NASA Proposals Selected

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NASA Selects 12 New Lunar Science, Technology Investigations

Post by bystander » Mon Jul 08, 2019 5:56 pm

NASA Selects 12 New Lunar Science, Technology Investigations
NASA Press Release | 2019 Jul 01

NASA has selected 12 new science and technology payloads that will help us study the Moon and explore more of its surface as part of the agency’s Artemis lunar program. These investigations and demonstrations will help the agency send astronauts to the Moon by 2024 as a way to prepare to send humans to Mars for the first time.

The selected investigations will go to the Moon on future flights through NASA's Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) project. The CLPS project allows rapid acquisition of lunar delivery services for payloads like these that advance capabilities for science, exploration, or commercial development of the Moon. Many of the new selections incorporate existing hardware, such as parts or models designed for missions that have already flown. Seven of the new selections are focused on answering questions in planetary science or heliophysics, while five will demonstrate new technologies. ...

The 12 selected investigations are:
  • MoonRanger is a small, fast-moving rover that has the capability to drive beyond communications range with a lander and then return to it. This will enable investigations within a 0.6-mile (1 kilometer) range from the lander. MoonRanger will aim to continually map the terrain it traverses, and transmit data for future system improvement.
  • Heimdall is a flexible camera system for conducting lunar science on commercial vehicles. This innovation includes a single digital video recorder and four cameras: a wide-angle descent imager, a narrow-angle regolith imager, and two wide-angle panoramic imagers. This camera system is intended to model the properties of the Moon's regolith – the soil and other material that makes up the top later of the lunar surface – and characterize and map geologic features, as well characterize potential landing or trafficability hazards, among other goals.
  • Lunar Demonstration of a Reconfigurable, Radiation Tolerant Computer System aims to demonstrate a radiation-tolerant computing technology. Due to the Moon's lack of atmosphere and magnetic field, radiation from the Sun will be a challenge for electronics. This investigation also will characterize the radiation effects on the lunar surface.
  • Regolith Adherence Characterization (RAC) Payload will determine how lunar regolith sticks to a range of materials exposed to the Moon's environment at different phases of flight. Components of this experiment are derived from a commercial payload facility called MISSE currently on the International Space Station.
  • The Lunar Magnetotelluric Sounder is designed to characterize the structure and composition of the Moon’s mantle by studying electric and magnetic fields. The investigation will make use of a flight-spare magnetometer, a device that measures magnetic fields, originally made for the MAVEN spacecraft, which is currently orbiting Mars.
  • The Lunar Surface Electromagnetics Experiment (LuSEE) will integrate flight-spare and repurposed hardware from the NASA Parker Solar Probe FIELDS experiment, the STEREO/Waves instrument, and the MAVEN mission to make comprehensive measurements of electromagnetic phenomena on the surface of the Moon.
  • The Lunar Environment heliospheric X-ray Imager (LEXI) will capture images of the interaction of Earth's magnetosphere with the flow of charged particles from the Sun, called the solar wind.
  • Next Generation Lunar Retroreflectors (NGLR) will serve as a target for lasers on Earth to precisely measure the Earth-Moon distance. They are designed to provide data that could be used to constrain various aspects of the lunar interior and address questions of fundamental physics.
  • The Lunar Compact InfraRed Imaging System (L-CIRiS) is targeted to deploy a radiometer, a device that measures infrared wavelengths of light, to explore the Moon's surface composition, map its surface temperature distribution, and demonstrate the instrument's feasibility for future lunar resource utilization activities.
  • The Lunar Instrumentation for Subsurface Thermal Exploration with Rapidity (LISTER) is an instrument designed to measure heat flow from the interior of the Moon. The probe will attempt to drill 7 to 10 feet (2 to 3 meters) into the lunar regolith to investigate the Moon's thermal properties at different depths.
  • PlanetVac is a technology for acquiring and transferring lunar regolith from the surface to other instruments that would analyze the material, or put it in a container that another spacecraft could return to Earth.
  • Sample Acquisition, Morphology Filtering, and Probing of Lunar Regolith (SAMPLR) is another sample acquisition technology that will make use of a robotic arm that is a flight spare from the Mars Exploration Rover mission, which included the long-lived rovers Spirit and Opportunity.
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UCB: Scientists Scramble to Build Payload for 2021 Moon Landing

Post by bystander » Mon Jul 08, 2019 5:59 pm

Scientists Scramble to Build Payload for 2021 Moon Landing
University of California, Berkeley | 2019 Jul 02
Scavenging spare parts and grabbing off-the-shelf hardware, University of California, Berkeley, space scientists are in a sprint to build scientific instruments that will land on the moon in a mere two years.

NASA announced yesterday that it has selected 12 scientific payloads to fly aboard three lunar landing missions within the next few years. One of them will be the Lunar Surface Electromagnetics Experiment (LuSEE), which will be built under the direction of Stuart Bale, a UC Berkeley professor of physics and a veteran of several past NASA missions, including the Parker Solar Probe that was launched last August.

The science and technology experiments will explore the moon’s surface environment in advance of upcoming human missions and are part of NASA’s collaboration with commercial partners to launch payloads — and, by 2024, humans — to the moon.

Bale and his colleagues at UC Berkeley’s Space Sciences Laboratory have less than $6 million to cover the costs, which means they will be co-opting spare parts originally built for the Parker Solar Probe and other spacecraft, including STEREO, which launched in 2006 and is still providing stereo views of the sun, and the 2013 MAVEN on a mission to Mars. The LuSEE will make comprehensive measurements of electromagnetic phenomena on the surface of the moon and erect a simple radio telescope — the first operational telescope on the moon. ...

The missions are part of NASA’s Commercial Lunar Payload Services program, which on May 31 commissioned three upstart companies to build lunar landers to return NASA to the moon 50 years after America last landed a spacecraft there: the Apollo 17 manned mission in 1972. These landers will carry the 12 payloads, seven of which will focus on answering questions in planetary science and heliophysics, and five on demonstrating new technologies. ...
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NASA Proposals Selected

Post by bystander » Fri Aug 16, 2019 2:40 pm

NASA Selects Proposals to Further Study the Fundamental Nature of Space
NASA | 2019 Aug 13

NASA has selected two proposals for concept studies that could help us better understand the fundamental nature of space and how it changes in response to planetary atmospheres, radiation from the Sun, and interstellar particles. The proposals will advance NASA’s heliophysics program and could lead to better protection for both technology and humans as we travel farther from home.

Each of these Heliophysics Science Mission of Opportunity proposals will receive $400,000 to conduct a nine-month mission concept study. After the studies, NASA will choose one proposal to launch as a secondary payload on the agency’s Interstellar Mapping and Acceleration Probe (IMAP). ...

Spatial/Spectral Imaging of Heliospheric Lyman Alpha (SIHLA)

SIHLA would map the entire sky to determine the shape and underlying mechanisms of the boundary between the heliosphere, the area of our Sun’s magnetic influence, and the interstellar medium, a boundary known as the heliopause. The observations would gather far-ultraviolet light emitted from hydrogen atoms. This wavelength is key for examining many astrophysical phenomena, including planetary atmospheres and comets, because so much of the universe is composed of hydrogen. SIHLA will focus on mapping the velocity and distribution of the solar wind – the outpouring of particles from the Sun – helping to resolve our understanding of what drives structure in the solar wind and heliopause. This is an area of research undergoing rapid evolution due to data from NASA missions, such as Voyager, Parker Solar Probe and Interstellar Boundary Explorer.

The principal investigator for SIHLA is Larry Paxton at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Maryland.

Global Lyman-alpha Imagers of the Dynamic Exosphere (GLIDE)

The GLIDE mission would study variability in Earth’s exosphere, the uppermost region of its atmosphere, by tracking far ultraviolet light emitted from hydrogen. The proposed mission would fill an existing measurement gap, as only a handful of such images previously have been made from outside the exosphere. The mission would gather observations at a high rate, with a view of the entire exosphere, ensuring a truly global and comprehensive set of data. Understanding the ways in which Earth’s exosphere changes in response to influences of the Sun above or the atmosphere below, would provide us with better ways to forecast and, ultimately, mitigate the ways in which space weather can interfere with radio communications in space.

The principal investigator for GLIDE is Lara Waldrop at the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana. ...

NASA Selects Proposals to Demonstrate SmallSat Technologies to Study Interplanetary Space
NASA | 2019 Aug 15

NASA has selected two proposals to demonstrate small satellite technologies to improve science observations in deep space, which could help NASA develop better models to predict space weather events that can affect astronauts and spacecraft. ...

Both proposals, funded at $400,000 for nine-month mission concept studies, were selected based on potential technology and science value and the feasibility of development plans. They support NASA’s heliophysics program, which seeks to better understand the nature of space throughout the solar system and how it changes in response to the constant outpouring of energy and particles from the Sun and how it interacts with planetary atmospheres. ...

Science-Enabling Technologies for Heliophysics (SETH)

SETH would demonstrate two technologies. The first is an optical communications technology for small satellites and CubeSats that is less complex than current systems and could enable a hundredfold increase in deep space data rates, while reducing the burden on NASA’s Deep Space Network. Such technology could help support future small satellite constellations that require high data rate communications systems.

The second technology demonstration aboard SETH detects solar energetic neutral atoms – fast-moving atoms flowing from the Sun that do not have a charge – as well as an array of waves and other particles that erupt from our Sun. Called the HELio Energetic Neutral Atom (HELENA) detector, the instrument provides observations that could enable advanced warnings of potential space radiation threats to astronauts.

The principal investigator for SETH is Antti Pulkkinen at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland.

Solar Cruiser

The Solar Cruiser investigation also demonstrates two technologies. A nearly 18,000-square-foot solar sail would demonstrate the ability to use solar radiation as a propulsion system. Such a system could provide views of the Sun not easily accessible with current technology.

The coronagraph instrument would enable simultaneous measurements of the Sun’s magnetic field structure and velocity of coronal mass ejections, or CMEs. These giant explosions of solar material are ejected into space and can set off space weather storms that, at their worst, interfere with utility grids on Earth. Improving data-gathering technology in this area is particularly useful for advance warning systems for at-risk infrastructure on Earth.

The principal investigator for Solar Cruiser is Les Johnson at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama. ...
Know the quiet place within your heart and touch the rainbow of possibility; be
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NASA Selects Proposals to Advance Understanding of Space Weather

Post by bystander » Wed Sep 04, 2019 6:01 pm

NASA Selects Proposals to Advance Understanding of Space Weather
NASA | 2019 Sep 03

NASA has selected three proposals for concept studies of missions that could help us better understand the dynamic space weather system driven by the Sun that manifests near Earth. The proposals examine what drives different parts of that system and ultimately could help us predict and mitigate its effects on spacecraft and astronauts, as NASA’s Artemis program looks to send the first woman and the next man to the Moon by 2024. ...

Each of these Heliophysics Mission of Opportunity proposals will receive $400,000 to conduct a nine-month mission concept study. After the study period, NASA will choose one proposal to go forward to launch. Each potential mission has a separate launch opportunity and time frame.

The proposals were selected based on potential science value and feasibility of development plans. The total cost for the mission ultimately chosen will be capped at $55 million and is funded by NASA’s Heliophysics Explorers’ program. ...
  • Extreme Ultraviolet High-Throughput Spectroscopic Telescope (EUVST) Epsilon Mission ~ EUVST would aim to provide an answer to a fundamental question in solar physics: How does the interplay of solar material – a hot plasma – and magnetic fields drive solar activity and eruptions, such as solar flares and coronal mass ejections? The mission would launch with the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency’s Solar-C mission, planned for 2025. EUVST would observe simultaneously, for the first time and over a wide range of the lower solar atmosphere, how magnetic fields and plasma interact. Those observations could help us learn more about how the two systems contribute to the dynamic atmosphere around the Sun. The principal investigator for EUVST is Clarence Korendyke at the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory in Washington.
  • Aeronomy at Earth: Tools for Heliophysics Exploration and Research (AETHER) ~ AETHER would explore the ionosphere-thermosphere system and its response to geomagnetic storms. From a position aboard the International Space Station, it could gather observations of the ionosphere – the area of our atmosphere that overlaps with the lower regions of space. These observations would be complemented by ground observations of electrons in the same region. The mission would provide information on how the neutral, terrestrial-weather-driven thermosphere interacts with the ionosphere’s charged particles. Understanding how the neutral atmosphere affects the ions and vice versa is key to better understanding the complex space weather system surrounding our planet, which affects spacecraft and astronauts flying through it. The launch of AETHER would be no later than 2024. The principal investigator for AETHER is James Clemmons at the University of New Hampshire in Durham.
  • Electrojet Zeeman Imaging Explorer (EZIE) ~ EZIE would focus on an electric current known as the auroral electrojet, which circles through the atmosphere around 60 to 90 miles above Earth, near the poles. Using three SmallSats to measure magnetic fields, EZIE would observe the structure of electrojets and explore what causes them and how they evolve. Electrojets are part of a larger space weather system that can lead to oscillations in Earth’s magnetic fields, creating geomagnetic storms that can interfere with spacecraft and – at their most intense – utility grids on the ground. Knowing how electrojets form and grow could contribute to ultimately predicting such storms. EZIE would launch as part of the agency’s CubeSat Launch Initiative. EZIE also would launch no later than 2024. The principal investigator for EZIE is Jeng-Hwa Yee at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Maryland.
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Clemson: Rocket Missions to Explore Aurora & Earth's Upper Atmosphere

Post by bystander » Thu Sep 12, 2019 3:57 pm

Clemson Physicists Lead Rocket Missions to
Further Explore Wonders of Earth’s Atmosphere

Clemson University | 2019 Sep 12

Clemson University physicists will conduct a pair of three-year rocket missions funded by NASA Heliophysics designed to deepen our understanding of the visible and invisible mechanisms that modulate energy into Earth’s atmosphere.

Stephen Kaeppler is the principal investigator on a project titled “INCAA,” which will study how energy is transferred and dissipated during colorful active auroras. Kaeppler has been awarded a $1.7 million collaborative grant. INCAA stands for “Ion-Neutral Coupling during Active Aurora.”

Gerald Lehmacher is the principal investigator on a project titled “VortEx,” which will study how turbulence and other dynamic activities that occur far above the Earth’s surface affect our planet’s atmosphere. Lehmacher has been awarded a $967,000 collaborative grant. VortEx stands for “Vorticity Experiment.” ...
Know the quiet place within your heart and touch the rainbow of possibility; be
alive to the gentle breeze of communication, and please stop being such a jerk.
— Garrison Keillor