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NASA to Showcase Earth Science Data at COP28
This illustration shows the international Surface Water and Ocean Topography (SWOT) satellite in orbit over Earth. SWOT’s main instrument, KaRIn, helps survey the water on more than 90% of Earth’s surface. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech. NASA/JPL-Caltech With 26 Earth-observing satellite missions, as well as instruments flying on planes and the space station, NASA has a global vantage point for studying our planet’s oceans, land, ice, and atmosphere and deciphering how changes in one drive change in others.
The agency will share that knowledge and data at the 28th U.N. Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP28), which brings international parties together to accelerate action toward the goals of the Paris Agreement and the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change. COP28 will be held at the Expo City in Dubai, United Arab Emirates from Thursday, Nov. 30 to Tuesday, Dec. 12.
All U.S. events at COP28 are open to the local press and will be live-streamed on the U.S. Center at COP28 website and the U.S. Center YouTube channel.
NASA takes a full-picture approach to understanding all areas of our home planet using our vast satellite fleet and the data collected from their observations. The agency’s data is open-source and available for the public and scientists to study. NASA is showcasing the data at COP28 to share the different ways it can be used globally. The agency’s complete collection of Earth data can be found here.
The scientific research and understanding developed from NASA’s Earth observations are made into predictive models. Those models can be used to develop applications and actionable science to inform individuals including civic leaders and planners, resource managers, emergency managers, and communities looking to mitigate and adapt to climate change.
These satellites and models are augmented by the observations made from the International Space Station. The inclined, low Earth orbit from the station provides variable views and lighting over more than 90 percent of the inhabited surface of the Earth, a useful complement to sensor systems on satellites in higher-altitude polar orbits.
Closer to the surface, NASA’s aviation research is focused on advancing technologies for more efficient airplane flight, including hybrid-electric propulsion, advanced materials, artificial intelligence, and machine learning. Technological advances in these areas have the potential to reduce human impacts on climate and air quality.
At the U.S. Center at COP28, in-person visitors can see the NASA Hyperwall where NASA scientists will provide live presentations showing how the agency’s work supports the Biden-Harris Administration’s agenda to encourage a governmentwide approach to climate change. During the hyperwall talks, NASA leaders, scientists and interagency partners will discuss the agency’s end-to-end research about our planet. This includes designing new instruments, satellites, and systems to collect and freely distribute the most complete and precise data possible about Earth’s land, ocean, and atmospheric system. A full schedule of NASA’s hyperwall talks is available.
Last Updated Nov 27, 2023 Editor Contact Related Terms
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NASA Selects 11 Space Biology Research Projects to Inform Biological Research During Future Lunar Exploration MissionsBy NASA
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NASA Selects 11 Space Biology Research Projects to Inform Biological Research During Future Lunar Exploration Missions
NASA announces the award of eleven grants or cooperative agreements for exciting new Space Biology research that will advance NASA’s understanding of how exposure to lunar dust/regolith impact both plant and animal systems.
As human exploration prepares to go beyond Earth Orbit, Space Biology is advancing its research priorities towards work that will enable organisms to Thrive In DEep Space (TIDES). The ultimate goal of the TIDES initiative is to enable long-duration space missions and improve life on Earth through innovative research. Space Biology supported research will enable the study of the effects of environmental stressors in spaceflight on model organisms, that will both inform future fundamental research, as well as provide valuable information that will better enable human exploration of deep space.
Proposals for these eleven projects were submitted in response to ROSES-2022 Program Element E.9 “Space Biology Research Studies” (NNH22ZDA001N-SBR). This funding opportunity solicited ground studies using plant or animal models (or their associated microbes) to characterize the responses of these organisms to lunar regolith simulant similar to that found at NASA candidate landing sites for future lunar exploration missions. This funding opportunity represents a collaboration between the Space Biology Program and NASA’s Astromaterials Research and Exploration Science (ARES) Division within the Exploration Architecture, Integration, and Science (EAIS) Directorate at the NASA Johnson Space Center, who will be supplying the lunar regolith simulant required for these studies.
Selected studies include (but are not limited to) efforts to 1) test the ability of lunar regolith to act as a growth substrate for crop-producing plants including grains, tomatoes and potatoes, 2) understand how growth in lunar regolith influences plant and microbial interactions, and how in turn, these interactions affect plant development and health, 3) identify and test bioremediation methods/techniques to enhance the ability of regolith to act as a growth substrate, and 4) understand how lunar dust exposure impacts host/microbial interactions in human-analogous model systems under simulated microgravity conditions.
Eleven investigators will conduct these Space Biology investigations from ten institutions in nine states. Eight of these awards are to investigators new to the Space Biology Program. When fully implemented, approximately $2.3 million will be awarded in fiscal years 2024-2027.
Plant Research Investigations
Simon Gilroy, Ph.D. University of Wisconsin, Madison
Tailoring Lunar Regolith to Plant Nutrition
Aymeric Goyer, Ph.D. Oregon State University
Growth, physiology and nutrition dynamics of potato plants grown on lunar regolith
Christopher Mason, Ph.D. Weill Medical College of Cornell University
Leveraging the microbes of Earth’s extreme environments for sustainable plant growth
in lunar regolith
Thomas Juenger, Ph.D. University of Texas, Austin
Engineering plant-microbial interactions for improved plant growth on simulated lunar regolith
Plant Early Career Research Investigations
Miranda Haus, Ph.D. Michigan State University
The sources and extent of root stunting during growth in lunar highland regolith and its impact on legume symbioses
Joseph Lynch, Ph.D. West Virginia University
The metabolomic impact of lunar regolith-based substrate on tomatoes
Jared Broddrick, Ph.D. NASA Ames Research Center
Phycoremediation of lunar regolith towards in situ agriculture
Shuyang Zhen, Ph.D. Texas A&M AgriLife Research
Investigating the impact of foliar and root-zone exposure to lunar regolith simulant on lettuce growth and stress physiology in a hydroponic system
Plant Small Scale Research Investigations
Kathryn Fixen, Ph.D. University of Minnesota
The impact of lunar regolith on nitrogen fixation in a plant growth promoting rhizobacterium
Animal Research Investigations
Cheryl Nickerson, Arizona State University
Effects of Lunar Dust Simulant on Human 3-D Biomimetic Intestinal Models, Enteric Microorganisms, and Infectious Disease Risks
Afshin Beheshti, Ph.D. NASA Ames Research CenterSpaceflight and Regolith Induced Mitochondrial Stress Mitigated by miRNA-based Countermeasures
Last Updated Nov 21, 2023 Related Terms
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7 Min Read Deformable Mirrors in Space: Key Technology toDirectly Image Earth Twins
Deformable Mirror Technology development
Deformable mirrors enable direct imaging of exoplanets by correcting imperfections or shape changes in a space telescope down to subatomic scales.
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Finding and studying Earth-like planets orbiting nearby stars is critical to understand whether we are alone in the universe. To study such planets and assess if they can sustain life, it is necessary to directly image them. However, these planets are difficult to observe, since light from the host star hides them with its glare. A coronagraph instrument can be used to remove the glare light from the host star, enabling reflected light from the planet to be collected. A deformable mirror is an essential component of a coronagraph, as it can correct the tiniest of imperfections in the telescope and remove any remaining starlight contamination.
Detecting an Earth-like planet poses significant challenges as the planet is approximately 10 billion times fainter than its parent star. The main challenge is to block nearly all of the star’s light so that the faint light reflected from the planet can be collected. A coronagraph can block the starlight, however, any instability in the telescope’s optics—such as misalignment between mirrors or a change in the mirror’s shape—can result in starlight leakage, causing glare that hides the planet. Therefore, detecting an Earth-like planet using a coronagraph requires precise control of both the telescope and the instrument’s optical quality, or wavefront, to an extraordinary level of 10s of picometers (pm), which is approximately on the order of the size of a hydrogen atom.
Deformable mirrors will enable future space coronagraphs to achieve this level of control. These devices will be demonstrated in space on a coronagraph technology demonstration instrument on NASA’s Roman Space Telescope, which will launch by May 2027. This technology will also be critical to enable a future flagship mission after Roman recommended by the 2020 Decadal Survey in Astronomy and Astrophysics, provisionally called the “Habitable Worlds Observatory” (HWO).
What is a deformable mirror and how do they work?
Deformable Mirrors (DM) are devices that can adjust the optical path of incoming light by changing the shape of a reflective mirror using precisely controlled piston-like actuators. By adjusting the shape of the mirror, it is possible to correct the wavefront that is perturbated by optical aberrations upstream and downstream of the DM. These aberrations can be caused by external perturbations, like atmospheric turbulence, or by optical misalignments or defects internal to the telescope.
DM technology originated to enable adaptive optics (AO) in ground-based telescopes, where the primary goal is to correct the aberrations caused by atmospheric turbulence. The main characteristics of a DM are: 1) the number of actuators, which is proportional to the correctable field of view; 2) the actuators’ maximum stroke – i.e., how far they can move; 3) the DM speed, or time required to modify the DM surface; 4) the surface height resolution that defines the smallest wavefront control step, and (5) the stability of the DM surface.
Ground-based deformable mirrors have set the state-of-the-art in performance, but to lay the groundwork to eventually achieve ambitious goals like the Habitable Worlds Observatory, further development of DMs for use in space is underway.
For a space telescope, DMs do not need to correct for the atmosphere, but instead must correct the very small optical perturbations that slowly occur as the space telescope and instrument heat up and cool down in orbit. Contrast goals (the brightness difference between the planet and the star) for DMs in space are on the order of 10-10 which is 1000 times deeper than the contrast goals of ground-based counterparts. For space applications total stroke requirements are usually less than a micrometer; however, DM surface height resolution of ~10 pm and DM surface stability of ~10 pm/hour are the key and driving requirements.
Another key aspect is the increased number of actuators needed for both space- and ground-based applications. Each actuator requires a high voltage connection (on the order of 100V) and fabricating a large number of connections creates an additional challenge.
Deformable Mirror State-of-the-Art
Two main DM actuator technologies are currently being considered for space missions. The first is electrostrictive technology, in which an actuator is mechanically connected to the DM’s reflective surface. When a voltage is applied to the actuator, it contracts and modifies the mirror surface. The second technology is the electrostatically-forced Micro Electro-Mechanical System (MEMS) DM. In this case, the mirror surface is deformed by an electrostatic force between an electrode and the mirror.
Several NASA-sponsored contractor teams are working on advancing the DM performance required to meet the requirements of future NASA missions, which are much more stringent than most commercial applications, and thus, have a limited market application. Some examples of those efforts include improving the mirror’s surface quality or developing more advanced DM electronics.
MEMS DMs manufactured by Boston Micromachines Corporation (BMC) have been tested in vacuum conditions and have undergone launch vibration testing. The largest space-qualified BMC device is the 2k DM (shown in Fig. 2), which has 50 actuators across its diameter (2040 actuators in total). Each actuator is only 400 microns across. The largest MEMS DM produced by BMC is the 4k DM, which has 64 actuators across its diameter (4096 actuators in total) and is used in the coronagraph instrument for the Gemini ground-based observatory. However, the 4k DM has not been qualified for space flight.
Fig. 2: The Boston Micromachines Corporation 2k DM that has 2040 actuators with 400 um pitch. Credit: Dr. Eduardo Bendek Electrostrictive DMs manufactured by AOA Xinetics (AOX) have also been validated in vacuum and qualified for space flight. The AOX 2k DM has a 48 x 48 actuator grid (2304 actuators) with a 1 mm pitch. Two of these AOX 2k DMs will be used in the Roman Space Telescope Coronagraph (Fig. 3) to demonstrate the DM technology for high-contrast imaging in space. AOX has also manufactured larger devices, including a 64 x 64 actuator unit tested at JPL.
Fig. 3: The Roman Space Telescope Coronagraph during assembly of the static optics at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory Credit: NASA Preparing the technology for the Habitable Worlds Observatory
Deformable Mirror technology has advanced rapidly, and a version of this technology will be demonstrated in space on the Roman Space Telescope. However, it is anticipated that for wavefront control for missions like the HWO, even larger DMs with up to ~10,000 actuators would be required, such as 96 x 96 arrays. Providing a high-voltage connection to each of the actuators is a challenge that will require a new design.
The HWO would also involve unprecedented wavefront control requirements, such as a resolution step size down to single-digit picometers, and a stability of ~10 pm/hr. These requirements will not only drive the DM design, but also the electronics that control the DMs, since the resolution and stability are largely defined by the command signals sent by the controller, which require the implementation of filters to remove any noise the electronics could introduce.
NASA’s Astrophysics Division investments in DM technologies have advanced DMs for space flight onboard the Roman Space Telescope Coronagraph, and the Division is preparing a Technology Roadmap to further advance the DM performance to enable the HWO.
Author: Eduardo Bendek, Ph.D. Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology.
The research was carried out at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, under a contract with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (80NM0018D0004).
Dr. Eduardo Bendek (JPL) and Dr. Tyler Groff (GSFC), Co-chairs of DM Technology Roadmap working group; Paul Bierden (BMC); Kevin King (AOX).
Astrophysics Division Strategic Astrophysics Technology (SAT) Program, and the NASA Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Program
Last Updated Nov 20, 2023 Related Terms
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3 Min Read Glenn in the Community
Astronomy At the Beach
NASA Glenn Research Center’s public engagement team member Matt Baeslack helps students better understand solar eclipses by showing them how to make their own handheld solar eclipse viewer to use for the event. Credit: NASA/Chris Hartensine
NASA’s Glenn Research Center joined more than 3,200 attendees at the 27th annual Astronomy at the Beach event in Brighton, Michigan, to raise awareness of astronomy, NASA, and STEM with the public. The Great Lakes Association of Astronomy Clubs hosted the two-day event at the Island Lake State Recreational Area on Sept. 22 and 23. NASA provided a hands-on activity, information about next year’s total solar eclipse, and models with details of the Artemis program to return humans to the Moon.
Space Apps Challenge Participants Build Innovative Solutions
Cleveland Space Apps Challenge participants work on computers at NASA’s Glenn Research Center. The event drew in-person participants from a wide variety of places and online participants from all over the world. Credit: NASA/Sara Lowthian-Hanna NASA’s Glenn Research Center hosted the Cleveland location for NASA’s 2023 Space Apps Challenge, marking the fifth time the center has acted as a site for the hackathon. On the weekend of Oct. 7 and 8, the Cleveland event attracted 50 participants organized into 13 teams. Nine of the teams had at least some of their members on-site. Participation doubled from the previous year. The winner of the Cleveland Space Apps Challenge was Team Vulcan, a group comprised entirely of NASA Glenn interns. Their VULCAN (Virtual Utility for Locating, Containing, and Assisting Notification) Fire Response Ops app used machine learning to detect probable fires from NASA LANDSAT data and alert local emergency services and residents.
NASA’s Glenn Research Center joined the world of hot air balloons when they participated in the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta in New Mexico. Credit: NASA/Chris Hartenstine Members of NASA’s Glenn Research Center’s Public Engagement team traveled to New Mexico during the annular solar eclipse for the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta from Oct. 9 to 12. An annular solar eclipse happens when the Moon passes between the Sun and Earth, but at or near its farthest point from Earth. The team provided education about the annular eclipse as well as information about the total eclipse coming up in April 2024 and NASA’s activities centered around the once-in-a-lifetime occurrence. The team also premiered NASA Glenn’s huge graphics truss exhibit system that highlights NASA’s objectives.
Full STEAM Ahead at Challenger Learning Center
Students line up inside the Challenger Learning Center in Oregon, Ohio, to learn more about the upcoming total solar eclipse and NASA’s Artemis missions. Credit: NASA/Heather Brown It was Full STEAM Ahead on Oct. 14 inside the Challenger Learning Center in Oregon, Ohio, where NASA’s Glenn Research Center experts and exhibits were on hand for approximately 400 students. Students lined up throughout the day to get their glasses for the upcoming total solar eclipse in April 2024 and learn about NASA’s Artemis missions. Glenn’s Graphics and Visualization Lab provided students a rare chance to “try on” different suits using an Astronaut Spacesuit Augmented Reality (AR) app, take an AR tour of Mars’ surface using real images from the Curiosity rover, and interact with SUSAN, an innovative hybrid-electric aircraft concept designed to advance the future of sustainable flight.
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Newest Astronaut Candidate Class Visits NASA’s Glenn Research Center
Members of NASA’s 2021 astronaut candidate class visited NASA’s Glenn Research Center in Cleveland on Oct. 5 and 6 to learn more about the scope of work at the center. NASA Glenn’s world-class facilities and expertise in power, propulsion, and communications are crucial to advancing the agency’s Artemis program.
Dr. Rickey Shyne, NASA Glenn Research Center’s director of Research and Technology, briefs astronaut candidates on Glenn’s core competencies.Credit: NASA/Jef Janis
The astronaut candidates, accompanied by Shannon Walker, deputy chief of the Astronaut Office, toured several facilities at both NASA Glenn campuses – Lewis Field in Cleveland and Neil Armstrong Test Facility in Sandusky, Ohio. Some of the key facilities included the Electric Propulsion and Power Laboratory, Aerospace Communications Facility, NASA Electric Aircraft Testbed, and Space Environments Complex.
During a tour in the Exercise Countermeasures Lab, NASA Glenn Research Center’s Kelly Gilkey, right, discusses the features of a harness prototype being tested for exercising in space. Credit: NASA/Jef Janis
The visit integrated briefings with senior leadership and opportunities to interact with staff, including early-career employees.
Astronaut candidates and NASA Glenn Research Center staff stand at the top of the Zero Gravity Research Facility’s drop tower. Credit: NASA/Jef Janis As part of their rigorous two-year training, these future explorers are visiting each NASA center and learning how to prepare for NASA’s missions of tomorrow.
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