Students at IMPACT with guidance from Xu Wang and Mihaly Horanyi have been exploring the hypothesis of dust mobilization on airless bodies due to interactions with ambient plasma and UV radiation. Their work has shown the ability to mobilize micron-sized and larger dust grains in vacuum under a variety of plasma conditions.
The results have been published in the Journal of Visual Experiments (JoVE), an online video journal that focuses on experimental methods as well as results. JoVE publishes written manuscripts as well as video documentation of experimental methods and protocol. The published article can be found here and more information about JoVE can be found here.
Researchers from the Planetary Exploration Research Center at the Chiba Institute of Technology in Japan used the IMPACT facilities to test the functionality of their newly designed large area dust detector. Impact tests were performed in the Dust Accelerator Laboratory and results showed a working prototype detector that uses acoustic detection methods. More information about the Chiba Institute can be found, here.
The Science Visualization Studio at NASA's Goddard Spaceflight Center has opened their 2018 Moon Phase and Libration webpage. The site uses NASA resources, such as the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO), to provide detailed visualizations of the Moon's phases throughout the year. In addition to showing the current, past, and present phases of the moon, the site allows viewers to explore lunar geography as well as the the motion of the Moon throughout the year. The site can be found here.
AGU's fall meeting is the largest Earth and space sciences conference in the world and was hosted in New Orleans from December 11th to the 15th. A selection of IMPACT posters and talks presented at AGU this year can be found here. General information about AGU and the fall meeting can be found here.
The CASSINI LEMMS team tested their instrument in the IMPACT dust accelerator. The team is investigating whether anomalous events observed near Saturn and Enceladus during the mission were dust impacts. These tests conducted at our facility will provide crucial data for interpreting this flight data.
Zach Ulibarri received one of three student poster awards at NASA's 2017 Exploration Science Forum. The award recognizes and rewards promising scientists while motivating and encouraging future work. The full story including other winners can be found here.
The Dust, Atmosphere and Plasma environment of the Moon and Small Bodies (DAP-2017) workshop was 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. More information about the meeting including posted talks please visit the DAP-2017 website, here.
Work from Xu Wang and Joseph Schwan was recently featured in a space.com article as well as an episode of Discovery Channel's news segment, DNews. Their work explores the mechanisms responsible for mobilizing and transporting dust on the lunar surface. The article can be found here and the DNews video can be found here.
Joseph Schwan is an undergraduate student pursuing a double major in Mechanical Engineering and Physics. He works under Xu Wang researching dust dynamics in plasmas. The scholarship is funded by generous donations in the name of Raul A. Stern, a professor emeritus at CU Boulder. More information about Raul A. Stern can be found here.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
For more information, please visit the SDC website, here.
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.
The Nature paper can be found, here.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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