Navigation Links
Small satellite takes on large thunderstorms
Date:11/17/2008

Firefly, it's called, this new small satellite mission sponsored by the National Science Foundation (NSF). It's designed to help solve the mystery of the most powerful natural particle accelerator in Earth's atmosphere: TGFs, or terrestrial gamma-ray flashes. TGFs likely result from thunderstorms.

The mission is the second project under the new NSF CubeSat program. A CubeSat satellite, about the size of a loaf of bread, consists of three cubes attached end to end in a rectangular shape.

The Firefly team is a collaboration of scientists and students at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md.; Siena College, Loudonville, N.Y.; Universities Space Research Association, Columbia, Md.; Hawk Institute for Space Science, Pocomoke City, Md.; and University of Maryland Eastern Shore, Princess Anne, Md.

"Integrating innovative and creative educational efforts with front-line research is what NSF is all about," said NSF Deputy Director Kathie L. Olsen. "The new CubeSat program uses the transformational technology of CubeSats to do just that. The Firefly mission is a terrific example of a program that will pursue scientific discovery, while providing unique and inspiring educational opportunities."

TGFs are short, powerful bursts of gamma rays emitted into space from Earth's upper atmosphere. The gamma rays are thought to be emitted by electrons traveling at or near the speed of light when they are slowed down by interaction with atoms in the upper atmosphere. These events may occur much more often than realized and may be associated with a significant fraction of the roughly 60 lightning strokes per second that occur worldwide. They could have a large effect on the upper atmosphere and near-Earth space, scientists say.

Build-up of electric charge at the tops of thunder clouds from lightning discharges can create a large electric field between the tops of clouds and the ionosphere, the outer layer of Earth's atmosphere. But how this might lead to the generation of these extremely energetic electrons is not well understood.

"This mission could provide the first direct evidence for the relationship between lightning and TGFs, and addresses an important research question in atmospheric electricity," said Anne-Marie Schmoltner, head of NSF's Atmospheric Sciences Division's Lower Atmosphere Research Section. "Identifying the source of terrestrial gamma ray flashes would be a great step toward fully understanding the physics behind lightning and its effect on the Earth's atmosphere." To accomplish these goals, Firefly will carry a gamma-ray detector along with a suite of instruments to detect lightning.

Students will be involved in all aspects of the project, from design and development, through fabrication and test, to mission operations and data analysis.


'/>"/>

Contact: Cheryl Dybas
cdybas@nsf.gov
703-292-7734
National Science Foundation
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Nanoparticles in the home: More and smaller than previously detected
2. Networks of small habitat patches can preserve urban biodiversity
3. Studies of small water fleas help ecologists understand population dynamics
4. When particles are so small that they seep right through skin
5. Exciting new companies at NJITs small biz incubator get 100K in grants
6. Exciting new companies at NJITs small biz incubator get 100K in lrants
7. Americas smallest dinosaur uncovered
8. High blood pressure takes big toll on small filtering units of the kidney
9. In spiders, size matters: Small males are more often meals
10. Photos reveal Myanmars large and small predators
11. Pay attention! Small packages may lead to overeating
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:6/30/2017)... , June 30, 2017 Today, ... developer and supplier of face and eye tracking ... Featured Product provider program. "Artificial ... innovative way to monitor a driver,s attentiveness levels ... from being able to detect fatigue and prevent ...
(Date:5/16/2017)... 2017  Veratad Technologies, LLC ( www.veratad.com ), an ... identity verification solutions, announced today they will participate as ... 15 thru May 17, 2017, in Washington ... Center. Identity impacts the lives of ... quickly evolving digital world, defining identity is critical to ...
(Date:4/19/2017)... , April 19, 2017 The ... vendor landscape is marked by the presence of several ... however held by five major players - 3M Cogent, ... companies accounted for nearly 61% of the global military ... companies in the global military biometrics market boast global ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:10/12/2017)... York, NY (PRWEB) , ... October 12, 2017 ... ... Academy of Sciences today announced the three Winners and six Finalists of the ... are given annually by the Blavatnik Family Foundation and administered by the New ...
(Date:10/12/2017)... ... October 12, 2017 , ... BioMedGPS announces expanded coverage of ... newest module, US Hemostats & Sealants. , SmartTRAK’s US Market for Hemostats and ... synthetic sealants and biologic sealants used in surgical applications. BioMedGPS estimates the market ...
(Date:10/11/2017)... ... October 11, 2017 , ... At its national board ... Suneel I. Sheikh, the co-founder, CEO and chief research scientist of Minnesota-based Advanced ... for membership in ARCS Alumni Hall of Fame . ASTER Labs is ...
(Date:10/11/2017)... ... October 11, 2017 , ... ComplianceOnline’s Medical Device Summit is back for its ... 2018 in San Francisco, CA. The Summit brings together current and former FDA office ... directors and government officials from around the world to address key issues in device ...
Breaking Biology Technology: