The Voyagers have exceeded all expectations, according to JPL senior propulsion engineer Todd Barber at the Aug. 27 Galaxy Forum in Hutchinson.
“Before Voyager, we’d never had a spacecraft last more than a year—and to get to Jupiter and Saturn we needed it to last five years. That was NASA’s stretch goal,” says Barber.
Voyager came about because in the 1960s some smart grad students at JPL realized there would be a rare cosmic lineup of Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune on the same side of the Sun in 1977. This happens every 176 years. The last time was in 1801. “Jefferson blew it, so they didn’t want to blow it this time,” said Barber. A spacecraft could fly by all of them in only 12 years versus the 30 it would usually take to get to Neptune.
Voyager was launched in 1975 with 69 k of memory each. Today’s IPhone 5 has 240,000 k of memory. “What are the chances your cell phone will still be working in 45 years?” said Barber.
One of the biggest surprises of the early flybys was at Jupiter...
Learning about the DART mission from Dr. Paul Adams
AAKF board member Kay Neill introduces speakers
AAKF adds to board
AAKF welcomes a new board member, Sarah Lamm.
"I want to use my position to help uplift current students and encourage new students to pursue space sciences in Kansas," said the Colby native.
She certainly has a good start on it. Since 2013, she has held over 50 successful science events for more than 2,500 participants.
Lamm is a PhD student in geology at KU studying aqueous minerals with Raman spectroscopy. This after graduating with her master's in geology from K-State in 2021, having previously earned triple bachelor of science degrees in chemistry, geology, and geography there in 2018.
As an undergrad, she was a team member on the Mars Curiosity Rover and worked at Los Alamos National Lab for three summers. She also interned at NASA JPL in 2021 & 2022 studying iron minerals with lasers.
Her goal for the future is to work for NASA or another national lab researching Mars and/or Titan, Saturn’s Largest moon.
Lamm was selected as a 2019 Mars Generation 24 Under 24 Leader in STEAM & Space, and the 2020 K-State Student Science Communication Award winner.
And thank-you to...
Dr. Craig McLaughlin, who is stepping down from the AAKF board. He has been a board member ince 2016.
NASA Eclipse Ambassasors wanted for 2023 & 2024
UNDERGRADUATES and AMATEUR ASTRONOMERS--“Do you love eclipses and want to share the wow of space science with your community? Apply to become a NASA Partner Eclipse Ambassador!
In October 2023 and April 2024, two eclipses will be happening across the United States. In an exciting new partnership, undergraduate students and amateur astronomers will partner to engage their local communities, providing solar viewing glasses as well as science context for underserved communities off the central paths" across all 50 states.
Any undergraduate student / amateur astronomer with an interest in eclipses and sharing science with the public is asked to apply. Applications are being accepted now. Five hundred teams of two will be selected across the US.
How often have you looked up and thought – “I want to fly to space!” If you are reading this in Ad Astra, you are likely in the group wanting to get out and up there. Space exploration is so intrinsically exciting that it draws people of all ages and backgrounds. While few of us will have missions that cross the Kármán line at 100 km (~60 mi) to earn astronaut wings, we can fly payloads to near-space with high altitude balloons.
The Fort Hays State University (FHSU) Science and Mathematics Education Institute (SMEI) has supported high-altitude ballooning (HAB) opportunities since 2011. Since then, FHSU has launched over 100 HAB research missions reaching heights upwards of 30 kilometers (~ 18 mi) for elementary, middle, high school and college students in Kansas...
LAWRENCE — The MacArthur Foundation announced Steven Prohira, assistant professor in the Department of Physics & Astronomy, as a Class of 2022 MacArthur Fellow.
The fellowship — widely known as a “genius grant” — is an $800,000, no-strings-attached award to extraordinarily talented and creative individuals as an investment in their potential.
As a physicist, Prohira is advancing the study of cosmic rays and ultra-high energy neutrinos through a rare combination of expertise in three distinct areas: theory, engineering and experimental design.
KU aerospace engineering students excel in national design competition
This makes 41 AIAA awards in a decade
LAWRENCE — A team of student engineers from the University of Kansas took second place in the prestigious American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics design competition, continuing KU’s long history of success at the event.
The students won recognition from the AIAA for their design of an unmanned hypersonic spy plane, (see illustration) which they named the “Hyperhawk” system. Ron Barrett-Gonzalez, professor of aerospace engineering, said the award is the 41st that KU students have received in AIAA competition over the last decade.
"Our department is not exactly like the basketball team, but if you keep posting win after win after win, eventually people take notice," he said
NASA engineer returns to WSU as Innovator in Residence
WICHITA--Dr. Ryan Amick, a Wichita State University alumnus and NASA engineer, has been selected as one of the Innovators in Residence for the College of Innovation and Design during the 2022-23 academic year.
Amick is a principal human factors engineer at NASA Johnson Space Center in Houston. He serves as the extravehicular activity (EVA) human factors lead, where he provides human factors and human-systems integration guidance to the NASA community as applied to the development of the Exploration EVA System, and its integration with the larger NASA Spaceflight System Architecture.
NASA's Planetary Defense September 26 DART mission was a success. NASA confirms the spacecraft's impact altered asteroid Dimorphos' orbit around Didymous by 32 minutes. FYI: The head of the NASA Planetary Defense Office is Lindley Johnson, a 1980 KU grad in astronomy. He also has an asteroid (#5905) named for him.
Thru the Wichita Space Initiative (WSI)
Pioneering course on interstellar science, communities and civilization to be offered
WSU is offering a course on interstellar science with a humanities bent in the spring of 2023. This non-technical course (no deep science) will cover space travel and technologies as well as human issues of interstellar travel. Interstellar missions, if they're peopled, could be multi-generational. What's life going to be like in a multigenerational ship? What kind of culture are you going to have? How do you keep healthy, both physically and mentally? What about life support systems? Effects of long-term space exposure?
This one-credit hour course is relatively accessible, very broad. It will include several panel discussions on these topics with expert speakers from all over the U.S. and Kansas. (We are, after all, the Ad Astra State.)