Tech

August 18, 2012

NASA ER-2 collects Perseids meteor shower dust

This Large Area Collector sensor is carried under the wing of a high-altitude NASA ER-2. When the aircraft reaches 65,000 feet altitude, the clam shell-like doors open to reveal pads covered with sticky oil that traps microscopic cosmic material.

NASA’s high-flying ER-2 science aircraft is looking deeper into the skies overhead the week of Aug. 13.

The aircraft is flying three eight-hour missions to collect cosmic dust during the Perseids meteor shower. Samples collected during the flights provide valuable information about the origin and history of the solar system.

ER-2 No. 809, carrying Large Area Collectors mounted under both wings, flies to an altitude of more than 65,000 feet. The pilot then activates the collectors’ clam shell-like doors revealing pads coated with a sticky, sterile silicone oil. The doors are closed as the aircraft descends, sealing the pads that are later sent to NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston for curation, preliminary characterization, and then made available to qualified scientists worldwide.

The Large Area Collector sensor is mounted under the wing of NASA’s ER-2 high-altitude aircraft as it awaits a cosmic dust collection mission. Collected samples provide valuable information about the origin and the history of the solar system.

The Perseids is an annual meteor shower visible from mid-July through mid-August, primarily in the Northern Hemisphere. Although the shower is visible to the human eye at night, the aircraft is collecting cosmic debris during daytime hours.

“The collection is timed to catch the particles after they have settled into the lower stratosphere,” said Mike Zolensky, a space scientist at NASA Johnson who has coordinated cosmic dust flights with these devices for more than 25 years.

NASA’s ER-2s are based at the Dryden Aircraft Operations Facility in Palmdale, Calif. The Large Area Collectors were developed in the 1980s by NASA’s Ames Research Center at Moffett Field, Calif., for Earth science research.

 




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
   
 

 
KMel Robotics photograph

Researchers test insect-inspired robots

KMel Robotics photograph These nano-quads are the size that the U.S. Army Research Laboratory Micro-Autonomous Systems Technology consortium of researchers envision. The current state is about as compact as a microwave oven. &n...
 
 
NASA photograph

NASA teams with South Korean agency to further improve air traffic management

NASA photograph Jaiwon Shin, NASAís associate administrator for Aeronautics Research, and Jaeboong Lee, president of the Korea Agency for Infrastructure Technology Advancement, signed an agreement Nov. 17, 2014 in Seoul, South...
 
 

Air Force funds research on thermal management technology for fighter aircraft

Managing heat that is generated by electronic subsystems in next-generation aircraft is a vexing challenge for aerospace system designers. In the interest of meeting this challenge, the Air Force recently provided follow-on funding for a Small Business Innovation Research effort that is identifying improved methods for heat conduction and rejection from system electronics for advanced...
 

 

Report: Major federal lab misused contract funds

Managers at one of the nation’s premier federal laboratories improperly used taxpayer funds to influence members of Congress and other officials as part of an effort to extend the lab’s $2.4 billion management contract, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Inspector General said in a report Nov. 12. A review of documents determined that...
 
 

Teams announced for NASA 2015 robotics operations competition

Eight universities have advanced to the next round of “RASC-AL Robo-Ops,” a planetary rover robotics engineering competition sponsored by NASA and organized by the National Institute of Aerospace. The teams selected are California State University Long Beach, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge; San Jose State University in California; University of Buffalo in New York;...
 
 
NASA photograph by Ken Ulbrich

NASA tests revolutionary shape changing aircraft flap for first time

NASA photograph by Ken Ulbrich For taxi testing Oct. 31, 2014, at NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., the Adaptive Compliant Trailing Edge flap was extended to 20 degrees deflection. Fli...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>