LASP Director co-chairs report: single-agency Earth and space missions less risky

Nov 29, 2010

A new National Research Council report, co-chaired by Daniel Baker of CU/LASP and D. James Baker of the William J. Clinton Foundation, concludes that cooperation among federal agencies on space programs leads to costlier programs with greater risk and complexity. Daniel Baker said, “In many cases, an individual agency would do well to consider alternatives… Read more »

PRESS RELEASE: Collaborative LASP/Goddard Sun-Climate Research Center Announced

Nov 29, 2010

The University of Colorado Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics (LASP) and NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center announced the formation of a new collaborative research center dedicated to the study of the Sun’s effect on Earth’s climate. The center, called the Sun-Climate Research Center (SCRC), will be directed by Peter Pilewskie, a LASP research scientist… Read more »

Study reveals likelihood of ice caves on Mars

Oct 25, 2010

A recent study co-authored by LASP researcher Brian Toon used models to predict which regions on Mars could have ice caves. Ice caves are sometimes found on Earth in lava tubes left over from previous volcanic activity; on Mars, these ice caves could allow ice to exist in middle latitudes, where many lava tubes have… Read more »

Student-built space-science instrument breaks distance record; new results published

Oct 11, 2010

The Venetia Burney Student Dust Counter (SDC), a CU/LASP-built instrument aboard the NASA New Horizons mission to Pluto, just became the record-holder for the most distant functioning space dust detector ever in space. On October 10, the SDC surpassed the previous record when it flew beyond 18 astronomical units—one unit is the distance between the… Read more »

PRESS RELEASE: NASA gives LASP-led Mars mission green light

Oct 05, 2010

NASA announced today that the CU/LASP-led mission to Mars to investigate how the planet lost much of its atmosphere eons ago has been approved by the space agency to move into the development stage.

LASP researchers launch balloons to study ozone over Antarctica

Sep 30, 2010

LASP atmospheric researchers Linnea Avallone and Lars Kalnajs are currently at McMurdo Station, Antarctica, where they are participating in the Concordiasi campaign, a French-led project to study the Antarctic “ozone hole” using instrumentation on long-duration, super-pressure balloons.

PRESS RELEASE: LASP awarded $6.7 million to design instruments for NASA mission to sun

Sep 15, 2010

A team of experts from LASP at CU-Boulder has been awarded $6.7 million from NASA to design, develop, and test instruments for the fastest space probe ever built. The probe will orbit 22 times closer to the sun than Earth, and well inside the orbit of Mercury, to better understand how the sun ticks. Robert… Read more »

PRESS RELEASE: Students see ICESat satellite through the end of its life

Aug 30, 2010

University of Colorado at Boulder (CU) Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics (LASP) professionals and students have completed their role operating the NASA ICESat mission, one of five missions operated at LASP.  ICESat reached the end of its productive seven-year life in June, when NASA began decommissioning the satellite because of instrument failure. The remaining… Read more »

NASA’s Kepler mission discovers two planets transiting the same star

Aug 27, 2010

NASA’s Kepler spacecraft has discovered the first confirmed planetary system with more than one planet crossing in front of, or transiting, the same star.

The transit signatures of two distinct planets were seen in the data for the sun-like star designated Kepler-9. The planets were named Kepler-9b and 9c. The discovery incorporates seven months of observations of more than 156,000 stars as part of an ongoing search for Earth-sized planets outside our solar system. The findings will be published in Thursday’s issue of the journal Science.

PRESS RELEASE: Shrinking atmospheric layer linked to low levels of solar radiation

Aug 26, 2010

LASP scientist and CU professor Tom Woods contributed to a study indicating that large changes in the sun’s energy output may drive unexpectedly dramatic fluctuations in Earth’s outer atmosphere. The study, published today in Geophysical Research Letters, links a recent, temporary shrinking of a high atmospheric layer with a sharp drop in the sun’s ultraviolet… Read more »

AIM a success according to 2010 NASA Senior Review

Aug 24, 2010

The Aeronomy of Ice in the Mesosphere (AIM) mission, which studies polar mesospheric clouds(PMCs) and the atmosphere, was recently evaluated in the 2010 Senior Review of the NASA Heliophysics Mission Operations and Data Analysis program.  The AIM mission received an  “excellent” rating in both of the two categories evaluated—scientific merit and contribution to heliophysics goals…. Read more »

Final MESSENGER fly-by past Mercury reveals trove of data

Aug 24, 2010

Analysis of data from the third and final fly-by of the MESSENGER spacecraft in September 2009 has revealed a treasure trove of new information on the solar system’s innermost planet. MESSENGER is on its way to Mercury, where it will settle into orbit in March 2011 and help scientists answer crucial questions about Mercury’s geology, density, structure, and magnetic field. Three fly-bys of the planet, spaced over twenty months, have been necessary to guide the spacecraft into its upcoming orbit around Mercury beginning in March 2011.

Undergraduates wrap up summer research as part of annual program

Aug 23, 2010

The NSF Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program at CU-LASP came to an end on August 6th. Each year, the eight-week program brings students from all over the country to complete a summer-long research project working directly with scientists. This year, 16 students spent 8 weeks at either LASP, NCAR/HAO, NOAA/SWPC, or SwRI conducting research,… Read more »

LASP scientist publishes astronomy textbook

Aug 22, 2010

CU professor and LASP scientist Nick Schneider, together with three colleagues, have recently published the sixth edition of The Cosmic Perspective, a textbook used in introductory astronomy courses. The book covers a comprehensive survey of modern astronomy, from the universality of physics to our solar system and beyond.  The book is used at CU and… Read more »

Moon formation around Jupiter and Saturn

Aug 03, 2010

LASP scientist Glen Stewart recently co-authored a study published in The Astrophysical Journal concerning the formation of large moons around Jupiter and Saturn. The study shows that the differences between the satellites of Jupiter and Saturn—Jupiter has four large moons while Saturn has only one large moon and many small icy moons—informs how the moons were formed.

Polar mesospheric cloud season underway

Jul 30, 2010

According to Cora Randall, CU professor and LASP research associate, the Aeronomy of Ice in the Mesosphere (AIM) Cloud Imaging and Particle Size (CIPS) instrument saw this season’s first polar mesospheric clouds on May 28. Polar mesospheric clouds, also called noctilucent or “night shining” clouds, form at about 50 miles above Earth’s surface and can be seen when they reflect light after sunset. The Northern Hemisphere cloud season generally begins in late May and lasts until late August; in the Southern Hemisphere, the season goes from late November to late February.

LASP director explores value of GPS

Jul 26, 2010

In an op-ed published in The New York Times on May 27th, LASP Director Dan Baker explored the value of Global Positioning System (GPS) sensors, which are commonly used for navigation.  Developed by the military and implemented in 1973, GPS has been a significant advance in space technology.  Sensors on each satellite, the Nuclear Detonation… Read more »

LASP study supports idea of oceans on Mars

Jun 17, 2010

A vast ocean likely covered one-third of the surface of Mars some 3.5 billion years ago, according to a new study conducted by LASP scientists, further supporting the idea of a sustained sea on the Red Planet.

The study, authored by Gaetano Di Achille and Brian Hynek, is the first to combine the analysis of water-related features, including scores of delta deposits and thousands of river valleys to test for the occurrence of an ocean sustained by a global hydrosphere on early Mars.

LASP’s EVE launches aboard calibration rocket

Jun 04, 2010

A LASP-built instrument launched aboard a sounding rocket on May 3 with the goal of providing calibration data for a twin instrument already in flight aboard NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO). The “rocket-based” Extreme ultraviolet Variability Experiment, or EVE, was launched from the Air Force’s White Sands Missile Range near Las Cruces, New Mex.

Our new look: LASP web redesign

May 12, 2010

If you are a frequent visitor to the LASP website, you will notice that things have changed. LASP is currently updating its more than 300 web pages across the site, beginning with a new home page and top-level pages. Updates to secondary pages will follow and still currently maintain the older look and feel. Below… Read more »

Hubble for the Sun: SDO’s First Light

Apr 21, 2010

NASA recently unveiled initial images from the Solar Dynamics Observatory, or SDO, including images from a powerful ultraviolet instrument built at LASP. Launched on Feb. 11, SDO is the most advanced spacecraft ever launched to study the sun and its dynamic behavior. The spacecraft will provide images with clarity ten times better than high definition… Read more »

Distinguished Research Lecture April 16

Apr 12, 2010

On Friday, April 16th, Dr. Daniel Baker, director of the Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics (LASP), will be honored at the 2010 Distinguished Research Lecture and Reception. The event will be held on the CU-Boulder campus at 3 p.m. in room 100 of the Mathematics building and is free and open to the public…. Read more »

LASP scientist to lead two new lunar programs

Apr 10, 2010

LASP scientist Mihaly Horanyi is an international leader in the study of lunar dust. Now Horanyi and his CU Boulder-based team are working to establish the Colorado Center for Lunar Dust and Atmospheric Studies, which will conduct both experimental and modeling research into the nature of dust on the moon and its impact for human exploration of the moon.

Dan Baker elected to National Academy of Engineering

Feb 14, 2010

The National Academy of Engineering (NAE) announced on Feb. 17, 2010, that Dr. Daniel N. Baker, director of the Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics, was elected as a new academy member. Baker was honored for his leadership in the study of, and for his development of predictive tools for, the Earth’s radiation environment. He… Read more »

SDO EVE launch event open house

Feb 03, 2010

Event Date: Wednesday, February 10, 2010 Join Us at the Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics (LASP) for the launch of the Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) which includes the LASP-built instrument Extreme ultraviolet Variability Experiment (EVE). SDO is NASA’s first satellite in the Living With a Star program. 7:30 am — Doors open 7:45 am… Read more »

CU-Boulder director and faculty member Daniel Baker wins AIAA Leadership in Space Research award

Jan 13, 2010

The American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) has awarded University of Colorado at Boulder Professor Daniel N. Baker with the prestigious James A. Van Allen Space Environments Award for excellence and leadership in space research. Baker, director of CU-Boulder’s Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics (LASP), received the award of excellence with emphasis “in… Read more »