Posts Tagged: Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences

Meteors help Martian clouds form

How did the Red Planet get all of its clouds? LASP scientists may have discovered the secret: just add meteors.

Astronomers have long observed clouds in Mars’ middle atmosphere, which begins about 18 miles (30 kilometers) above the surface, but have struggled to explain how they formed.

Now, a new study, published on June 17 in the journal Nature Geoscience, examines those wispy accumulations and suggests that they owe their existence to a phenomenon called “meteoric smoke”—essentially, the icy dust created by space debris slamming into the planet’s atmosphere.

LASP to collaborate on new Grand Challenge projects

The University of Colorado Boulder’s cross-campus Grand Challenge initiative this week announced the selection of three new additions to its portfolio starting this fall. The call for proposals, which was announced in June, funded one large research initiative at approximately $1 million per year and two smaller projects at $250,000 per year, each for at least three years. LASP will collaborate on the research initiative and on one of the two smaller projects.

The selections augment the current Grand Challenge portfolio, building on the accomplishments of Earth Lab, Integrated Remote and In Situ Sensing (IRISS), the university’s space minor, and the Center for the Study of Origins.

TSIS shipped to Kennedy Space Center for upcoming launch

A solar instrument package designed and built by LASP, considered a key tool to help monitor the planet’s climate, has arrived at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida for a targeted November launch.

The instrument suite is called the Total and Spectral solar Irradiance Sensor (TSIS-1) and was built for NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. The contract value to LASP is $90 million and includes the dual instrument suite and an associated ground system to manage TSIS mission operations.