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Galaxy Forum Kansas 2012 - Tom Armstrong

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History of Space / Voyager and More --- Galaxy Forum Kansas 2012 - Tom Armstrong

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Galaxy Forum Kansas 2012 - Tom Armstrong

  1. 1. Space History:Voyager and More Galaxy Forum September 22,2012 Thomas P. Armstrong
  2. 2. The US Response to USSR Sputnik 1 was Explorer 1. Launched January 31, 1958(William Pickering, James VanAllen, & Werner VonBraun shown with flight spare.)
  3. 3. Sputnik I The first Earth satellite.• Launched by the USSR on October 4, 1957• 22.5 inches in diameter• 184 pounds• Highest altitude 569 miles• Transmitted for 23 days• Radio frequencies were 20 and 40 Megacycles— received by amateurs all over the world• Established the USSR as the leader in the “Space Race” to the great embarrassment of the USA
  4. 4. • When Prof. VanAllen was asked by a reporter “What does the VanAllen belt look like?” his reply was “Tan, leather, with a brass buckle.”
  5. 5. Explorer I rates show that magnetic field controls the radiation and therefore confines it!! • Versus altitude • Versus Magnetic Different longitudes Field shows a • much simpler graph
  6. 6. Explorer I rates show that magnetic field controls the radiation and therefore confines it!! • Versus altitude • Versus Magnetic Different longitudes Field shows a • much simpler graph
  7. 7. What causes trapped radiation?1. Natural electrical processes resulting from the impact of solar “wind” (outflowing ionized solar atmosphere) on planetary magnetic fields.2. Capture of electrons and protons resulting from “Galactic Cosmic Rays” impacting on planetary atmospheres.3. Planets with magnetic fields (Earth, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune) all have trapped radiation.
  8. 8. Why worry about trapped radiation?• Radiation exposure is unhealthy for humans which limits astronaut operations in Earth orbit above about 500 km altitude.• Radiation can damage or destroy spacecraft solar cells and electronics limiting the operating life of systems. Communication satellites and GPS operate in high exposure regions.• Trapped radiation connects interplanetary disturbances produced by the Sun to changes in magnetic field at the Earth’s surface that sometimes produce power and communication failures.
  9. 9. Why people should care about space-derived knowledge1. There is a chance that Earth could be struck again by an asteroid- sized object that could end civilization. Warning and preparation could allow civilization to survive. Space operations will likely be required to reduce the effects of a collision.2. People require the Earth’s environment to survive. Global change occurs. Intelligent use of Earth’s resources informed by space observations may improve and extend the future of humanity.3. An important question in the human experience that may be answered by observations beyond Earth is the occurrence of extraterrestrial life, especially intelligent life. (Are “they” smarter than we are?)
  10. 10. Solar system objects that have hit the Earth and those that might HiroshimaSmaller but more frequent Larger but less frequent Dinosaur Extinction
  11. 11. What do these threats look like?
  12. 12. Earth-our home-seen from space From Apollo 17 L.E.O. composite
  13. 13. North America by night from space
  14. 14. Europe by night from space
  15. 15. The BIG question(s)1. Is Earth the only planet in the solar system with life?2. Is the Sun the only star with a planet that can sustain life?3. What is “dark matter”?4. What is “dark energy”?
  16. 16. 1. Is Earth the only planet in the solar system with life?• Robot explorations of Mars have not yet revealed any evidence of exobiology.• Atmospheric probes of Venus, Jupiter, and Titan have been made. No evidence of exobiological processes has been found.• Europa and Enceladus have liquid water under icy surfaces and are considered as possible habitats.• The search for life motivates human exploration of Mars.
  17. 17. 2. Is the Sun the only star with a planet that can sustain life?• Observations from the Kepler spacecraft show many multi-planet stellar systems in the galaxy.• Preliminary estimates suggest there may be more planets than stars in the galaxy.• A search for “Goldilocks” planets is proceeding with several candidates reported.• NASA’s James R. Webb telescope in development will allow spectroscopic studies of “Goldilocks” planets to obtain atmospheric composition. Biological activity might be detected by such observations.
  18. 18. Summary from the Kepler Mission
  19. 19. Mars to Earth sized planets discovered by Kepler
  20. 20. Kepler 22b- a habitable zone planet “Goldilocks”

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