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.


 
   
 

 
NASA JPL image

NASA analysis: 11 trillion gallons to replenish California drought losses

NASA JPL image NASA satellite data reveal the severity of California’s drought on water resources across the state. This map shows the trend in water storage between September 2011 and September 2014. It will take about 11 tr...
 
 
NASA photograph by George Hale

NASA’s IceBridge Antarctic campaign wraps up

NASA photograph by George Hale A view from an IceBridge survey flight Nov. 3, 2014, showing a cloud’s shadow on crevassed Antarctic ice. NASA’s Operation IceBridge recently completed its 2014 Antarctic campaign, marking the...
 
 

NASA’s 2014 HS3 hurricane mission investigated four tropical cyclones

NASA photograph NASA’s Global Hawk takes off into the sunset after mission wrap-up at NASA Wallops and heads back to NASA Armstrong. NASA’s Hurricane and Severe Storms Sentinel, or HS3, mission investigated four tropical cyclones in the 2014 Atlantic Ocean hurricane season: Cristobal, Dolly, Edouard and Gonzalo. The storms affected land areas in the Atlantic...
 

 

NASA tests software that may help increase flight efficiency, decrease aircraft noise

NASA researchers Dec. 12 began flight tests of computer software that shows promise in improving flight efficiency and reducing environmental impacts of aircraft, especially on communities around airports. Known as ASTAR, or Airborne Spacing for Terminal Arrival Routes, the software is designed to give pilots specific speed information and guidance so that planes can be...
 
 
nasa-app-challenge

Help U.S. cope with climate change: Enter NASA-USGS data app challenge

NASA in partnership with the U.S. Geological Survey is offering more than $35,000 in prizes to citizen scientists for ideas that make use of climate data to address vulnerabilities faced by the United States in coping with clim...
 
 
dryden-social3

Event introduces attendees to NASA’s aviation contributions

  NASA is transforming aviation by reducing aircraft environmental impacts, enhancing safety and leading the way in revolutionary new technologies. Those are some of the key ideas from a two-day NASA Aeronautics Research M...
 




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>