On any individual mission, LASP may have one or more roles: science direction and research, engineering of an individual instrument or component, engineering of an entire instrument suite, mission operations of individual instruments, or mission operations for the spacecraft as a whole. CU undergraduate and graduate students are involved in many of these roles, including scientific research.
Below, we highlight the role of LASP Science on a small selection of ongoing and retired missions. For a full listing, please see Missions & Projects.
The NASA SORCE mission carries four instruments that take data to help scientists understand the influence of the Sun on the Earth system. LASP developed and built all four instruments, operates the spacecraft, plans instrument activities, and handles data processing and analysis. SORCE is an example of a mission that benefited from LASP involvement in all areas—science, engineering, and operations.
For more information, see SORCE at LASP.
Studies indicate that the Martian atmosphere has changed greatly over time, from a thicker atmosphere to the thin atmosphere we see now. What happened to the Martian atmosphere? Why did it change so dramatically? These are questions we hope to begin addressing through the LASP-led NASA Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution Mission (MAVEN). The mission is led by LASP scientist Bruce Jakosky, with multiple instrument PIs at LASP and the Remote Sensing Package built on site.
For more information, see MAVEN at LASP.
This NASA mission to Mercury will visit the least-explored terrestrial planet in our solar system. Instrument PI Bill McClintock, a LASP scientist, led the development of the Mercury Atmospheric and Surface Composition Spectrometer (MASCS) instrument.
For more information, see MESSENGER at LASP.
Launched in 1997, this international mission is probing Saturn’s system—its atmosphere, moons, and rings. LASP scientist Larry Esposito was PI on the Ultraviolet Imaging Spectrograph (UVIS) Instrument.
For more information, see Cassini-Huygens at LASP.
Launched in 1977, these ongoing missions targeted Jupiter and Saturn, and have gone on to the outer solar system. Former LASP Director Charles Barth was instrument PI on the photopolarimeter instruments.
For more information, see Voyager 1&2 at LASP.