SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY

USU physicists lead NASA mission

Nov 14, 2023, 6:29 PM | Updated: Nov 15, 2023, 9:49 am

LOGAN — A NASA mission is being run from right here in Utah. Everything from the design and build of some high-tech equipment to mission control and research is based in Logan.

The researchers hope it could mean more partnerships in the future. For now, they’re just excited to see what they can find as NASA takes a first-ever study of gravity waves as seen from space.

It’s called the Atmospheric Waves Experiment, or AWE, and it’s one of the payloads that just launched en route to the International Space Station last week.

And now comes the anticipation.

AWE project manager Burt Lamborn, “I’m personally very excited to see what, what the scientists are going to do with this data. This will be, could revolutionize our understanding of earth’s weather connection to space weather.”

Burt Lamborn

Burt Lamborn is one of the AWE project managers. (KSL TV)

Lamborn is based at Space Dynamics Laboratory, where scientists designed the instrument that will help take a close look at gravity waves from space.

The device has four infrared telescopes that could start taking readings as soon as this weekend.

“I mean, unbelievable. When you think of how much work is put into bringing this instrument alive and then putting it on the space station,” Mike Taylor said. He’s one of the Utah State University physicists who will analyze the data.

Ludger Scherliess is a physicist on the same team.

Ludger Scherliess and Mike Taylor

Ludger Scherliess and Mike Taylor are physicists on the AWE team. (KSL TV)

“What we are trying to understand was the AWE mission is the connection between weather on the ground, tropospheric weather, and weather out in space,” Scherliess said.

It’s believed that space weather has an impact on satellite communications and GPS and how well they work at different times.

“So that energy is there and we’re trying to assess that on a global scale,” Taylor said.

What they learn could be monumental. Only time will tell.

“This is just a dream come true,” Scherliess said.

Physicists here at Utah State University will be studying those gravity waves for the next two years.

The hope is that based on what they find, NASA could eventually come up with a way to possibly forecast that space weather and when it may impact satellite communications.

In September a capsule from the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft landed in the Utah desert. The OSIRIS-REx capsule collected samples from an asteroid called Bennu. The mission lasted seven years and spanned almost a half-billion miles.

The cameras on OSIRIS-REx were designed at Utah State University’s Space Dynamics Laboratory. They were used to see where to land on the asteroid.

The president of the USU lab, Dr. Jed Hancock, celebrated the cameras his teams and students created by calling it a “mission success.”

“The detectors, the electronics that bring all the information back to planet Earth (help us) to make the most important scientific decisions about where to sample and if the sample was collected properly,” Hancock said.

KSL 5 TV Live

Science & Technology

FILE - Boeing's Starliner capsule atop an Atlas V rocket is seen at Space Launch Complex 41 at the ...

Marcia Dunn, The Associated Press

Boeing’s 1st astronaut flight now set for June after a review of small leak on new capsule

Boeing is now aiming for its first astronaut launch at the beginning of June, after spending the past few weeks struggling with more problems on the space capsule.

3 days ago

A Bell 505 helicopter demonstrated the takeoff and landing capabilities that future air taxis will ...

Kiersten Nunez

A glimpse into the future of urban air travel with Utah’s first vertiport demonstration

An empty parking lot in Layton has been transformed into the stage for Utah’s first vertiport demonstration, offering a vision of the future of urban air travel.

8 days ago

Madison Police Department Mid Town District Capt. Jason Freedman and Det. Lindsey Ludden talk with ...

Associated Press

Bones found in 1989 in chimney identified as man who last contacted relatives in 1970

Authorities say human bones found inside the chimney of a Wisconsin music store in 1989 have been identified as those of a man whose last known contact with relatives was in 1970.

11 days ago

Visitors look at the skeleton of a gigantic Triceratops over 66 million years old, named "Big John,...

Katie Hunt, CNN

Mystery of warm-blooded dinosaurs could be unraveled by new study

Were dinosaurs warm-blooded like birds and mammals or cold-blooded like reptiles? It’s one of paleontology’s oldest questions. Here's what new research found.

13 days ago

A box full of donated eclipse glasses being inspected by Boy Scouts to help a local business owner ...

Lauren Steinbrecher

Utah eclipse glasses program calls for volunteers after overwhelming donation response

A Provo eclipse glasses donation program is asking for help to sort through hundreds of thousands of glasses people have been sending in from all over the country.

18 days ago

This image provided by NASA shows a solar flare, as seen in the bright flash in the lower right,  c...

Marcia Dunn, AP Aerospace Writer

Strong solar storm could disrupt communications and produce northern lights in US

An unusually strong solar storm headed toward Earth could produce northern lights in the U.S. and potentially disrupt power and communications this weekend.

18 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Electrician repairing ceiling fan with lamps indoors...

Lighting Design

Stay cool this summer with ceiling fans

When used correctly, ceiling fans help circulate cool and warm air. They can also help you save on utilities.

Side view at diverse group of children sitting in row at school classroom and using laptops...

PC Laptops

5 Internet Safety Tips for Kids

Read these tips about internet safety for kids so that your children can use this tool for learning and discovery in positive ways.

Women hold card for scanning key card to access Photocopier Security system concept...

Les Olson

Why Printer Security Should Be Top of Mind for Your Business

Connected printers have vulnerable endpoints that are an easy target for cyber thieves. Protect your business with these tips.

Modern chandelier hanging from a white slanted ceiling with windows in the backgruond...

Lighting Design

Light Up Your Home With These Top Lighting Trends for 2024

Check out the latest lighting design trends for 2024 and tips on how you can incorporate them into your home.

Technician woman fixing hardware of desktop computer. Close up....

PC Laptops

Tips for Hassle-Free Computer Repairs

Experiencing a glitch in your computer can be frustrating, but with these tips you can have your computer repaired without the stress.

Close up of finger on keyboard button with number 11 logo...

PC Laptops

7 Reasons Why You Should Upgrade Your Laptop to Windows 11

Explore the benefits of upgrading to Windows 11 for a smoother, more secure, and feature-packed computing experience.

USU physicists lead NASA mission