the Lunar Dust EXperiment (LDEX) onboard LADEE. LASP planetary scientist, Mihály Horányi is the Principal Investigator for LDEX instrument.

More information about LADEE can be found here.

Image of LADEE courtesy of NASA/AMES

1/28/2014: IMPACT sets new speed record

The 3 MV dust accelerator in the Dust Accelerator Laboratory (DAL) has detected its fastest dust grain to date. A dust grain with a charge of 0.63 fC, mass of 7.24 x 10-19 kg, and radius of 37.3 nm was clocked at a speed of 61.86 km/s (or 138,377 mph). More information about the accelerator can be found here.

The Dust Acceleration Laboratory (DAL)

11/20/2013: Dr. Collette releases new book on data manipulation

In his new book, "Python and HDF5: Unlocking Scientific Data", author Dr. Andrew Collette outlines effective ways to handle large data sets in HDF5 format using Python. Data analysis is an important component of scientific research and Andrew's book will help provide the framework to do so effectively and efficiently. Before coming to the University of Colorado in 2010, Andrew worked with laser-produced plasmas at the UCLA Basic Plasma Science Facility. More information regarding Andrew's book, including an interview with the Federation of Earth Science Information Partners (ESIP) can be found here.

Photograph of Dr. Collette