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[NASA Gravity Assist] : Season 5
« dnia: Listopad 27, 2022, 22:37 »
Gravity Assist: Season 5 Trailer – What’s Your Gravity Assist?
Apr 9, 2021

Go behind the scenes at NASA with Chief Scientist Jim Green in the Gravity Assist podcast. We’ll talk to people who work in lots of different areas to make space missions and scientific investigations happen. How does someone become an astronaut, or an engineer working on the Ingenuity helicopter, or a science communicator? Everyone has a gravity assist – that person, place, thing, or event that inspired them to do what they’re doing now. New episodes will be released on Fridays. Check out the podcast at .


Season 5

01)  Trailer – What’s Your Gravity Assist? Apr 9, 2021

02) Black Hole Mysteries, with Jeremy Schnittman (2) Apr 16, 2021

03) Talking to Ingenuity and Other Space Robots, with Nacer Chahat Apr 23, 2021

04) Breaking Barriers, with Dana Bolles (2) Apr 30, 2021

05) Always an Astronaut, with Ken Bowersox (2) May 14, 2021

06) Listening to the Universe, with Kim Arcand (2) May 21, 2021

07) Before You Launch: Practice, Practice, Practice (2)  Jun 4, 2021

08) From Space Camp to Mission Control, with Tara Ruttley (2) Jun 11, 2021

09) Let’s Talk About Climate Change, with Gavin Schmidt (2) Jun 18, 2021

10) This Asteroid Is Metal, With Lindy Elkins-Tanton (2) Jul 2, 2021

11) A Dream, a Team, a Chance to Fly on Mars, with MiMi Aung (2) Jul 9, 2021

12) Onward to Venus, with Lori Glaze (2) Jul 23, 2021

13) Diving Into NASA History, with NASA Intern Felicia Ragucci (2)  Jul 30, 2021

14) Freaky Physics on the Space Station, with Ethan Elliott (2) Aug 6, 2021

15) Goodbye Saturn, Hello Earth, with Janelle Wellons (2) Aug 27, 2021

16) Lucy and the Space Fossils, with Hal Levison (2) Oct 8, 2021

17) Meet a Space Weather Scientist, with Yaireska Collado-Vega (2) Oct 22, 2021

18) Solar Power for the Moon, with Lyndsey McMillon-Brown Oct 29, 2021

19) How to Move an Asteroid, with Nancy Chabot (2) Nov 19, 2021

20) A New Set of X-Ray Eyes is Launching, with Martin Weisskopf (2) Dec 3, 2021

21) Meet NASA’s New Chief Scientist and Senior Climate Advisor, with Kate Calvin (2)  Jan 28, 2022

22) In Case of Space Station Emergency, with Sunny Panjwani (2) Feb 18, 2022

23) Using Webb to Trace Galactic Histories, with Aaron Yung (2) Mar 4, 2022

24) These Space Rocks Have Seen It All, with Neyda Abreu (2) Mar 18, 2022

25) Do Other Planets Make Pollution? With Ravi Kopparapu (2) Apr 8, 2022

26) Walking on Broken Ice, with Catherine Walker (2) Apr 22, 2022

27) How to Grow Food on the Moon (2) May 13, 2022

28) What Will We Eat on Mars? (2) May 20, 2022

29) This is What Mars Sounds Like, with Nina Lanza (2) Jun 17, 2022

30) It’s Raining Diamonds on These Planets (2) Jul 1, 2022

31)  How We Make Webb (and Hubble) Images (2) Jul 8, 2022

32)  Meet a Webb Scientist Who Looks Back in Time (2) Jul 29, 2022

33) Finale: Thanks for All the Gravity Assists (2) AUG 12, 2022

Season 1

01)   NASA’s New “Gravity Assist” Podcast Debuts Nov. 15, 2017
02)   The Sun with Nicky Fox (2) Nov. 15, 2017
03)   Mercury with Faith Vilas (2) Nov. 22, 2017
04)   Venus with David Grinspoon (2) Nov. 29, 2017
05)   Earth with Tom Wagner (2) Dec. 6, 2017
06)   The Moon with Sarah Noble (2) Dec. 13, 2017
07)   Mars with Bruce Jakosky and Michael Meyer (2) Dec. 20, 2017
08)   Jupiter with Jared Espley (2) Jan. 3, 2018
09)   Saturn with Linda Spilker (2) Jan. 10, 2018
10)   Ice Giants (Uranus & Neptune) with Amy Simon (2) Jan. 17, 2018
11)   Pluto with Alan Stern (2) Jan. 24, 2018
12)  The Kuiper Belt with Alan Stern (2) Jan. 31, 2018
13)  Science & Science Fiction with Andy Weir (2) Feb. 7, 2018

Season 2

01)  Explorer 1 & Jim Green’s ‘Gravity Assist’ (2) March 1, 2018
02)  TESS & Exoplanets with Martin Still (2) April 12, 2018
03)  Mars and InSight with Bruce Banerdt (2) May 2, 2018
04)  Exploring Mars with Spirit and Opportunity with Steve Squyres (2) July 3, 2018
05)  Asteroid Hunting with Lindley Johnson (2) July 17, 2018
06)  Exoplanet Hunting with Jon Jenkins (2) Aug. 1, 2018
07)  Mars Dust Storm with Melinda Kahre Aug. 15, 2018
08)  Sunspots and Solar Flares with Alex Young (2) Sept. 11, 2018
09)  Planetary Defense and Oumuamua with Kelly Fast (2) Sept. 26, 2018
10)  The Sun’s Mysteries with Thomas Zurbuchen (2) Dec. 11, 2018

Season 3

01)  Trailer Apr 1, 2019
02)  With Jim Bridenstine (2) April 11, 2019
03)  Buying a Ride to the Moon Through Commercial Partnerships, with Steven Clarke April 24, 2019
04)  Where Could We Go on the Moon? With Steve Mackwell (2) May 2, 2019
05)  Why Do We Have a Moon? With Robin Canup (2) May 9, 2019
06)  Where's the Water on the Moon? With Jen Heldmann (2) May 30, 2019
07)  Why So Many Craters on the Moon? With David Kring (2) June 6, 2019
08)  Mapping the Moon, with Noah Petro (2) June 13, 2019
09)  The Moon Rocks! With Barbara Cohen (2) June 21, 2019
10)  Your Moon Questions Answered (2) June 28, 2019
11)  Beyond Apollo with Planetary Geologist Jake Bleacher (2) July 18, 2019
12)  When the Moon Was Like a Magnet, with Sonia Tikoo (2) Aug. 23, 2019
13)  Fire Fountains on the Moon, with Dave Draper (2) Sept. 12, 2019
14)  The Moon Quakes! With Walter Kiefer (2) Sept. 27, 2019
15)  The Moon's Holy GRAIL, with Maria Zuber (2) Dec. 10, 2019
16)  Astronauts Go Back to Moon School, with Kelsey Young (2) Dec. 19, 2019

Season 4
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Odp: [NASA Gravity Assist] : Season 5
« Odpowiedź #1 dnia: Listopad 27, 2022, 22:37 »
Jedna na 1000 gwiazd staje się czarną dziurą, czyli czeka Wszechświat dość czarna przyszłość.

But one in 1,000 stars becomes a black hole at the end of its life. And if you think about the fact that we have over 100 billion stars in the Milky Way, you do the math and you end up with over 100 million black holes floating around the Milky Way. And we've seen 40 of them. So that leaves 99,999,000 and change that we've never even detected, and they're just going to be sprinkled throughout the, the Milky Way, just like all the stars.

Gravity Assist: Black Hole Mysteries, with Jeremy Schnittman (1)
Apr 16, 2021

Explore how the extreme gravity of two orbiting supermassive black holes distorts our view. In this visualization, disks of bright, hot, churning gas encircle both black holes, shown in red and blue to better track the light source. The red disk orbits the larger black hole, which weighs 200 million times the mass of our Sun, while its smaller blue companion weighs half as much. Zooming into each black hole reveals multiple, increasingly warped images of its partner. Watch to learn more. Credits: NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center/Jeremy Schnittman and Brian P. Powell

What is a black hole? How do we study them when we can’t see them? Astrophysicist Jeremy Schnittman from NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center joins NASA Chief Scientist Jim Green for a fascinating conversation about the latest black hole research.

Jim Green: NASA’s celebrating black hole week. Let's talk to an expert that can tell us about these very strange and mysterious objects.

Jim Green: Hi, I'm Jim Green. And this is a new season of Gravity Assist. We're going to explore the inside workings of NASA in making these fabulous missions happen.

Jim Green: I'm here with Dr. Jeremy Schnittman. And he is a research astrophysicist at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center. He joins us here on Black Hole Week, when NASA is celebrating that very strange and mysterious object we call black holes. Welcome, Jeremy, to Gravity Assist.

Jeremy Schnittman: Thanks, Jim. It's great to be here.

Jim Green: Your NASA webpage states that you call yourself a “general purpose astrophysicist theorist.” What does that mean? And what do you do?

Jeremy Schnittman: Well, I think maybe it'll help to, to describe to the audience first what is an astrophysicist in the first place? Right? Almost sounds like a made-up job. Sometimes I think it is. It's such a great job. Not to compare myself, but I think really the first astrophysicist that we know of it was Isaac Newton. Right? He was an astrophysicist because he took the laws of physics that he could see on Earth, right, the famous one about the apple falling, he could measure gravity on Earth. And he applied it to the heavens, he applied it to astronomy. So that's how you get “astrophysicist.” You're taking what we know about physics from a laboratory or from theories that we develop here on Earth, and applying it to the entire universe. And so that's, that's what I do.

Jeremy Schnittman: Why do I call myself a “general purpose astrophysicist” — I guess it's because I'm not really expert in anything, but you know, try to dabble a little bit in everything. When it comes to black holes, they really are a great intersection of everything.

Jim Green: You're right, black holes requires all kinds of knowledge. So, what got you really interested in the topic of black holes?

Jeremy Schnittman: I guess it started with, you know, right the beginning of graduate school. I mean, everybody, we grew up learning about black holes a little bit in school, and everybody knows that they're really cool and mysterious objects. But when I got to graduate school, I started learning about, you know, what, what a black hole really is. What does it really mean to be a black hole? What does it really mean to study black holes?

Jim Green: What exactly is a black hole?

Jeremy Schnittman: Even amongst the experts, I think you could probably find a disagreement about whether a black hole is an object, or is it just a part of space? It, it obviously starts off as an object, it starts off, most of them, we believe start off as massive stars that burn up all of their fuel during their lifetime. When you have a star that's much bigger than the sun, it it burns this fuel much hotter, and much faster. And after just a few million years, as opposed to the sun, which is billions of years old. After just a few million years, you're done with your fuel.

Jeremy Schnittman: So there's no more heat holding the Sun up, and the gravity, there’s still all the gravity, you just don't have that hot gas and, and pressure holding the star up, the gravity is going to win. And it collapses into, into what we call a singularity. Which is like just an explosion of density, of energy, of mass, we're not really quite sure. I personally just think of it as a, as a hole in space right? They’re a nice round hole described by a lot of mathematical equations.

Jeremy Schnittman:You have this famous edge of the black hole we call the event horizon. And that's really where nothing, nothing can escape from not light, not particles. Nothing at all.

Jim Green: So if we can't see them, because the light is not allowed to leave this particular area, how do we really study them?

Jeremy Schnittman: There’s this kind of irony of black holes that are black and invisible. But they're also some of the brightest objects in the entire known universe. And the reason is, because when you tend to get too close to a black hole, if you're a planet or a star cloud of gas, you get whipped around into a really fast orbit going nearly the speed of light, heated up to millions of degrees and shining out in bright ultraviolet, X-ray, radio, just really bright, bright sources of light coming from not the black hole itself, but from the effect that it has on anyone who gets too close to it. So that's why, that's how we see them. That's how we study them. For the most part.

Jeremy: There are a couple other ways that you can study them, not through the material immediately around the black hole. Anything that is affected by gravity, we’ll be able to, to measure it and use it kind of indirectly to infer the properties of the black hole. So if you see a star in the middle of space, just moving around in a circle around nothing, that's a pretty good hint that there's something like a black hole right next to it.

Jim Green: Well, how close can you get to a black hole before you fall in?

Jeremy Schnittman: I guess this depends on your rocket ship. If you're just, you know, a run of the mill astronaut floating through space, you really want to keep your distance. You don't want to get anywhere within, you know, the strong, strong gravitational pull of a black hole, maybe 10s or 20s of times the black hole’s radius.

Jeremy Schnittman: If you have a really good rocket where you can fire your retro rockets and you know, kind of get down close and then pull away again, you can get up to about twice the black hole’s radius, what we call the Schwartzschild radius. And still escape if your rocket is, you know, can get you almost up to the speed of light. If you basically turn yourself into a photon going the speed of light, then you can get just up to the event horizon. But you better turn yourself perfectly around and head straight out again, before it's too late. Once you get past that, and there's no return.

Jim Green: Well, as you mentioned, some of the stars and produce supernova explosions are massive enough to become black holes. So we do see supernovae. We see them in other galaxies and even our own galaxy. So how far away is our closest black hole?

Jeremy: So of the of the black holes that, we've seen and observed in our own galaxy in the Milky Way. It's really not that many.

Jeremy Schnittman: But one in 1,000 stars becomes a black hole at the end of its life. And if you think about the fact that we have over 100 billion stars in the Milky Way, you do the math and you end up with over 100 million black holes floating around the Milky Way. And we've seen 40 of them. So that leaves 99,999,000 and change that we've never even detected, and they're just going to be sprinkled throughout the, the Milky Way, just like all the stars. And again, you do a little bit of math, and the chances are, that there's a black hole that we've never even seen within only, say, 25 light-years of the Earth. I mean, it doesn't pose any immediate risk. But I tell you, when whenever it happened, you know, billion years ago, when it went supernova, it would have been a pretty bright day out.

Jim Green: Yeah, no kidding.

Jeremy Schnittman: But if you had to bet, and you look up into the sky and you see a galaxy, I’d put pretty good money, that there's a black hole in it.

Jim Green: Okay, so, are there tiny black holes? How small can a black hole be?

Jeremy Schnittman: Ah, that's a good question. Since the only ones we really understand at all are these ones that come from collapsed stars. So those are kind of the smallest we've seen so far. But there's no real reason you can't form a smaller black hole. There's a famous effect, predicted by Stephen Hawking, about, well, appropriately enough, called Hawking radiation, where a black hole actually leaks out a little bit of radiation from the surface, due to complicated quantum mechanical effects that I can't claim to understand.

Jeremy Schnittman: But we, we know that we've never actually seen this in the lab or in space, but we know that if it exists, the smaller the black hole, the brighter the radiation, interestingly enough, so if you get too small, the black hole actually gives off a lot of radiation and then actually just evaporates and disappears in a in a big bang and flash of gamma rays.

Jeremy Schnittman: So, if you if you think about what, how small can you be it kind of is a question of how small can you be and still survive the Hawking radiation? It would be much, much smaller than the size of the Earth. And we haven't yet seen anything like that. But again, no reason they might not exist.

Jim Green: So do more massive galaxies have more massive black holes do you think?

Jeremy Schnittman: They do. There seems to be a pretty tight relationship as you get to be a bigger and bigger galaxy, or more specifically, a bigger and bigger bulge, right? Just that that center region of stars, they get bigger and bigger. I mean, we think of 4 million times the size of the Sun is mind bogglingly huge. But by galaxy standards, it's a, you know, it's a drop in the bucket. We've seen black holes that are a billion times the size of the Sun, or even larger.

Jeremy Schnittman: And, but, but kind of interestingly, as you get to the really big galaxies with the really big black hole holes, the, the actual density of stars in that center region seems to go down a little bit. It's what we call a core, it's almost like a blender has scoured out those middle regions of the galaxy. And, and that's kind of what we think happened is that the two galaxies merge, and they each had a black hole, the black holes fall in towards the center of the galaxy, they start whipping around each other, and just blend, you know, “Mix Master” throwing stars out left and right, and kind of clear out a little bubble in the center. And, and that's what we're seeing in some of these big galaxies.

Jim Green: Well, sometimes those two will merge. So what happens when we have two black holes merge?

Jeremy: So that is, that is the biggest brightest thing that ever happened in the universe, the merger of two black holes when they actually come together, give off something called gravitational waves. And those gravitational waves have energy just like electromagnetic waves, or ocean waves, or sound waves. The amount of energy that those things give off, actually, outshines the entire known universe, entire universe just from one pair of black holes for that, you know, five seconds, or even five hours depending on the size, how long it taking them to merge.

Jeremy Schnittman: Now, we can't see this because our eyes don't see gravitational waves. So it doesn't, it's not like a supernova where, you know, big bright blast in the sky. It's more like a, a sound, a bang, than a flash in the sky. So only very, very recently, were we able to make the ears on Earth that could hear the sound of the of the gravitational waves, these ripples in the very fabric of reality that go propagating throughout the entire universe.

Jim Green: Jeremy, what is LIGO? And how did it make those spectacular measurements of gravitational waves?

Jeremy Schnittman: LIGO, the Laser Interferometer Gravitational Wave Observatory, is actually two different observatories in the United States. One is located in Louisiana, and one is in Washington State. And it's been a big, massive project funded by the NSF. And there's another sister observatory called Virgo In Europe, that's also really leading the revolution in gravitational wave science.

Jeremy Schnittman: Gravitational waves are ripples in the fabric of space time. And one of the important things is, is it easy to picture ripples in space, right, like a piece of fabric stretching and shrinking. But it's also important to think of it as the ripples in time, right? So it actually changes the amount of time it takes for a laser beam or a particle of light to go a certain distance. So the way that LIGO measures this, it's very, really, really clever. It sends a race between two rays of light, and it kind of splits them with the mirror, and it sends one, one way in one the other way, and bounces off another mirror, which is actually miles away down a long tube, bounces the light back to the starting line and sees which, which light got there first. And from that you can tell, which, you know, kind of which leg of the race was a tiny bit shorter or a tiny bit longer due to this gravitational wave.

Jeremy Schnittman: And, you know, it sounds very simple and straightforward, but at the end of the day, we're talking about light that’s going over 4 kilometers, and then 4 kilometers back in the one, and one ray of light is beating the other one by a fraction of the radius of a proton.

Jim Green: Wow!
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Odp: [NASA Gravity Assist] : Season 5
« Odpowiedź #2 dnia: Listopad 27, 2022, 22:38 »
Gravity Assist: Black Hole Mysteries, with Jeremy Schnittman (2)

Astrophysicist Jeremy Schnittman works at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center. Credits: NASA

Jeremy Schnittman: So it is no small task from a technological point of view to run this race, but they did it and we've been reaping the benefits ever since.

Jim Green: How excited were you? And what were you thinking about when you, when you heard about these results?

Jeremy Schnittman: I mean, it was it was really cool. I, I sometimes think of it as you know, when you have your when you have your first child, right? It's very exciting. But you know, it's not a huge surprise. I mean, you had nine months to somewhat prepare for it, you know, it's coming but still when it, when it finally happens, even though you've been working on it for years, in cases, it's still just a magical experience and it’s, you know, as a physicist working in in black holes and gravitational waves, it is also kind of, you know, like telling us, “Oh, you guys, you were right all along.” And you know, who doesn't like to hear that?

Jim Green: Well, you know, it really opens up a new horizon for us in terms of developing new telescopes or techniques to measure these gravitational waves. What are the particularly new telescopes or upcoming observations that you're excited about?

Jeremy Schnittman: Yes, so especially for the gravitational waves. When two black holes collide, they make gravitational waves. But like a bell or a, or tuning fork, right, different size, black holes make different types of waves, you can get a really, kind of, short, high-pitched sound or a very long, deep ripple going through, through space. So, like we've been talking about, we have these two different types of black holes, the ones about the size of the Sun, or a few times the size of the Sun. And those are the ones that we've detected the gravitational waves from with LIGO, which are these giant lasers on the surface of the Earth.

Jeremy Schnittman: To get the supermassive black holes, the gravitational waves from those, they're going to be at a much lower frequency. So to hear those, we actually need to build a detector in space. And that's one of the big projects that we here at NASA are working on, called LISA, the Laser Interferometer Space Antenna. And it's interesting, that it’s called an “antenna,” as opposed to an “observatory,” right. “Observatory,” you think of kind of like a telescope, you pointed out a star and you take a picture. An antenna, it's just going to be listening all the time to everything in space. And that's what we're going to use to hear these deep rumble waves from merging supermassive black holes throughout the universe.

Jim Green: So LISA is a fantastic European Space Agency project that NASA and several other agencies are really excited about. And it requires at least three spacecraft that look at each other with lasers. Do you think that's gonna really solve a lot of the next problems that we want to know about black holes?

Jeremy Schnittman: For sure, one of the biggest ones that we want to answer is, like we were saying before, where do these supermassive ones come from? I mean, it would, it would be like if, if living on Earth, you know, we knew of, you know, insects and dinosaurs, and nothing else. Like, how is that even possible. But if you look at the fossil record, you can kind of piece them all together, all the missing links in between. And we hope that LISA will help us kind of dig through the fossil record in real time. Because, you know, one of the great things about astronomy is you look at things far away, you see what they were looking like a long time ago. So by looking at the entire universe, which LISA will be able to do, you can see the evolution from really just a short time after the Big Bang all the way up to now.

Jim Green: So, you've been working on this, I don't know, at least a decade, maybe more, what's some of the most exciting results that have come out recently?

Jeremy Schnittman: So I think hands down the, the biggest recent discovery with, with black holes, I guess, since the LIGO era hit in 2015, was this very famous release of the Event Horizon Telescope image where they took an actual picture of a black hole, released just about two years ago in in April 2019, using this huge network of radio interferometers. And these are different interferometers than LIGO. But they're used to actually take a picture of a black hole so that they could zoom into this tiny, tiny, tiny space millions of light-years away, and actually see what the what the black hole looks like. Again, it's not, not the actual black hole, we're picturing the gas immediately around the black hole. But for all intents and purposes, that's the same thing. And we're really excited about seeing where, where we can go next with this type of technology.

Jim Green: Out of all the unknowns about black holes? What's the one question that you, Jeremy, would like to be the one to answer?

Jeremy Schnittman: It's kind of obscure. But one of the things that I, I actually made a prediction of in graduate school is that when you have two of these black holes orbiting around each other, and getting closer and closer and merging into a single black hole through gravitational waves, the spins of the black hole, kind of the way that they're oriented, should be aligned in a very specific way. So we haven't yet got enough data to prove that one way or another. But hopefully within the next few years with something like LIGO, we'll be able to identify this effect and maybe even proven an old prediction right. So that would be exciting. For me, personally, I don't know if anybody else would care.

Jim Green: Oh, I think that's fantastic. I would. I'll be on the lookout for that. That's wonderful.

Jim Green: Well, you know, Jeremy, I always like to ask my guests to tell me what was that event or person place or thing that got them so excited about becoming the scientists they are today? Now it’s very appropriate today in particular that I call that event a gravity assist. So Jeremy, what was your gravity assist?

Jeremy Schnittman: Yeah, I was, I was thinking about that, too, Jim, is you know, as gravity assist is the perfect name for our discussion today, because black holes are all about gravity. That being said, my, you know, my real foray into physics and real physics research, had nothing to do with gravity. It was when I was a junior in high school, I got to do a summer research program very fortunate and privileged to have been able to participate in that the University of Rochester and they have a giant laser lab where they use mega, megawatt mega-megawatt lasers to do nuclear fusion experiments.

Jeremy Schnittman: And I, you know, got to see firsthand what, what real physics research was, was like. It wasn't like homework. It was finding answers to problems that nobody had ever solved before. And it was just captivating and you know, never looked back. From then on, I just knew exactly that's this is what I wanted to do.

Jim Green: Yeah, that's fantastic. Well, Jeremy, thanks so much for joining me in this fascinating discussion about black holes.

Jeremy Schnittman: Oh, it was a pleasure. I always love talking about space and I love talking about black holes. Thank you.

Jim Green: Well, join me next time as we continue our journey to look under the hood at NASA and see how we do what we do. I'm Jim Green and this is your Gravity Assist.

Last Updated: Apr 16, 2021
Editor: Gary Daines

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Odp: [NASA Gravity Assist] : Season 5
« Odpowiedź #3 dnia: Grudzień 16, 2022, 11:18 »
Gravity Assist: Talking to Ingenuity and Other Space Robots, with Nacer Chahat
Apr 23, 2021

The Ingenuity helicopter made history on April 19, 2021, with the first powered, controlled flight of an aircraft on another planet. How do engineers talk to a helicopter all the way out on Mars? How about other spacecraft? We’ll hear about it from Nacer Chahat of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, who works on antenna and telecommunication systems for a variety of NASA missions. He chats with NASA’s Chief Scientist Jim Green in this episode of the Gravity Assist podcast.

Jim Green: NASA flies spacecraft all over the solar system, and orbits the Earth. How do we communicate with them when they're so far away? Let's find out from an expert.

Jim Green: Hi, I'm Jim Green. And this is a new season of Gravity Assist. We're going to explore the inside workings of NASA in making these fabulous missions happen.

Jim Green: I'm here with Nacer Chahat, and he is the senior antenna and microwave engineer with NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory out in Pasadena, California. He has worked on one of the most important challenges for NASA and that is, in designing a spacecraft, how do you make it communicate back and forth with Earth? So welcome to Gravity Assist.

Nacer Chahat: Thank you for having me here.

Nacer Chahat of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory with a model of the Ingenuity helicopter. Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Jim Green: A lot of people are familiar with the idea of an antenna from a radio or TV set, for which they receive a signal. But when we look at a spacecraft, we see all kinds of different antennas. What's their main function?

Nacer Chahat: Yes, so, the principle is the same. However, every single spacecraft have different instruments, So, depending on the requirement, whether they are instruments or ­­communication, they come in different form, different aspects. So, most of the communication antennas will be the typical dishes that we see. So, those are the ones that you see the most often on spacecraft. But whenever we push the boundary of what we are trying to do, we have to come up with different innovative antenna solutions to address the needs of our scientists.

Jim Green: You know a lot of the antennas that you use, you use for what we call remote sensing. What's that really mean?

Nacer Chahat: So, remote sensing allows us to get something from afar and so we're using radio frequency to transmit pulses. These pulses are reflecting back from the surface of what we want to study, and then we're processing this data to make conclusions.

Jim Green: Yeah, that's everything from having the opportunity to bounce radio waves off surfaces to even penetrate those radio waves into surfaces like, like the ice caps or even the Sahara Desert.

Nacer Chahat Yeah, and that also allows us to get images of things we cannot see. So, for example if the weather is bad and Earth is completely covered with clouds, we can still see what's happening under them.

Jim Green: Well, you know, communication with our surface assets on Mars is kind of complicated. You know, when we landed Curiosity, I don't see it carrying a big truck with a big dish behind it. So how do we communicate back and forth with, with our surface assets, like InSight, like Perseverance, like Curiosity?

Nacer Chahat: Yes, so we have two concepts to do so. The first one is to communicate with the orbiter. So we have orbiters around Mars which we can, they are dedicated for science, but for a critical event like that, we can use them to relay the data to Earth. And we also have on these landers and rover, high gain antennas that allow us to communicate directly with Earth but at lower data rate. So it's really a trade-off. When, when we should be using the orbiter or when we should be using the high gain antenna. Most of the time, we end up using the orbiter because it allows us to transmit the science much faster. So those are the reasons and most of the Mars mission have always worked this way. So we transmit the data to the orbiter and the orbit transmits back to the to the Deep Space Network on Earth.

Jim Green: Yeah, that sounds complicated, but it provides an infrastructure that allows any asset that's on the surface to be able to be relayed through our orbiting satellites. It's really an exciting time in in this particular field.

Jim Green: You know when the InSight lander arrived landed on Mars in November 2018 it carried with a two CubeSats and we call those CubeSats “MarCO.” What were they supposed to be doing and how important was communication for them?

Nacer Chahat: Yeah so MarCO was actually one of my first projects, and when I joined JPL the former director of the lab, Charles Elachi, challenged the lab to find a way to do real time communication during the lending of InSight. So with the existing orbiter we were able to collect all the information from InSight during the landing However because of the alignment of the orbiter, we couldn't get the data right away. 

Nacer Chahat: So the role of these two CubeSats was actually to receive data from the lander, InSight, and transmit these data in real time so the, the main challenge was to be able from these very, very tiny satellites which are the size of a shoebox, being able to transmit at the same data rate which was roughly around 8 kilobits per second. This was really difficult because we needed an antenna that was three times the size of the satellite itself. So we had to find a way to fold the antenna and deploy it. That's also the first interplanetary CubeSat so we had to ensure that we could actually survive the flight to Mars, which we did very successfully.

Nacer Chahat: When we witnessed the landing of InSight we were all excited because for those who actually follow the landing you should remember when they were saying oh we are now 100 meter 90 meter 20 meter and all the excitement was coming up all I had in mind was oh that's my antenna who's transmitting all these data and then he landed we exploded with joy and we finally received these first pictures from InSight on the surface of Mars which also got relayed using the MarCO antenna.

Nacer Chahat: If we did not have the CubeSats we would have had to wait more than two hours after that.

Jim Green: Wow.

Nacer Chahat: Because the orbiter was not on the line of sight.

Nacer Chahat So, that's such an amazing accomplishment that we've been able to do and that's really what's beautiful about working at NASA is that we're able to do things that nobody has done before.

Jim Green: Yeah i remember that time I was head of planetary science and it was really riveting and i was just delighted that the MarCO spacecraft worked.

Jim Green: And in fact, it was really nailbiting for the simple reason that we were having problems with one of the MarCO spacecraft very close to the encounter time. Do you remember that? And what happened?

Nacer Chahat: I do, I do, and we were very worried about that. So one of them actually restarted? Like, I think it was a few hours before maybe a day before, I don't recall exactly. So we were worried that one of the CubeSats would not be able to relate to data. But after it rebooted, it went in safe mode and rebooted in a nominal mode. And they both successfully related the data.

Jim Green: Well, you know, we're flying a helicopter on Mars for the first time. And we call that Ingenuity. Did you get involved in that? And what's your role?

Nacer Chahat: When I saw the first flight, I couldn’t help but think of all these hours spent working really hard to solve technical problems. All these people working on delivering hardware that you don’t necessarily see on TV. This achievement is absolutely historical and I am happy I got to contribute.

Nacer Chahat: My contribution was with the telecommunication subsystem, to ensure that the rover can send commands to the helicopter, and the helicopter can send images or telemetry back to the rover. So, I worked on the antenna design and also worked on the system engineering.

Jim Green: Wow, that sounds really difficult because this is a very small vehicle. What's that antenna look like? I don't remember seeing it. Does it stick out? Or is it part of… does it go up to the top or, where's it at?

Nacer Chahat: Yeah. So on the top of the helicopter, there is a solar panel, which allows us to recharge our battery. And we decided to locate the antenna on this surface, because this is what provided the largest area to use as a reflective surface. So this is the simplest type of antenna that you can ever use. This is called a monopole. So monopole is basically a single wire, which is resonant at the frequency of operation, and located on top of a reflective surface. And the reflective surface in this case is the solar array.

Nacer Chahat: This wire allows us to operate at the frequency of interest. But this antenna, this type of monopole antenna are being used when you need to communicate what we call omni, omni directionally. Meaning, we need to communicate this with the same capabilities in any direction, because we don't know where the helicopter or rover will be because it will constantly move when it's flying. Right. So that's the reason why we use such an antenna.

Nacer Chahat: It's very small it's about five to six centimeter which is basically a quarter wavelength or the frequency of operation.

Jim Green: Yeah, that makes a lot of sense. I mean, yeah, you move the copter and it comes back down. And it's not necessarily in that same orientation.

Nacer Chahat: Exactly.

Jim Green: So you want to broadcast. So it sounds…

Nacer Chahat: Yeah

Jim Green: …like though the Ingenuity communication is only with, with Perseverance, and then it's up to Perseverance to package that data and then send it up to an orbiter which then relays it back to Earth.

Nacer Chahat: That's, that's exactly it. And the reason is very simple is that obviously with such a small helicopter, we will not be able to communicate directly to the orbiter, and even less with Earth. So that's the concept that that we, we use. The helicopter is also has to, to, to stay away from the rover itself because the rover needs to be completely safe. So we have to keep-out zone which is roughly above 100 meters. So the helicopter to will never fly within 100 meters of the rover. So the telecommunication subsystem was designed to communicate from 100 meter to one kilometer, which is very far away. And we've done a lot of testing nearby our lab outside, a field test, which was very, very exciting, where we had a real size mock-up of the rover and the helicopter and we located it in different direction to make sure that all of our models and analyses were correct.

Jim Green: Wow, that sounds really fun. Another thing that NASA likes to do is think about missions that are in the future. And even though we're sending a spacecraft to Europa, called Clipper, we're also been thinking about what it might be like to get down on the surface, a lander. Now, you were also involved in the communication system for a lander on Europa. What would that be like? And how does that have to work?

Nacer Chahat: The original concept of the Europa lander concept was to send an orbiter as well, along with the lander, and the orbiter will have communication telecommunication capabilities to relay the data back to Earth. However, doing so would have been cost-prohibitive. So, we were asked very quickly to revise the concept to reduce the cost so that this mission could someday be possible.

Nacer Chahat: And the only way to do so was to communicate directly with earth so that we don't have to have an orbiter as well. So, to do that, the conclusion that was that we needed an antenna with an efficiency of more than 80%, which to give you an idea, has never done before. All of the Mars rover or lander, they have efficiencies of less than 45%, roughly. But the lander has additional constraints. The antenna needed to be flat, it needed to survive the environment, and very high radiation of Europa. And for those reason, people thought it was just not possible to do so.

Nacer Chahat: So we came up with an antenna design that fulfills all these requirements and achieved the efficiency we fully tested be something to the environment of Europa, to qualify the something out for a potential Europa lander mission in the future. And so now we're in a very, very, very good shape, because we know that this Europa mission concept is possible. We have all the technology that are needed to do that, because NASA supported us to develop all of these technologies.

Jim Green: Yeah, that's really great. Now coming back to the Earth, your current project is on SWOT, which is the Surface Water and Ocean Topography Mission. What are you up to with that? And have we launched it yet?

Nacer Chahat: No, we are right now we are in integration and testing, what we call INT. So the payload is fully assembled. Right now, we're actually currently doing all the environmental testing on the payload before we ship it to France to our partner in France, CNES, to integrate it with the spacecraft. So this mission is very exciting because we're pushing the boundaries of the science measurement accuracy. So the role of SWOT is to measure the surface topology of the ocean, but also the water surface for the first time. So we will have a global map of the entire Earth and we will be able to know where the water is continuously. And so that's, that's the beauty of SWOT. There is a lot of new technology that needed to be developed to do that, to improve the accuracy of these measurements. And so we're very, very excited to see this mission moving along and getting very ready to fly.

Jim Green: So what's the new advancement in antenna technologies?

Nacer Chahat: Every single mission have different requirements. So we tend to design a new antenna every single time. I would say that the holy grail of the antenna, from my point of view, would be to design an antenna that could be applied for every mission to meet any requirements. So obviously, that's, that's almost impossible to do so. But for communication, that's not impossible, you could come up with an antenna that could shave the beam in any way we want for a given aperture. And that's what I'm working on, on my research science, to achieve such a thing.

Jim Green: Sounds great.

Jim Green: Nacer, I always like to ask my guests to tell me what was that event that person, place or thing that got them so excited about being the engineer they are today. And I call that event a gravity assist. So Nacer, what was your gravity assist?

Nacer Chahat: The scientists that I respected the most is Marie Curie, who was also from the same country that I am from, from France. But really, what I like about my inquiry is her dedication for work. And I think nobody was as dedicated as her because she actually gave her life for her work. And the work ethic that she has demonstrated is what, what I share the most with Marie Curie.

Nacer Chahat: So but I would, I would say, as well, that it's not necessarily an engineer, or a scientist that really inspired me, in my case. My parents are from a very poor country, in Algeria, north of Africa. And they didn't have access to education. So, after they moved in France, I was born and raised in France, they really share this notion of understanding that the education is a gift. They didn't have the chance, and they wanted to make sure that that I realized the chance I had, and we could take advantage of the education I was given as much as possible. So that's why I always worked really, really hard to do as much as I could and learn as much as I could.

Nacer Chahat: And so I would say that my gravity assist are not engineers or scientists, but actually my parents.

Jim Green: Now, that's a wonderful story. Thank you so much for sharing it with me.

Jim Green: Nacer, thank you so much for joining me in discussing this fantastic topic.

Nacer Chahat: It was my pleasure. It's always it's, it's always great to share the experience that we have delivered developing new technology at JPL. So thank you for having me.

Jim Green: Join me next time as we continue our journey to look under the hood at NASA and see how we do what we do. I'm Jim Green and this is your Gravity Assist.

Lead producer: Elizabeth Landau
Audio engineer: Manny Cooper
Video producer: Sonnet Apple
Editor: Gary Daines

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Wspomnienia inżyniera bezpieczeństwa  ładunku w programie STS.

Gravity Assist: Breaking Barriers, with Dana Bolles (1)
Apr 30, 2021

Dana Bolles has worked in many exciting areas of NASA including assuring the safety of experiments and spacecraft going to space, managing environmental programs, and thinking about the possibility of life beyond Earth. In her journey as a space professional, a key challenge has been encountering other people’s assumptions about what she can and cannot do. Dana gets around in a wheelchair and uses hooks for hands. In this episode, she talks about her experiences around NASA and how everyone can be a better ally for people with diverse abilities: “By getting to know us first, without preconceived notions, the benefit is seeing the community for the beauty we bring to living life every day.”

Jim Green: Behind the scenes of NASA, so many things have to work right for us to be able to make a mission successful.

Jim Green: Let's talk to somebody who has worked in many different areas of NASA.

Dana Bolles: With my disability, people tend to make assumptions about what I can and can’t do.

Dana Bolles: I would say that’s been the biggest challenge.

Jim Green: Hi, I'm Jim Green. And this is a new season of Gravity Assist. We're going to explore the inside workings of NASA in making these fabulous missions happen.

Jim Green: I'm here with Dana Bolles. And she works for the science engagement and partnership division at NASA Headquarters. Dana was first hired as a payload safety engineer at the Kennedy Space Center in 1995. And since then, she has worked at four NASA centers and mission support roles, and at least 10 more years in the human exploration and science divisions. Welcome, Dana to Gravity Assist.

Dana Bolles: Thank you, Jim, for inviting me. I appreciate it.

Jim Green: My pleasure. Well, I really want to know what really got you excited and wanted to work for NASA.

Dana Bolles: So, you know, most kids would say, "Oh, I want to work for NASA". Right? That's a common, common thing. But more specifically, when I was younger, when I was thinking of all the different jobs to have, I thought, an astronaut, being an astronaut would be perfect, because it would, I would be in an environment where I wouldn’t need the wheelchair, and the fact that I don't have legs would be okay. And in fact, it can even be an advantage, right?

Dana Bolles: Because you're having to launch in these, these little spaces, these small spaces where you're all crammed in like, like sardines. And I thought, well I’d be, I'd be at an advantage, I wouldn't need leg space. And thirdly, I, I use artificial arms. So I, I was born without arms, and I use my artificial legs since I was two years old, so I'm pretty proficient in them. So I thought, that's a third reason why it might be an advantage to hire me as an astronaut, because I could use my hooks, you know, like the astronauts use the robotic arms. And so there you go, three, three reasons to hire me. (laughs)

Jim Green: Well, what was your biggest challenge, you know, that you faced when you prepared for your career at NASA?

Dana Bolles: One of the biggest challenges was, you know, I was getting my engineering degree in the early 90s. And still, at that time, there were, there was a handful of us girls and women in the class, but we were largely outnumbered. And so that, that was a weird feeling, right, being, being one of the few women and, going through the major. Also, the biggest thing for me is, with my disability, people tend to make assumptions about what I can and can't do. So I would say, the biggest challenge in, in my success in my career and working at NASA or wherever, is just having to always put up against those, those assumptions and limiting me so that, I would say that's the biggest challenge. And it gets kind of tiring, always having to, to prove myself, you know.

Jim Green: Yeah. But do you remember the time that you know you first came to NASA and how did you feel?

Dana Bolles: Oh, I remember that quite well, even though it was over 25 years ago. It was scary. I was going to the other side of the country. I grew up in California. And so here I was in Florida. But it was a really, it was exciting. It was scary. One thing that, that I remember quite well is the first months I was there, there were a lot of tours. And I'm sure you've been to Kennedy, and it's an amazing facility and…

Jim Green: It is.

Dana Bolles: And my favorite was to go to the Vehicle Assembly Building and you know, that building is what, 525 feet high? At the time, it was the second or third largest building and volume in the in the world. And I was just in awe when I got to see that and know that this was a place where the orbiter was mated with the external tank and the solid rocket boosters. And you know, looking at the crawler and learning all, all the process of what it takes to launch, was just it was exciting. It was overwhelming, and a bit scary. You know, that the responsibility of that. But yeah, amazing. It was incredible.

Jim Green: Yeah, that building we call fondly the VAB.

Dana Bolles: Right.

Jim Green: Indeed, I have never had the opportunity to be in it when they put together the Shuttle and the external tank and then the solid rocket boosters in the building and then put it on the crawler and then roll it out…

Dana Bolles: Right.

Jim Green: …to the pad. You know, but you see it on films and it's just it's just not the same. I tell you.

Dana Bolles:  Yeah, yeah.

Jim Green:Well, as a payload safety engineer, what was, specifically did you have to do? Is that for every Shuttle flight, or were there other things that you did along the way?

Dana Bolles: So let me let me first define payload. For people who don't know, the payload is basically, it's the purpose of the mission. So, it could be anything from an experiment, it could be a spacecraft, it could be the Mars rover, which, which recently landed, Perseverance. Those are all payloads. So at Kennedy, I was part of the ground safety review panel. So we looked at the payload from the time it arrived at Kennedy until the time it launched and cleared the tower. That was kind of our purview.

Dana Bolles: And we were assigned payloads and, and we would look at everything that was done to it for pre, pre-launch processing. So at Kennedy could be, it's everything from the time it comes through the gate, and you take it from the vehicle, and you put it on a stand, we had to make sure as the payload safety engineers, did the sling, you know, what is the rating of the sling? And when is it, when was it last tested?

Dana Bolles: And so it's basically looking at everything we're doing to it from the time they comes in the gate, is it safe for the people working on, it for the from the facilities and from the spacecraft itself, because it's thousands and thousands of dollars, that, of the American people's money. So those are the things we looked at.

Dana Bolles: Let's say the spacecraft has to be fueled, then we had to make sure that all the procedures in that process, you know, that they had all the safety built into it.

Dana Bolles: And then finally, with launch, that was really exciting, because we would have to be there at least a couple hours before launch, so that if there was an anomaly on the pad, we could help the managers know what to do next, for the process and the procedures.

Jim Green: Yeah. Now, this included not only shuttle payloads, but rocket payloads, too.

Dana: Right.

Jim Green: So, spacecraft that would be mounted on the top and then blasted into space.

Dana Bolles: Right. In fact, I had one of my payloads was an expendable launch vehicle payload, the EOV payload, it was the Mars Orbiter.

Jim Green: Oh, wow. Now, from there, you moved to NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland to work as a fire protection safety engineer. What led you to make that switch?

Dana Bolles: You know, it was really hard to leave because I loved what I was doing at Kennedy and I loved the center. But coming from San Francisco, it was a really big difference for me to live in that environment, and I really wanted to be closer to a more metropolitan area.

Dana Bolles So with Goddard, it made more sense because it was closer to DC. And I had that access. And so that was my main driver, is, I just kind of I wanted a different, I want to live somewhere different. Goddard was, you know, I met some really good people. And it was in the life safety code, ensuring that we met the fire protection. It was a good experience. I learned a lot, but I was there only a very short year-and-a-half before I transferred to Ames Research Center on the West Coast.

Jim Green: Well, how did that opportunity come up for you to go from Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland, all the way back then to California?

Dana Bolles: So as I mentioned earlier, I am a West Coast gal. And so what happened during that that time that I transferred… my mom, my mom was in remission from cancer for about 11-and-a-half years. And so while I was at Goddard her, that was when her cancer came back.

Jim Green: Oh wow.

Dana Bolles So that's when I decided I need to go back and actually the first year, I was back in California, I drove down from the Bay Area down to LA 10 times in the year so I could spend more time with her. And…yeah, so that was the main driver, plus just the fact that I really like living on the West Coast a lot. So it was, I was back. And then I was back in the Bay Area, which is where my heart was. So, um everything kind of came together perfectly.

Jim Green: Well, what's really great about NASA is it has 10 centers in many different states across the United States.

Dana Bolles: Yep.

Jim Green: So indeed, it gives you a flexibility to take your skills and ability and go and work at another center.

Dana Bolles: Right.

Jim Green: Well, what did you do when you're at Ames?

Dana Bolles: When I first transferred to Ames, I transferred into the Environmental Services Division, and I was a an environmental compliance specialist. So I managed the center's biggest environmental programs in air quality, hazardous materials storage and industrial wastewater discharge. And what I love about NASA is: We follow all of the environmental regulations. There's federal, state and local laws, and whatever is the most stringent is what we’ll follow. And so living in the Bay Area, that was a really challenging job. We had the most stringent environmental regs in the whole country. And so what that meant was I was mostly dealing with local regulators.

Jim Green: Well, is there one NASA mission or activity that you worked on that really stands out in terms of something that you're really glad you're worked on?

Dana Bolles: What I think when I, when I look at my entire career, I would have to say that payload safety engineer was the most exciting time because I was, that was the closest ties I had with the mission, was as a payload safety engineer. But I really appreciate… all of my jobs I've had through my 25-year career have been really awesome. And I've learned a lot from each one of them.

Dana Bolles And another another program that I was really impressed with being part of was the Human Research Program. And that was a really, in my opinion, that was a really top-notch program of NASA. And it was a, it was an honor to be part of their team, more at the program level, helping with all the elements, integrating them all, and also coordinating their program status review every two years. So, so that was a, that was an incredible experience.

Jim Green: Wow.

Dana Bolles: Mhm.

Jim Green: So you most recently came to NASA Headquarters to work in the Science Mission Directorate, and in particular, science communications. What got you interested in that topic?

Dana Bolles:  So what happened was when the call came out, through Headquarters for people who were interested in doing details, you know, I, it's funny, I, throughout my career, up until this time, when I did apply, which is this last time when I got it, I had no interest in doing a detail at Headquarters. But I just feel like the timing was just right.

Dana Bolles: And not only that, but the fact that you know, communicating NASA to the public. That's always been a great passion of mine. I mean, I do a lot of public speaking about NASA, and it's my favorite thing to encourage youth to go into the STEM fields, because we need our best and brightest. If we want to stay in this, you know, in the space game, right? We have to have the best and the brightest, so it's important to encourage them.

Jim Green: Well, in your work at NASA Headquarters in the science communication area, you've been doing a lot of thinking about the search for life beyond Earth. And that's a huge topic of interest in NASA. And in fact last season's Gravity Assist, we talked about the search for life. Well tell us about what you've been doing to support NASA in this area.

Dana Bolles: Well, my first year of my detail, I helped to create this toolkit. And basically, it was, it's an electronic resource for NASA employees, anybody who has a NASA email could access it. And it's to help people so that they can communicate about the search for life to the public. So it could be for people who want to speak about it, like, let's say an elementary school wants to hear about it. So somebody is interested, they can go here and learn about what NASA has done, and also part of that first year, I helped, I led a team of experts in the search for life, and kind of thinking about how can NASA be better prepared in mak[ing] an announcement in the future about finding life beyond Earth?

Dana Bolles: And so it's really it's been an incredible experience just sitting with this team that we have, listening to them just have very light, informal discussions about what can we do? What can we do to kind of help, and a lot of it is preparing the public on what we mean when we say certain things. And then there's another piece of it, you know, when the announcement does come up, what are some of the things we want to think about?

Jim Green: In fact, as you know, you and I've talked about that particular subject on a number of occasions,

Dana Bolles: Yeah

Jim Green: It’s one of my favorites.

Dana Bolles: Yeah.
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Gravity Assist: Breaking Barriers, with Dana Bolles (2)

Jim Green: And indeed, NASA is doing so many things across many of the different centers. And having a place where that can be accumulated and, and brought together is, is really important.

Jim Green: So in the area of search for life, as you're pulling together important information for all of us to use and leverage, what are some of the things that you think are perhaps misconceptions by the public in NASA's effort to find life beyond Earth?

Dana Bolles: I think the biggest challenge in making an announcement is that people are going to hear it and they're going to immediately go to the image of the great little green Martians on Mars, right? So a lot of it has to do with science fiction, and I think that feeds a lot into people's mis- misperceptions of what, what it looks like, what it could be.

Dana Bolles: I mean, more than likely, you know, based on what we know, now, it's it's going to be microbial, which we're not even going to be able to see. So, those are the things that are the biggest challenges. Just sensationalizing and that not to mention just, the media likes to sensationalize everything anyway to make a good story so that that kind of doesn't help when we're trying to be realistic about, you know, what it is that we're doing and how and what we're finding out there.

Jim Green: Now, I've heard that you've been named, and IF/THEN Ambassador by the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Dana Bolles: Yes.

Jim Green: So first, congratulations.

Dana Bolles: Thank you.

Jim Green: And tell us what that program is all about.

Dana Bolles: So IF/THEN is an initiative of the Lyda Hill Philanthropies. And what she wanted to do was she wanted to encourage young girls like middle school-ish age to go into STEM. And so she thought, well, if we support a woman in STEM, then she could change the world. That's kind of their motto. So what, what they did, what this initiative does is it takes the talent agency model, and it promotes all of the ambassadors. There's like 125 of us. And it promotes us across the country in all these different venues and ways so that we could reach the most number of girls.

Dana Bolles: There's a virtual classroom experience where you talk to classrooms. It's called Nepris. So they're one of the collaborators with IF/THEN, and they get a lot of their speakers through the ambassadorship program. And there's show there's Saturday morning shows geared towards kids that encourage girls to go into STEM and there's all kinds of different ways that they're promoting us. And it's just been incredible. And in fact, one really awesome thing is there was a study done in 2016. Rosie Rios commissioned a study in 10 largest cities in the, in the United States. And what they did is they looked at all the statues that are in public, in the public view, and they found that of all of them, less than half a dozen were of real women, nonfictional women. And so based on that Lyda Hill thought, you know, I'm gonna change that. And so she took 3D scans of all of us. And they're going to display full, full size models of all of us all at once, all in one place. And it’ll be largest display of real women in science in, in the country, if not the world.

Jim Green: Wow, that sounds like a spectacular opportunity.

Dana Bolles: Yep.

Jim Green: In fact, middle school girls in particular, I guess, that's a critical time for which they then make decisions about whether they're really interested in science or not. So seeing the role models, seeing that they can actually step up and make a career of these kind of science and engineering and mathematics that, that they may be good at, is really important.

Dana Bolles: Yeah.

Jim Green: And I'm sure you're, you've really helped a number of kids along the way.

Dana Bolles: Yeah, it's important. It's important. They see, they see women like them, you know, because that way, it gives them more of a reality check that, hey, I could do it.

Jim Green: Well, what's the one thing that people could do to really be a better ally for the disability community?

Dana Bolles: Jim, thanks for asking that question. The one thing that people could do, to be a better ally to the community is to not see us for what we can't do. But be curious about what we can do. So while people's initial reaction to disability is often negative, and feeling sorry for us, they don't, they don't see that living this experience makes us better problem solvers. So by getting to know us first, without preconceived notions, the benefit is seeing the community for the beauty we bring to living life every day.

Jim Green: Well, NASA really looks for a diversity of people, because each and every one of our experiences, and that includes people with disabilities, brings a certain level of sensitivity, and a certain ability to solve some of the most complex problems that that, you know, we really face if we're going to learn to live and work on a planetary surface.

Jim Green: Dana, I always like to ask my guests to tell me what was the event, the person, place, or thing that got them so excited about being the engineer, they are today in NASA. And I call that event a gravity assist? So Dana, what was your gravity assist?

Dana Bolles: This is a really difficult question for me to answer. You know, at first, I thought it was, of course, it's my mom, she's the one who gave me my backbone. She, she helped build my confidence. And then, and then I thought, well, then it could be the principal and the teachers who mainstreamed me at such a young age. It could be my father who, not knowing him for the first 39 years of my life, when I do find him, I find that he builds spacecraft models for living.

Dana Bolles: So when I look at all of this, you know, I would say, if I had to narrow it down, I would say it would be people. You know, it's my family, my friends, my mentors. All of that kind of helped to give me the gravity assist, to come to NASA and to be successful.

Jim Green: Dana, thanks so much for joining me and discussing this fascinating topic of all the activities that you've been doing in NASA.

Dana Bolles: Thank you. It was a great honor.

Jim Green: Well, join me next time as we continue our journey to see what happens underneath the hood in NASA. I'm Jim Green, and this is your Gravity Assist.

Lead producer: Elizabeth Landau
Audio engineer: Manny Cooper
Last Updated: Apr 30, 2021
Editor: Gary Daines

« Ostatnia zmiana: Styczeń 22, 2023, 07:39 wysłana przez Orionid »

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Odp: [NASA Gravity Assist] : Season 5
« Odpowiedź #6 dnia: Styczeń 22, 2023, 08:17 »
Ken Bowersox brał udział w 5. lotach kosmicznych

Gravity Assist: Always an Astronaut, with Ken Bowersox (1)
May 14, 2021

Ken Bowersox preparing for the launch of Expedition 6 on Space Shuttle Endeavour in 2003.Credits: NASA/JSC

“In some ways, spaceflight changes you forever,” says Ken Bowersox. Since he was 7 years old, Ken knew he wanted to become an astronaut. In his astronaut career, he participated in many exciting missions, including an extended stay on the International Space Station. What did he eat? How did he feel when he came home? Now a leader in NASA’s Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate, Ken currently works on plans for sending astronauts to the Moon through the Artemis program, with an eventual goal of Mars.

Jim Green: What's it like for humans in space? What do they encounter? And how do they get ready to go? Let's find out from an astronaut.

Jim Green: Hi, I'm Jim Green. And this is a new season of Gravity Assist. We're going to explore the inside workings of NASA in making these fabulous missions happen.

Jim Green: I'm here with Ken Bowersox. Ken is the Deputy Associate Administrator for the Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate. Ken is also United States Navy captain and a former astronaut. He is a veteran of five space shuttle missions, and an extended stay aboard the International Space Station. Ken, welcome to Gravity Assist.

Ken Bowersox: Thanks, Jim. It's great to be here with you today. And, and a couple corrections. I got on my last mission, I got to come home on a Soyuz so I take credit for that too.

Jim Green: Oh, great!

Ken Bowersox: And whenever we say “former astronaut” people give us a hard time. So I usually say “retired,” because you never know, with the way things are going in commercial space, I might get a chance to fly again.

Jim Green: (laughs)

Ken Bowersox: So there's always that chance. There's never the last flight right. It's always your your most recent flight. And you're never a former, even though you can be retired.

Jim Green: I understand completely.

Jim Green: Did you always know you wanted to be an astronaut?

Ken Bowersox: Well, I wouldn't say always, but I started on the path to becoming an astronaut at a very young age. You know, when I look back on it, I think there was a lot of things that made me think about it, right? I, I can remember going to air shows when I was, you know, just a few years old. But the thing that really got me was when I was about 7, I was riding in the family car with my father. And on the radio, we heard about John Glenn orbiting the Earth. And I remember asking my Dad, what's that mean? And he explained it to me. And I thought, ‘I want to do that. I want to be an astronaut someday.’ And, and so that was kind of the start.

Jim Green: Wow, that's unbelievable. Well, you know, you flew as a pilot on the space shuttle missions STS 50, which was Columbia, and then STS 61, which was Endeavour. And for each of these missions, of course, there's always a commander and a pilot. What, what's the roles, because you were a pilot on those missions?

Ken Bowersox: Well, if it was on a commercial airliner, the pilot would be called a copilot. But, but we wanted to have fancy titles in the in the space shuttle world. So instead of being pilot and co-pilot, we made it commander and pilot.

Ken Bowersox: But, but the way things usually work, the commander, in addition to running the mission would do a lot of the critical flying tasks, and the pilot would back up the commander. You’d made sure that the vehicle was going the direction it should be going that all the systems were functioning properly. And then the most important thing that you did on the whole mission was making sure that the landing gear went down. The commander would be flying, you’d get down to a few hundred feet and hit the button to put down the landing here. And if you didn't do that it was going to be really ugly. So that was that was, we used to say that was the most important thing the pilot had to do.

Jim Green: (laughs) Okay, that's pretty fantastic. Well, on that STS 61, now was the first Hubble repair mission. Now, what was your role on that mission?

Ken Bowersox: Well, I was the pilot for that mission. So Dick Covey and Steve Hawley were back at the flight station when we did the initial rendezvous. And I got to sit up in the commander's seat, watching all the systems. I remember Dick Covey, he told me when I'm flying the vehicle, getting up close to the Hubble Space Telescope, my brain is going to be shrunk to the size of a pea. And he says, “I'm going to need you, kind of, looking at all the different systems in the vehicle to make sure things are going well, because I won't have the bandwidth to do that. And I'll be counting on you to watch that for me.”

Ken Bowersox: And I remember being so impressed with the way he trusted me, right, and the way he explained what his limitations would be, and I can remember telling my pilot on STS 61, when I got to fly the rendezvous to Hubble, the same thing. And it was really true. I mean, you're so excited you're concentrated on, on making sure you don't do something that might damage the telescope, you're not thinking as much as you'd like to about all the other things that have to work on the vehicle. And it's great to have somebody else on the team taking that big picture and looking out for you.

Jim Green: Yeah, so during those times, you have to be laser-focused on what you're doing. Well, you had an opportunity to watch these guys do spacewalks at the time and, and, and the start that process of taking the telescope apart and putting new pieces back and forth. Did you want at that time to get out there to help them with that repair?

Ken Bowersox: Oh, yeah, I desperately wanted to go outside. I used to joke that I've probably seen, watched more more spacewalks than just about anybody because I saw a five on the first HST servicing mission and then another five on, on the second servicing mission. And I had trained for a spacewalk on my first flight as a sort of a contingency crew member. But, but you know, of course, never got to do it.

Ken Bowersox: But the, on my, on the first Hubble servicing mission, though, the, the EVA team was so kind to me, they actually let me get into one of the suits and see what it felt like to be pressurized in the suit inside the cabin, they needed to check out a suit. So they figured, hey, well, we might as well put a person in it while we're checking it out. And so they let me do that, which was a wonderful experience. But yeah, I would have, I would have loved to have gone outside and actually work on this done the telescope. Instead, I just got to take pictures and watch them and help them get in and out of their suits.

Jim Green: And Hubble of course, has just been the premier scientific instrument for NASA. It’s generated more data and more scientific papers and any other mission. So the repair of Hubble has just been spectacular. And the fact that that you were on two of the repair missions is pretty special.

Ken Bowersox: Well, I feel really lucky to have been on those missions, you know, it was so amazing to be up there near Hubble and get up in the morning and look out the window and see it back there in the payload bay, it really was exciting. I remember one of the neatest things that the crew got to do was on my first Hubble servicing mission. We needed to build some little covers, right? That that would go over the magnetometers up on top, because some of the insulation was degrading and, and we spent, I don't know, a few hours building these covers, the folks inside the vehicle. And then we took those covers and the EVA crew went outside and just in a few minutes in an EVA they put those covers on the telescope, right.

Ken Bowersox: But I remember when I got home thinking, ‘My covers are up there flying on the Hubble Space Telescope.’ And, and it was so it was just so neat thinking I touched those there on the telescope, they're still in orbit. And, and I think about all the people that that touched all the different pieces of Hubble making it and, and how they must feel with that telescope up there, now, still today and all the data that's come back from it and, and the way it's changed how we think about our universe.

Jim Green: Well, STS 82 was a Discovery shuttle. So you've been in a Columbia, Endeavour, and Discovery. How different are they? Well, you know, are they different, in terms of how they fly or maneuver? Or what, what it what is it like? Or are they all identical?

Ken Bowersox: Well, you know, there are little differences. And if you've, if you've been in them enough, you could notice the little differences, but each one of them whether it was the oldest or the newest, it they all felt like brand new cars, you know, they, they, they didn't really have quite the new car smell, but almost right there. Everything that's done, people wear bunny suits, they're just really, really clean. At least from my point of view, they were really clean. When we’d come back, sometimes folks would complain about dust or other things that come up because you you just can't get everything but but I always thought they were amazingly, amazingly clean and felt new every, every time I flew one. You know, you you'd expect little scratches on the panels and things like that.

Ken Bowersox: We had those in the simulator, the simulator spelt like us cars, right? They, they felt well worn, but the actual vehicles just, you know, they were they were sparkling inside. And, and as far as the way they flew, I think they all sort of flew the same, the bigger influence was what you were carrying in the payload bay, you know, on a spacelab mission, the vehicle would fly a little bit different on the landing than on a Hubble mission. When you come back with a with a lot less cargo in the payload. The vehicle’s response was just a little bit differently. They both flew fine, but it was enough that it was worth training on the difference. And, and we had some great simulators, airborne and, and and, and ground simulators that could get you a feel for what the vehicle was like, so that when you'd roll out at whatever runway you were landing on, you felt really comfortable and at home, you know. You're well prepared for whatever vehicle you were flying.

Jim Green: So after you came back from STS 82, you became, you changed positions, you became a mission specialist, you know, getting ready to go to space station. So, how did that go? Well, what was the big change in your training?

Ken Bowersox: Well, you know, there was a lot of differences, training for an international space station mission as a mission specialist over training as a commander or a pilot for shuttle mission. You know, commanders, pilots, we trained to do the simpler science experiments.

Ken Bowersox: And on ISS, we were going to be training for experiments that would take a higher level of preparation, and we would train in a lot more detail for the science. So that was one area where it was a little bit different. The other area was in the area of international cooperation, training on systems from another country, and living and working in another country. Before I flew in expedition six, you know, in, in short periods, I accumulated about two years living in Russia, and I think the longest period was a little over three months. And it, but, but, you know, four to six weeks over in Russia, back to the US over to Russia, back to the US, working in, in Russian, trying to learn Russian systems, and, and getting to know the Russian people and, and that was again, very rewarding; a different kind of reward, then I remember from the Hubble missions, but, but, but still very satisfying.

Ken Bowersox: But often it's the relationships that we're building that really last and, and change the world around us. And I think that was probably the other bigger, the big change of ISS is that we weren't just building a science platform, we were actually doing something to try and change the world a little bit. And I think that's true. Honestly, when you look back about every mission, right, every mission that we fly, whether it's a robotic mission, or a mission with a human in it, those are exploration missions, and we're trying to change the world by what we learn, by, by the way our teams work together, by, by the way, we show people how we work.
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Odp: [NASA Gravity Assist] : Season 5
« Odpowiedź #7 dnia: Styczeń 22, 2023, 08:17 »
Gravity Assist: Always an Astronaut, with Ken Bowersox (2)

Ken Bowersox was the commander of Expedition 6. He is shown on the International Space Station on Dec. 17, 2003.Credits: NASA/JSC

Jim Green: Yeah, I personally think that the International Space Station is just been such a wonderful venue for improving our international relationships, understanding different cultures and, and, and teams of people working together from different backgrounds. It's just so important for us to do. That diversity really makes us stronger.

Jim Green: While you're up in space, you have all kinds of things to eat, I'm sure. So what was your favorite food? Was it the ice cream or not?

Ken Bowersox: I never ate the astronaut ice cream in space. The closest thing I had to a dairy product that I really liked was instant breakfast, and I hated it on the ground. But when I got in space, I loved it. And I don't know why. But it was like having a great milkshake at a fancy diner. It was just really, really good. I loved that stuff when I was up in space. But that wasn't my favorite food. My favorite food was this this stew. It was a Russian stew called takana. And, and then on Saturday mornings, I'd have a, an American cinnamon roll, and a bag of Russian tea because the Russian tea was made with real tea bags, and real sugar. And it was a great treat to sit there read my email on Saturday morning with a with a bagged cinnamon roll and, and a fresh bag of tea.

Jim Green: So, while you're on the International Space Station, we have the Columbia disaster, which was so sad, I remember those days, quite vividly in my career. But then you end up coming home on a Soyuz, how different was that?

Ken Bowersox: The chance to fly home on the Soyuz was a big surprise for us. We were supposed to come home on a shuttle.

Ken Bowersox: But when the Columbia accident happened, the, the team decided that we should take a closer look at the shuttles before we fly anymore to, to station to deliver or pickup crews and the international team came up with a plan to bring us home on a Soyuz.

Ken Bowersox: But the actual flight home was just fantastic. It's so different on a Soyuz than a shuttle, I mean, a shuttle is kind of, like flying in an airliner and you, you if you were leaving station, it would take a couple days after you left station before you finally came back down at a runway and, and were met by the ground team and, and went off for all your post flight medical testing.

Ken Bowersox: On the Soyuz it’s, first of all, it's just a lot shorter. It's hours, instead of days after you leave station before you're on the ground. The G loads are a lot higher. And then on our flight, we had the extra excitement of a ballistic entry, But the big difference is you land about 300 miles or so away from the normal landing site.

Ken Bowersox: When we landed there was nobody there to meet us, which was a lot different than landing at a runway with a with a big bus there to meet you and, and haul you back to, to the crew quarters.

Ken Bowersox: Well, that the day we landed on Expedition 6 was in May, early May, the steppes of Kazakhstan. So it's, it's a little bit like the high deserts in the US. It's, there's a lot of, I think of it as reddish brown loamy soil. It's desert soil, it's really pretty dry.

Ken Bowersox: So we spent a few hours out in the wilds of Kazakhstan waiting for the, the ground forces to come pick us up and that was one of the most wonderful experiences of my life, just at peace, there, on the opposite side of the world from, from my house in Houston, Texas, but just feeling at home because I'd returned along with Don Pettit and, and Nikolai Budarin to our to our home, to our home planet. And I still get that feeling when I go to Kazakhstan today. And it's a long way away, but I still feel like, like I'm returning home. It’s neat.

Jim Green:  Well, did you have to mentally readjust every time you return to Earth's gravity? What was that like?

Ken Bowersox: Yeah, it, coming back to Earth gravity is as big an adventure is going into microgravity. Your body has to go through certain changes whenever you come back. And the longer you're in space, the bigger the transition is. It helps to be mentally prepared. The first thing you feel is that you're just really, really heavy, and your body tells you that you're so heavy, you may not even be able to move.

Ken Bowersox: It's kind of like getting out of a swimming pool. You know, if you've been in a swimming pool for a long time and then you climb out you'll feel really heavy on the ladder, or the opposite of taking off a pair of skates. Sometimes you'll take a pair of skates off your, off your feet and your feet will feel really, really light where it's it's the opposite of that you just feel heavy. Now your body is plenty strong and it's capable of moving. But your brain is telling you, “I don't know if this is gonna work.” But if you just concentrate really hard, everything works fine, right? That's the first thing.

Ken Bowersox: The second thing is something we call orthostatic intolerance. It just means if you if you stand up too quickly, you're, you'll get a little bit lightheaded. So that can last for a few hours where you just need to be careful if you, if you stand up, and a few hours to a few days; it varies with different people.

Ken Bowersox: And then the third thing is the way your vestibular system reacts. There are organs in your inner ear that kind of detect the gravity and the tilt of your body. Up in microgravity, you don't really use them the same way. You use those sensors to sort of sense your lateral acceleration. Right. So when you, when you come back, you can get this odd sensation that when you're tilting your head, you're moving sideways, right? And, and it's really strong when you get back, initially, but then it starts to fade away after a few days.

Ken Bowersox: So, so those are the kind of things and you know, over the next month or two, you gradually rebuild your, your postural muscles, the ones that you don't use a lot up in space, the, the muscles that back up and your neck up, and, and you get back pretty close to normal in that area after about a month.

Ken Bowersox: And then, and then in some ways, spaceflight changes you forever.

Ken Bowersox: When you're up in space, you'll hear it from every astronaut, you don't really see borders, although there are some borders, you can see, honestly. You know, borders, cut by rivers, and there are some places where you can actually see changes in the way land is managed from one country to the next.

Ken Bowersox: But for the most part, you don't, you don't see evidence that the different countries exist, you just see this big landmass and you see how connected we are. I remember on one flight I saw a dust storm over in Mongolia and that dust spread all the way around the world. You know, it touched other countries. It spread all the way around the northern hemisphere, and then the, the rains came and and washed that dust out of the air, and you could see the rain just moving around around the hemisphere.

Ken Bowersox: And seeing how the planet is connected, how it responds to things in different parts of the world, you realize that, that we all are connected, and that even though we have different countries, we're all related to our planet. And that is, is to me very profound.

Ken Bowersox: And I think it makes you less judgmental it, at least for me, it made me less judgmental, and, and more just wanting to understand how other people live and, and realizing how important it is that we all work together to protect our planet.

Ken Bowersox: And you start to think of our planet as a spacecraft. You know, after you've been away from it. And looking back, you start to think of as our spacecraft straight through the solar system.

Jim Green: Yeah, no, that's very important. Yeah. It's called the overview effect, how that really changes your perspective.

Jim Green: Well, so now you're the Deputy Associate Administrator for Human Exploration Operations Mission Directorate, and you're working towards getting astronauts to the Moon. How excited are you about our current plans and activities?

Ken Bowersox: Well, I, you know, I am so excited about our Artemis program and moving to get humans to the Moon. And, and, and beyond, right, the thing that that gets me most is we're not just talking about going to the Moon, we're talking about going out into our solar system, and we're going to the Moon to learn what we need to get further into the solar system. And there's a lot we have to learn, right and, and, and I'm, I'm excited about the, the missions that we're going to undertake, to gather that knowledge.

Ken Bowersox: And it's it, it's knowledge about how humans are going to work in a different radiation environment, how we're going to work on even longer duration stays out in, in deep space. And for the human spaceflight community, we have some thinking to do about trajectories, and gravity assists, that our our robotic explorer teams have been working for a long, long time. Ballistic trajectories. And that's, that's what's the I think the coolest thing about Artemis, to me is, is we're not just talking about the Moon, we're not just talking about Mars, we're talking about both and further. And I love that.

Jim Green: Well, Ken, I always like to ask my guests to tell me what was the event or person, place, or thing that got them so excited about being the person in the space program that they are today. I call that event a gravity assist. So Ken, what was your gravity assist?

Ken Bowersox: For me it was that, that that time in the car with my father listening to the radio, and hearing about the, the mission of John Glenn, and the first US astronaut to orbit Earth, that that was the assist for me, that was what got the fire going. And then and then many, many places along the way. I got support and, and additional help from other mentors. I was just thinking about that the other day, how many different people in you know, maybe 10 minutes session while we were sitting waiting for something, they gave me some critical piece of advice or just encouraged me along the way. You know, so I've had lots of little gravity assist besides that big one.

Jim Green: Well, Ken, thanks so much for joining me and discussing this fascinating topic of what it's like behind the scenes to make a human exploration mission happen.

Ken Bowersox: It's been a lot of fun. It brought back a lot of great memories.

Jim Green: So join me next time as we continue our journey to look behind the scenes at making NASA work. I'm Jim Green, and this is your Gravity Assist.

Lead producer: Elizabeth Landau
Audio engineer: Manny Cooper
Last Updated: May 14, 2021
Editor: Gary Daines

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Odp: [NASA Gravity Assist] : Season 5
« Odpowiedź #8 dnia: Styczeń 29, 2023, 08:11 »
O przekładaniu fal elekromagnetycznych na dźwięki Kosmosu

Gravity Assist: Listening to the Universe, with Kim Arcand (1)
May 21, 2021

NASA spacecraft deliver stunning visual imagery of the cosmos, but we can also experience that data by turning it into sound. Kim Arcand at the Chandra X-Ray Observatory has helped develop many different sonifications including from galaxies, black holes, nebulae and more. Kim chats with NASA’s Chief Scientist Jim Green about her process of choosing instruments to represent different kinds of light, and plays a few examples of these cosmic sounds. Check out the full series of sonifications at

Jim Green: From Earth, when we look into the sky, we use our eyes. But can we use our ears?

Jim Green: Hi, I'm Jim Green. And this is a new season of Gravity Assist. We're going to explore the inside workings of NASA in making these fabulous missions happen.

Jim Green: I'm here with Kim Arcand, and she is a visualization scientist and a science communicator for NASA's Chandra X-Ray Observatory. She's based at the Harvard Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Boston, and has been working on turning satellite data all across the universe into spectacular images and sounds. Welcome, Kim, to Gravity Assist.

Kim Arcand: Hi, thanks so much for having me today.

Jim Green: Well, it's really a pleasure because this sonification idea is really nifty. How we can use our senses to really understand data and looking at it in a different way.

Jim Green: Kim, can you tell us a little bit more about Chandra and what it's been looking at?

Kim Arcand: Yeah, so Chandra was launched back in July of 1999, and has kind of been NASA's flagship mission for X-ray astronomy. Chandra gets to look at amazing things like exploding stars, areas around black holes and some of the largest gravitationally bound objects in the universe or galaxy clusters. But it also gets to look at other things too, like nearby and our solar system. It looks at planets and comets and lots of things. So it's all about being able to understand those high-energy processes and just figure out so many different answers to the questions that X-ray astronomers have had for quite a few years.

Jim Green: You know, I just recently went to the dentist and I had my mouth X-rayed. Is that the same kind of frequency and it as Chandra does, when it looks into the sky?

Kim Arcand: It's related. So you, when you go to the dentist, there is a machine that's pointing at your mouth, and it's directing X-rays to you, Chandra is not a machine that's pointing X-rays out into the universe, but rather, it's a series of detectors and other kinds of equipment that is capturing that X-ray information that is coming to us — traveling, if you will, across the universe from these various cosmic sources, whether it's a star that's exploded, or whether it's a neutron star, or whether it's something else entirely.

Kim Arcand: We have all of these different kinds of light from radio waves, and microwaves up to x-rays, and gamma rays. And for astronomers, all of those different kinds of light, they're like a different kind of tool that they can pluck out of their toolbox to be able to ask a question and try to figure something out, or try to get you know, more information on something. And so it really is important today, I feel like the, the modern astronomers’ strength is being able to have all of these different kinds of light at their disposal. And you can kind of think of it like, if you are at all musical, and you could say, play the piano, which disclaimer, I cannot play the piano. But just as an analogy, if you sat down and you found middle C, and you played that, and then you played a couple keys on either side, that amount of sound would be equivalent to optical light. So you would have all the rest of the keys, all the rest of those 88 keys on the keyboard that you wouldn't be hearing if you were only paying attention to that optical information. So by listening and understanding the microwaves, ultraviolet light, the gamma rays, what have you, you're able to hear all of those keys on your keyboard, essentially, and you're going to get a much richer set of information.

Jim Green: Okay, well, you've led the development of some really cool techniques like data sonification, which we're going to talk about in a minute, but tell us in general, how do you approach this challenge of turning satellite data into sounds?

Kim Arcand: For us data sonification really is a way of taking information that for the most part, humans can't see, right? If you're working with X-ray light, no human naturally can see X-rays. If you're working with infrared light or ultraviolet and even in the optical, many times our human eyes are not not strong enough or sensitive enough to be able to pick up all that emission anyway. So that's why we have these telescopes people to do that really hard work for us. So it's all about translating something you can't see into something you can experience. And astronomy has sort of prioritized visuals for a long time. But there's no reason why you can't include other senses as well in that bigger sort of storytelling product. So you can use sound, you can even use haptic or vibrational information.

Jim Green: Well, let's really get into it, I want to hear what you're talking about. You know, now some of our listeners will be familiar with the spectacular image called the Pillars of Creation that Hubble Space Telescope initially made just so beautiful. And what exactly is the Pillars of Creation, and let's talk about that before we listen to it.

Kim Arcand: Sure. So the Pillars of Creation is just this beautiful, iconic clump of data that the Hubble originally released back in 1995, I believe, and other observatories have been looking at it ever since. It's this beautiful stellar nursery, where stars are being born. And so if you're looking at that in optical light, you're seeing these tall pillars of gas and dust. And there's three main pillars, and they're sort of offset from each other in space. But if you're looking at the same patch of sky in X-ray light, you're instead seeing hundreds, if not thousands, and a broader field of view of these more compact sources. And those are essentially very, very young stars or stars that are in the process of forming what are called protostars. So you're getting all of the little tiny bits of high-energy light from those baby stars in progress. So when you combine the two different kinds of light, the X-ray and the optical, you get a really rich sense of the pillars themselves, where stars are forming, and then the wider area around it where all of these other stars are being detected in X-ray light that are in the process of developing. And so you can take that information from the data and then translate it into sound.

Jim Green: All right, well, let's listen to the Pillars of Creation.

By turning spacecraft data into sound, we can experience cosmic objects in new ways. Here are a few examples, including the center of the Milky Way, the supernova remnant Cassiopeia A, and the spectacular star-forming region known as the Pillars of Creation. Credits: : NASA/CXC/SAO/K.Arcand, SYSTEM Sounds (M. Russo, A. Santaguida)

Jim Green: Wow, that sounds neat! So how did you go about translating a beautiful image with the stars are forming, eating up gas, blowing away the rest creating these pillars? And how did you get that into that sound?

Kim Arcand: Well, so what we did is we sort of take that image and and map it, right, so you're, in this case, you're moving across the image horizontally from left to right. And both of the sounds that you're hearing, you're hearing both optical and X-ray light represented as different kinds of sounds, right. So in this case, there's like this continuous range of pitches. And for the optical data, it's so very, sort of, structured. So that sort of, like sweeping sound that you're hearing is really trying to depict the shape of those pillars. And then that higher pitch sound that you're hearing — those, sort of, bright sources that you're hearing — that is the young stars that we're detecting, in X-ray light.

Jim Green: Well, another really great one that you recently released was the Chandra Deep Field South. What was your approach in turning that into sound and let's listen to it.

This is the deepest image ever taken in X-rays, representing over seven million seconds of Chandra observing time. For that reason, and because the observed field is in the southern hemisphere, astronomers call this region the “Chandra Deep Field South.” Credits: NASA/CXC/SAO/K.Arcand, SYSTEM Sounds (M. Russo, A. Santaguida)

Kim Arcand: So that's very different, I think than the last one.

Jim Green: It is! It is!

Kim Arcand:…that we heard. And what's nice about this is it's a very, very different object, if you will, so the Pillars of Creation, those are relatively nearby. It's what perhaps 5,000 light-years away from Earth. The Chandra Deep Field South is incredibly distant. It's the deepest X-ray image we've ever obtained. And it's like 11, 12 and 13 billion light-years away the various objects in that field. So it's a very different type of data to approach. And so we used a very different technique. And in this case, because it was such a busy field of view of all of these little dots, which are essentially black holes, or galaxies, what we wanted to do is approach it from the bottom up so that you could have a stereo sound. And each of those dots then the color represents the different X ray energies or with the lower notes, for example, representing the lowest energy X-rays and the highest notes representing the highest energy X-rays. So as you're sort of scooting up through that data set, you can hear all of the different kinds of sources, all of those different black holes, hundreds and hundreds of black holes as you're going through the entire field of the Chandra Deep Field South.

Jim Green: Well, another really great one is the Crab Nebula, you know, that's a cosmic object that we've studied for, you know, centuries, you know, because it originally started in 1054, with a massive explosion.

Kim Arcand: Yeah, it's a, it's a great object. It's very famous, it's relatively nearby, it's perhaps 6,000 light years away in the Milky Way. It's in a great location for us to be able to view and many, many, many different telescopes, observatories have been used to capture fantastic information of that object over time. So the Chandra X-ray observatory has been looking at, looking at that object pretty much since it was launched back in 1999. And the Hubble Space Telescope and the Spitzer Space Telescope have looked at it many times as well. So this data set is a collection of those three different kinds of light, the X-ray light from Chandra, the infrared light from Spitzer, and the optical light from Hubble. And when you're looking at the data set, it's this very dramatic, sort of wispy looking thing. It's got all of these rings and a jet, and then all of this massive, nebulous stuff all around it. And so you're looking at the leftovers of that stellar explosion. You've got the spinning neutron star, the pulsar at the very center, and that's the brightest, most energetic region, you've got all of the rings and the jets that are coming out of it. And then you've got the cooler gas and dust that are in the infrared and optical data all around the perimeter.

Jim Green: Well, let's listen.
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Odp: [NASA Gravity Assist] : Season 5
« Odpowiedź #9 dnia: Styczeń 29, 2023, 08:11 »
Gravity Assist: Listening to the Universe, with Kim Arcand (2)

The Crab Nebula has been studied by people since it first appeared in Earth's sky in 1054 A.D. Modern telescopes have captured its enduring engine powered by a quickly spinning neutron star that formed when a massive star collapsed. The combination of rapid rotation and a strong magnetic field generates jets of matter and anti-matter flowing away from its poles, and winds outward from its equator. For the translation of these data into sound, which also pans left to right, each wavelength of light has been paired with a different family of instruments. X-rays from Chandra X-ray Observatory (blue and white) are brass, optical light data from Hubble Space Telescope (purple) are strings, and infrared data from Spitzer (pink) can be heard in the woodwinds. In each case, light received towards the top of the image is played as higher pitched notes and brighter light is played louder.  Credits: NASA/CXC/SAO/K.Arcand, SYSTEM Sounds (M. Russo, A. Santaguida)

Kim Arcand: So for this piece, we wanted to be able to hear those individual things, right. So the X-rays from Chandra are like, a harsh breath sound. And the optical light from the Hubble Space Telescope would be like the lighter strings, and the infrared data from Spitzer, which is the lowest energy material that is like soft woodwinds type of sound. So again, you have to think of it as sort of like a map. And so in this case, the, the light that we're seeing towards the top of the image is being played as higher pitch notes. And the brighter light overall is being played louder. So there's a lot going on.

Jim Green: Wow, I think that is my favorite at the moment. But let's do another one. Let's listen to your rendition of the center of our galaxy, the Milky Way. And then tell us how you put that together.

The center of our Milky Way galaxy is too distant for us to visit in person, but we can still explore it. Telescopes gives us a chance to see what the Galactic Center looks like in different types of light. But what about experiencing these data in other senses like hearing? Sonification is the process that translates data into sound, and a new project brings the center of the Milky Way to listeners for the first time. The translation begins on the left side of the image and moves to the right, with the sounds representing the position and brightness of the sources. The light of objects located towards the top of the image are heard as higher pitches while the intensity of the light controls the volume. Credits: NASA/CXC/SAO/K.Arcand, SYSTEM Sounds (M. Russo, A. Santaguida)

Kim Arcand: This one might be my favorite, though, it's really hard to pick, just because it was one of the first ones that we worked on.

Kim Arcand: But for the galactic center, this is a very classic image. It's of course, our home galaxy. We're looking at the inner about 400 lightyear region around the supermassive black hole Sagittarius A star at the very core of the Milky Way. And again, we have incredible bits of information from various NASA observatories, we've got the X-ray light from Chandra, of course, we also have the infrared light from Spitzer and additional information from the Hubble Space Telescope. And they look very different when you're looking at these different kinds of light.

Kim Arcand: And particularly as you approach the supermassive black hole, as you skew across the image from left to right, you'll hear there's this massive crescendo, and it's where all the sort of action is happening. So again, just sound-wise, what you're listening for, the infrared is going to be played as a soft piano, the optical or the mid-range will be played as a plucky violin. And then the highest energy X-rays will be this really high-noted xylophone sound.

Kim Arcand: And I should say, none of this would have been possible without the incredible diligence and talented work of the colleagues that I've been working with this for this entire project on and they're from System Sound. Matt Russo's an astrophysicist and musician and Andrew Santaguida is a sound engineer and it really is a major group effort. There's really no “me” in science, it's all “we,” so just, just wanted to bring them into the story because I feel like they've just been incredibly talented and how they approach this.

Jim Green: But you know, besides all your work in sonification, and data visualization, I know you've been very active in public outreach, especially trying to get our young people interested in astronomy. So can you give me a little insight as to what you've been doing in that area recently?

Kim Arcand: Yeah, it really is a complete joy to be able to do this type of work, I just love it. Like, I really, really love it. My sort of areas of expertise tend to be in things like helping other people to be able to experience the universe. So a lot of the work we've done at Chandra has been taking objects and modeling them into 3-D so that we can 3-D print them, bring them into virtual reality, or holograms, or augmented reality. And that project, I think, really sort of opened up my eyes as to just the many different ways that we can all experience the universe. For someone who is either blind or visually impaired, being able to access 3d printed model or the data sonification provides a really rich experience. And so with these types of projects, we work with people, either astrophysicists or amateur astronomers or other students, for example, who are blind or visually impaired in order to really improve the product and make it something that the community is going to be able to appreciate.

Jim Green: Yeah, sounds fantastic. Well, you know, Kim, I always like to ask my guests to tell me what that event, person place or thing that got them so excited about becoming the scientists they are today. And I call that event a gravity assist. So Kim, what was your gravity assist?

Kim Arcand: You know, I'm not sure if it was someone who helped me realize that science would be for me, or it's just somebody who helped me realize that there are different ways of experiencing things. I was a super, super shy kid, like, you know, hide behind my mom type of shy kid when I was little. And I didn't make friends easily. I was just so shy. And so when I went to kindergarten, I remember being like really anxious. And I had a hard time making friends. But my very first friends is this little girl. She was deaf, and she actually helped teach me sign language so I could communicate with her and she had an assistant teacher who also helped us.

Kim Arcand: And I think that experience never left me. I think I always just sort of realized from day one, like, how important is it is for other people to bring you into their worlds and vice versa. And so I think that's kind of. that was kind of like a first step for me. It took many, many years before ended up doing work at all related to those types of experiences. But I think it was just a key moment that stuck with me my whole life of being able to appreciate other people's perspectives. And the kindness that she offered me as someone who didn't friends easily was definitely something that I appreciate. And I wish I remember, like her name, and I could find her again, because I will actually love to say thank you to her. But yeah, I'll have to give her credit for “gravity assist.”

Jim Green: Well, I know being shy, you really have to work on being able to project and talk about your ideas and everything. And I think you've been doing a fantastic job, allowing us to listen to data in new and unique ways. So Kim, thanks so much for joining me and discussing this fascinating topic.

Kim Arcand: Thank you so much. This was really fun.

Jim Green: Well, join me next time as we continue our journey to look under the hood at NASA, and see how we do what we do. I'm Jim Green, and this is your Gravity Assist.

Lead producer: Elizabeth Landau
Audio engineer: Manny Cooper
Video producers: Elizabeth Landau and Lacey Young
Last Updated: May 24, 2021
Editor: Gary Daines

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Odp: [NASA Gravity Assist] : Season 5
« Odpowiedź #10 dnia: Luty 12, 2023, 05:50 »
Geobiolog i egzobiolog dr Darlene Lim Darlene zawodowo zajmuje się przygotowaniem astronautów do naukowej eksploracji Księżyca i Marsa. Ma analogowe doświadczenie w misjach na Marsa.
Prowadzi projekt BASALT (Biologic Analog Science Associated with Lava Terrains).

Darlene Lim: So the goal was to really have a merger, an integration of, you know, natural science, social science goals, as well as exploration goals. And we did so with the aim to answer the question: How do we support and enable scientific exploration during huan Mars missions? And so to do this, we took our team into two different analog sites, one in Idaho at Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve, and one on the Big Island of Hawaii in the, in the Hawaii Volcano National Park. And what we did is we conducted scientific expeditions that were geared at answering astrobiologically relevant questions. But with a twist: We conducted all of those expeditions under simulated Mars mission conditions.

Gravity Assist: Before You Launch: Practice, Practice, Practice (1)
Jun 4, 2021

Darlene Lim in Mauna Uma, Hawaii Credits: NASA

The Moon doesn’t have WiFi; neither does Mars. When future astronauts explore the surfaces of the Moon, Mars, or beyond, they’ll have big challenges communicating with Mission Control back on Earth. Darlene Lim at NASA Ames Research Center has been organizing expeditions on Earth that simulate science operations on other planetary bodies. Her team demonstrates how astronauts, scientists, and mission operations specialists can collaborate on expeditions, despite communication delays and location differences. She also discusses her role on VIPER, a rover that will explore ice deposits on the Moon and drill in shadowed craters colder than Pluto.

Jim Green: How does an astronaut know what to do when they are walking on the surface of the Moon or Mars?

Jim Green: Let's talk to an expert who helps the astronauts do their job.

Jim Green: Hi, I'm Jim Green. And this is a new season of Gravity Assist. We're going to explore the inside workings of NASA in making these fabulous missions happen.

Jim Green: I'm here with Dr. Darlene Lim. Darlene is a NASA geobiologist and exobiologist at NASA's Ames Research Center, out in Mountain View, California. Darlene works on preparing astronauts for scientific exploration of the Moon and Mars. Her expertise involves Mars human analog missions. And analogs are places that we go to here on Earth that are extreme, and have the physical attributes for the harsh environments that we're going to send humans to in space. Welcome, Darlene, Gravity Assist.

Darlene Lim: Thank you so much for having me here. It's such a joy, such a privilege. Thank you, Jim.

Jim Green: Oh, my pleasure. Well, we're gonna have fun talking about analogs, you know, and you've, you've really done some fantastic work in using places here on Earth for these analogs that represent other worlds. How do you identify those sites here on Earth to go to?

Darlene Lim: Well, we start with the question, you know, what is it that we're trying to answer? What are we interested in as a team? What's driving us forward?

Darlene Lim: And then we'll actually look for environments on Earth that are suitable in terms of allowing our teams to answer the particular questions that we're interested in.

Darlene Lim: And then we look at the safety associated with going with to those regions, the accessibility of those regions, and then we look at the cost and so forth. So we're very disciplined about how we select for the analog that we want to explore. And I think that's a really important process to put forward because, you know, a lot of times the public will see us operating in fairly exotic, you know, extreme locations, but there, but we don't just go to those areas because they look cool, because they're on somebody's bucket list. It's because they help us answer very specific questions, research questions, as well as applied questions that will help us eventually get us to a place where we can design science teams that will support missions, human missions to the Moon, onwards, to Mars.

Jim Green: Well, you run a project called BASALT. Now, what does BASALT stand for? And what is its goal?

Darlene Lim: So BASALT, the acronym stands for Biologic Analog Science Associated with Lava Terrains.

Darlene Lim: I'll tell you something funny. You know, the in-joke is that we select the project name, and then we, we put that out to our team, as we're writing our proposals to say, okay, can somebody come up with a good acronym for BASALT?

Darlene Lim: So the goal was to really have a merger, an integration of, you know, natural science, social science goals, as well as exploration goals. And we did so with the aim to answer the question: How do we support and enable scientific exploration during huan Mars missions? And so to do this, we took our team into two different analog sites, one in Idaho at Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve, and one on the Big Island of Hawaii in the, in the Hawaii Volcano National Park. And what we did is we conducted scientific expeditions that were geared at answering astrobiologically relevant questions. But with a twist: We conducted all of those expeditions under simulated Mars mission conditions.

Darlene Lim: And we really wanted to do that so that we could figure out how best to enable science teams to interact with future astronauts that are going to be conducting science on our behalf, on humanity's behalf.

Darlene Lim: Could we affect these EVAs, extravehicular activities, where the astronauts were out on the surface of Mars, exploring scientifically relevant areas? Could we affect those EVAs while they were happening? And the prevailing thought in the community was that no, in fact, because of the distance and the speed that it takes, or the time that it takes from a signal and a communication to go from the Earth to Mars, it's too long, it's anywhere from like 3 to 20 minutes one way, it's too long to actually affect an EVA. While it's happening.

Darlene Lim: Well, we actually wanted to test that. So we came into the process with a hypothesis that actually, if we did our jobs, right, if we attended to the devil in the details, if you will, we could set up support mechanisms, software, hardware capabilities, processes, architectures, that enabled science teams to actually interact with the astronauts while they were on EVA. And we found that this, you know, to cut to the punch line, this was possible. And if like, fact, that's a major finding of our project, and in the process, you know, so much in terms of peer-reviewed scientific publications also came to, to, to fruition, even though the scientists were removed from the actual collection of the samples. And they enabled a small subset, you know, of people who were the astronauts, if you will, to collect and to do their science for them. So it was a really remarkable journey.

Jim Green: Now, there's another project that you've led, and you mentioned it earlier. It's called SUBSEA, I guess, right?

Darlene Lim: Right. You got it.

Jim Green: What does that stand for? And how did that project get started?

Darlene Lim: So it stands for Systematic Underwater Biogeochemical Science and Exploration Analog. How it got started is really through conversation between myself through partners that we have at NOAA, learning about the Ocean Exploration Trust, which is a not-for-profit organization that helps to manage one of the two federal exploration ships that we have in the United States, one of them, this one in particular, called the Nautilus, and starting to understand the infrastructure that they use to conduct ocean science.

Darlene Lim: What was fascinating to me, you know, in terms of like, how this particular project got shaped is that I started to hear about telepresence in the realm of how the oceanographers will have a small group of individuals go out to sea, but start to, you know, they always work to link a broader set of scientists on shore into the expedition.

Darlene Lim: And I'm like, “Hey, you know what, we, this is exactly what we're trying to work towards in the scientific exploration realm when it comes to spaceflight. And what happened is, is, you know, we very fortunately found a wonderful group of scientists found partners in the Ocean Exploration Trust, as well as NOAA to come together write a proposal and eventually get it funded through NASA. We also had, you know, at, at our core, some natural science questions related to exploring hydrothermal systems that have analogous components to what we anticipate finding on Enceladus as well as Europa. So, so many pieces fell into place, so quickly, Jim, it was just, it was a joy to write the proposal, in fact, I know, it sounds a little weird. But it really was a joy to see it come together. And then, you know, of course, to go to sea a couple years in a row, and to see the work that's coming out of that at this point in time.

Jim Green: Well, what's it like to be on the boat when your, when your robot is exploring underwater?

Darlene Lim: It is intense, Jim. Like, it really is, we're on four-hours-on, eight-hours-off shifts. So you're, you know, any given moment in time, you're either up or you're trying to sleep or trying to grab a quick meal or, you know, exercise or catch up on work or whatever. And the whole time, the ship is holding station. So when we're operating, we can be down, you know, a kilometer, a few kilometers down underwater, on a cable, on a tether. And at the end of it, as you explain it, there's not one but two robots conducting our science and exploring these incredibly beautiful extreme areas deep in our, you know, on Earth's oceans. And so the ship has to stay still.

Darlene Lim: We have to really be very disciplined about our communication. We cannot, you know, communicate via FaceTime with our families, because that draws on our bandwidth when you're sitting in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. And we really have to be disciplined about how we run our lives so that we are awake, we're alert when you're actually on shift. So there's a lot that's going on, in any moment in time to enable this extreme, extremely difficult and complex exploration.

Jim Green: In the SUBSEA expeditions, what are you learning?

Darlene Lim: Ah, that's such a great question. So actually, we're at the point right now of our research program, where the publications are coming together, we have one that's recently come out, that was led by Vincent Milesi, as well as Everett Shock out of Arizona State University. And what they put forward into the literature is a process for uptaking geochemical information as it comes in from the ship as we're exploring the hydrothermal systems that we were exploring, and actually, you know, synthesizing that information and putting forward some decisioning around where they anticipate we should go next, that would best answer the questions at hand.

Darlene Lim: And there are several more that are coming out in terms of the microbial populations that we found associated with these hydrothermal the seamounts and hydrothermal systems. And there's one as well, which examines the science operations, the integration of scientists at a remote setting in a distributed setting, and how that pertains to spaceflight missions. And, you know, both with robotic systems as well as human and robotic systems. So I think you'll really start to see all those publications come out in the next 12 months or so.
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Odp: [NASA Gravity Assist] : Season 5
« Odpowiedź #11 dnia: Luty 12, 2023, 05:50 »
Gravity Assist: Before You Launch: Practice, Practice, Practice (2)

NASA’s Volatiles Investigating Polar Exploration Rover, or VIPER, is a mobile robot that will roam around the Moon’s south pole looking for water ice. The VIPER mission will give us surface-level detail of where the water is and how much is available for us to use. This will bring us a significant step closer towards NASA’s ultimate goal of a sustainable, long-term presence on the Moon – making it possible to eventually explore Mars and beyond. Credits: NASA Ames/Daniel Rutter

Jim Green: Well, what's your favorite story about SUBSEA expeditions?

Darlene Lim: From a research standpoint, it was watching the progression from our first year at sea in 2018 to 2019, when we use the first year to understand how the telepresence system was working, what components were, were being utilized by the oceanographic community. And then between, you know, the end of that particular expedition out to sea, where we went actually to the Lōʻihi Seamount, which is just off the coast of the Big Island of Hawaii.

Darlene Lim: From that moment, you know, forward for the next year forward, there was a lot of research a lot of data processing that went into place to create new infrastructure for the 2019 expedition when we went out to a place called Gorda Ridge, which is just off the coast of where California and Oregon meet. And what happened is that we created a process for a science team to be co-located at the University of Rhode Island where they have something called the Inner Space Center, which is basically a mission control. And we created software as well as process, you know, capabilities that enable the science team to really be interactive, in a manner which was, which was very much akin to what we anticipate certain exploration conditions to be like going back to the Moon, moving on to Mars, with robotic and human elements, you know, in play.

Darlene Lim: But then from a personal standpoint, I think, when I would have to get up right on the cusp of where the sun was coming up, and sleepily come out, get my coffee, climb up this couple sets of stairs to go to the mission deck, Mission Control deck on the ship. And I would see the sun just kind of come up over the Pacific. And there were always those moments where I was there by myself, and it was so beautiful. And just very, I felt very grateful in that moment to be in the line of work that I'm in, to have had all of the support mechanisms in my life in place, so I could be there in that very moment in time. And that was extremely special for me and will always, you know, be embedded in my fiber.

Jim Green: Wow. Yeah, I understand. Those. Those moments indeed are so precious.

Jim Green: So when you're out in the field and things don't work, right, I'm sure you get frustrated. What happens when that occurs and how do you overcome it?

Darlene Lim: That is such a great question because every day something goes wrong. And the only thing that we can be certain about when we plan for these missions is that something will go wrong. And so you can think about every single contingency possible. But inevitably, you know, there will be something that pops up that is a little bit different than somebody had thought about. So I think the key thing is to in the pre-expedition season, to build camaraderie, collegiality, and trust between the humans that are involved with the mission. That, it sounds like a very simple thing to do. But it really is difficult when you have a lot of people coming together for the first time from different disciplines. And, but if you if that trust is built from the get-go, then when these very difficult moments pop up, then you know, everybody trusts their colleagues to come with the right answers at the right moment and solve them.

Darlene Lim: Now, there have been other circumstances where weather has come in just sudden inclement weather, and affected our communications, architecture and so forth, and you know, we've had to, of course, fix things on the fly. Our engineers are very capable, very ruggedized human beings. But we also had process[es] in place to say: Everybody's got to stand down, everybody's got to head back to these safe areas, because number one is the safety of our humans out in the field. And I think that is very high fidelity as well, for when we send humans back to the Moon and Mars. Their safety comes first, above and beyond anything else.

Jim Green: Well, I know you're involved in another really exciting mission to the Moon, and it's called VIPER. So what does VIPER stand for? And what is it supposed to learn?

Darlene Lim: So VIPER stands for Volatiles Investigating Polar Exploration Rover, or VIPER. And, you know, as it as it is written out, it's a mobile robot, it's going to go to the south pole of the  Moon. And it's going to prospect it's going to explore it's very exciting. It is looking for, for volatiles, it's looking for water resources, that we can finally you know, really map extensively and then understand, characterize, because this has implications for, you know, near-term missions back to the Moon, as well as human missions back to the Moon, that we're anticipating as well coming online.

Darlene Lim: And so it's very exciting to be a part of this really groundbreaking project. And my role in it is actually to help lead the science operations as well as the science integration with the broader engineering efforts. And what this is, is, you know, really a labor of love for me, because all of the many years, the 20 years of working in analogs, and you know, really starting to take that knowledge, which, you know, as I mentioned, has been focused on understanding how to integrate science and science decisioning into any sort of exploration endeavor is now you know, in, I'm now in a position where I get to apply that knowledge firsthand to a mission a flight mission. And that is, you know, a dream come true from any which way you look at it.

Darlene Lim: But what's cool about VIPER and what we have to innovate on is having a science team which is going to be able to make near-real-time decisions that will affect, for example, where we select a drill site. So we're going to be drilling with this, with this rover as well. And, and the science team will actually have the capability of providing feedback to that process of where we actually drill. And, so because of the capability for us to receive information from the Moon fairly quickly, we're actually going to be receiving quite a lot of data that the science team has to synthesize, has to analyze and then has to, you know, make decisions on and push forward to the Mission Operations Center in a way which is you know, quickly can be quickly uptaken by those that have to drive the rover and make some really important tactical decisions.

Jim Green: Well, you know, Viper as a rover on the Moon, it's going to the south pole. And it's going to be in areas where the Sun doesn't shine, what we call permanently shadowed areas, is Viper designed to go in, get a drill full of material and analyze it and come back out?

Darlene Lim: Well, that's, yes, exactly. And it is, it's, I'm so happy you brought it up, because it really is non, nontrivial, right? I mean, this is a very difficult thing to go into an area where you will be in a very cold area, you will be without light. And so what's fascinating about the way that the VIPER mission is being run, is that we are, you know, going to be nominally operating for three lunar days. So, you know, a lunar day is about 28 days. But within each of those lunar days, there, there are going to be about two weeks where we don't actually have a line of sight to the rover, that will enable us to conduct near-real time activities. And so there's like a two weeks on, kind of, two weeks off cadence that we're going to be experiencing as a science team. And indeed, as you mentioned, there are moments where the where the rover is going to dip into these permanently shadowed regions, very difficult operational environments to work in.

Jim Green: Well, these areas on the Moon, where the sun doesn't get to, we call the permanently shadowed areas, and they are some of the coldest places in the solar system. In fact, they are colder than the surface of Pluto. So being able to get in, get your drill going, get a sample, analyze it, look at it, and then get back out, is really going to be difficult to do. So I really appreciate how hard this is.

Jim Green: Well, Darlene, I always like to ask my guests to tell me what was that event or person, place or thing that got them so excited about being the scientists they are today? I call that event a gravity assist. So Darlene, what was your gravity assist?

Darlene Lim: Well, I am so grateful for you to ask this question. Because I tell you, it’s taken a village to get me to where I am. And I will answer your question with two answers. First, it's people, many people there are the colleagues that have believed in me, there are my parents who have showed me what hard work is, gave me an appreciation for the natural world. They were immigrants to Canada, and they really wanted to embrace their new country. And we spent a lot of time camping and fishing and so forth, that gave me such a love of the natural world and you know, imbued me to this day with that love. And my mom, you know, my mom, she, she, came to help care for my kids, when they were young, I have two children, so that I could go into the field, so that there was that possibility, and I couldn't have done anything without her. She was a huge gravity assist in my life. There's my husband, who's a true partner in every sense of the word.

Darlene Lim: And then there are my kids who inspire me to be better to work smarter, to be more focused every single day. There is not a spare moment because I want to be present for them too. So as a collective, I see all of these people as being so intrinsically part of the gravity assist.

Darlene Lim: And then the second thing I want to mention is that event-wise, every single failure that I have been through in my life, every single anxiety, moment of difficulty, I wouldn't be here in this, you know, place speaking to you if it wasn't for all of those failures that we don't see captured in our CVs that we don't see captured in, in even these types of conversations, but they're there. And they've helped me understand how to be better at my job, how to be more thoughtful, how to be more inclusive, how to, you know, get through difficult things and know that it'll be okay on the other end. And that's such a big part of learning to work with other people.

Jim Green: Well, Darlene, thank you so much for joining me in discussing these fantastic things that you do to help make this agency successful.

Darlene Lim: Thank you so much for having me on this wonderful program, Jim. I really appreciate it.

Jim Green: My pleasure. Join me next time as we continue our journey to look under the hood at NASA and see how we do what we do. I'm Jim Green, and this is your gravity assist.

Lead producer: Elizabeth Landau
Audio engineer: Manny Cooper
Last Updated: Jul 28, 2021
Editor: Gary Daines

« Ostatnia zmiana: Luty 19, 2024, 08:40 wysłana przez Orionid »

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Odp: [NASA Gravity Assist] : Season 5
« Odpowiedź #12 dnia: Luty 26, 2023, 17:08 »
Zastępca głównego naukowca ds. badań nad mikrograwitacją w Kwaterze Głównej NASA opowiada o aspektach biomedycznych lotów kosmicznych i swoich doświadczeniach w programie NEEMO.

Gravity Assist: From Space Camp to Mission Control, with Tara Ruttley (1)
Jun 11, 2021

The International Space Station has been a unique orbiting laboratory for astronauts for more than 20 years.
Credits: NASA

How do astronauts exercise on the International Space Station? How do they train underwater? Tara Ruttley, associate chief scientist for microgravity research at NASA Headquarters, has worked on a lot of fascinating projects to support the human spaceflight program. She also holds a Ph.D. in neuroscience and discusses how NASA studies the brain health of astronauts.

Jim Green: Our astronauts in space need all kinds of help. They need to be healthy. They need to work experiments. We need people on the ground to interact with them to make a mission happen.

Tara Ruttley: Being a part of real-life space program and really helping an astronaut get something accomplished like that was a real joy.

Jim Green: Hi, I'm Jim Green. And this is a new season of Gravity Assist. We're going to explore the inside workings of NASA in making these fabulous missions happen.

Jim Green: I'm here with Dr. Tara Ruttley. And she is the associate chief scientist for microgravity research at NASA Headquarters in Washington, DC. But prior to that, she was the associate program Scientist for the International Space Station, working at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas. Welcome, Tara, to Gravity Assist.

Tara Ruttley: Thanks for the invitation to be here. It's super cool to finally be on this really great podcast.

Jim Green: You know, I would say your background’s really unique since you started out, as I understand an engineer, and then became a scientist. How did that happen?

Tara Ruttley: Well, I never wanted to be an engineer, quite honestly. But I have always wanted to work for NASA.

Tara Ruttley: And it was, in particular, in high school where I took a trip to the Johnson Space Center. And it was a field trip, and I got to meet an astronaut. And I said, what does it take to be an astronaut? He said, Just do what you love. Because the chances are, it's really tough to get into the astronaut office. And, and you don't want to spend your entire life doing something you don't love. So do what you love. We want to hire successful and happy people in the astronaut office.

Tara Ruttley at NASA’s Johnson Space Center. Credits: NASA

Tara Ruttley: And that's what I did I that's why I pursued science. But while I was working on my undergraduate degree in biology, I ended up having to work with a lot of mechanical engineering students, because I had these great ideas for designs for exercise equipment for use in space. And I needed someone to help me implement them, and and come up with ideas and concepts. And so I got to know the mechanical engineering students at Colorado State University where I was going to school. And not only did they help me implement my concept, I learned how to use the machine shop, how to help do design, I learned a lot about mechanical engineering.

Tara Ruttley: And I got accepted to the mechanical engineering master's degree at Colorado State University. And when I was just about to graduate out of that, that is when I applied to work for NASA, my dream job. And NASA said, well, we're in a hiring freeze, we can't hire right now. But give us your resume anyway. So I gave them my resume. And they called me a few days later. And as luck would have it, they were creating a new division in the engineering directorate called Biomedical Systems Division. And they wanted me to come work on exercise equipment and medical hardware for the International Space Station. And I say it was luck. But what it really was, was being prepared for the big opportunity. So that opportunity came I was I was fully prepared, and I ended up going to work as an engineer at NASA. That's where I worked for the first eight years, and it was everything I could have wished for. I could not have made that that career up. That was the perfect fit for me.

Jim Green: Well, you also got your PhD in neuroscience. So what does neuroscience has to do with space exploration?

Tara Ruttley: So while I was an engineer, I went ahead and pursued my PhD in neuroscience as well. And you know, I thought about this question, Jim, a lot.

Tara Ruttley: Space exploration, neuroscience. They're both exploratory type sciences, right? You're you're trying to solve a lot of the problems of the universe, the questions, the big questions in the universe, I think with both of those, and I think I'm just naturally drawn to them. I mean, think about it. I think I've read that. In terms of what we can see in the universe, we can we humans only see like 5% of what's really out there.

Tara Ruttley: And the brain is the same way. There's so much more out there about our own brain inside of our heads, we don't even know. And so both of these could keep scientists busy forever and ever trying to trying to solve all the problems in answer all the questions. And so I really think and I never meant to put those two things together, I just really think that I think that's the type of curious thinker I am. And maybe I'm trying to search for, you know, the philosophical answers to who we are where we came from. Maybe that's what drove me.

Jim Green: Absolutely, I understand completely. Well, you know, you started then at Johnson Space Center. And as I understand it, it was all about developing an exercise bike for Space Station users.

Tara Ruttley: Yeah.

Jim Green: All right, for those astronauts. What's the bike all about? And why was that important?

Tara Ruttley: So the bike is one of three, what we call exercise countermeasures that we have on the International Space Station. So on station for the last 20 years, we've had anywhere from three to six people who stay on the station for up to six months. We've also had up to a year. And the reason we do this is to find scientific discoveries, right? First, we want our humans up there so that we can understand the changes in their bodies so that we can prepare them to stay longer, and go beyond low Earth orbit to places like the Moon and Mars. So we study their their changes the body changes in space.

Tara Ruttley: But we also do things like try to understand why plants are having a hard time growing or how fluid behaves or how we put out fires in space. So this big orbiting laboratory up there now needs people to run it. So those people need to stay healthy. So to do that, the bike is one of three. So we have the bike, we have a treadmill, and we have a resistive exercise device. The bike, the purpose of the bike, is to maintain a heart-healthy situation. We want to keep the heart the cardiovascular system healthy for the astronauts. Because the heart is a muscle. And if you don't use it, you lose it. And on earth, we use it every day as we climb stairs and walk and run and move.

Tara Ruttley: But in space, you don't use your muscles so much. You don't move as much against gravity. So your heart could be at risk of getting smaller, and what we call atrophy. So we have to keep that that heart pumping like a muscle. The treadmill is also for cardiovascular and it's good for heel strike.

Tara Ruttley: So when your foot hits the ground, it actually imparts a force to the bones, and the bones stay healthy that way too. And then the resistive exercise device is based on the vacuum of space, if that's the resistive component, because you can imagine if there were regular weights, they would just float away.

Tara Ruttley: Now the bike was cool, because yes, that was the first thing I worked on as an engineer. And it's just like the bike you would ride on Earth, except for a few things. First of all, think about when you're biking, you're, you're moving a lot, you're vibrating a lot, you're causing a force, they hit the ground with your bike. So this exercise device, this bike, which is located in the US lab, is actually on these springs, so to speak, or these wires, that, that cause that remove the vibrations from the bike to the station, because if that that bike was hard mounted to station and you were pedaling away, the whole station would start vibrating. And so it's it's basically detached and kind of floating around as you bike it dampening the vibrations.

Tara Ruttley: Secondly, it doesn't have, the bike doesn't have a seat, you don't need a seat. And if you've ever ridden the bike for a long period of time, you're probably glad about that. But it doesn't have a seat bottom. Because you're floating, you don't really have a place to need to put a seat bottom, but it does have a back. So you strap yourself down to the bike, you've got a back support, and you're just pedaling away, you've got the shoes that will clip in just like on earth, and then you just dial up the watts to what your exercise prescription is for the day.

Jim Green: Well, you know, Space Station is a wonderful place to do all kinds of research in an environment we call microgravity. What is microgravity?

Tara Ruttley: Yeah, microgravity is not that you're simply floating, it is that you're falling out at the same rate of the earth right. So you're freefall you're in freefall around the planet, it's it's a nice balance of, of the physics.

Tara Ruttley: And now you can study behaviors of systems in a way that you can't study on Earth. Because we are all we are everything you see all the behaviors you see the way that we are designed, we're all because of that huge gravity vector, the biggest force that we encounter, so when you take that away, things like sedimentation, or particles settling to the to the bottom of a glass in fluid, that goes away. You don't have sedimentation in microgravity. You don't have buoyancy or the mixing of things in microgravity. You don't have bubbles that are floating to the surface and you don't have very good heat transfer or convection either.

Tara Ruttley: Every science experiment you've ever done on Earth, think about how that might be if that gravity vector of that dominant force was removed, what might the outcome be. And so that's what's really cool about getting to be involved in the science on the space station, we have a lot of scientists who've been the first ones to see a whole lot of really new discoveries. And so that's what makes it exciting working in this field, too, is nothing is what you'd expect it at all all the time.

Jim Green: So what's your favorite story about working with the astronauts on space station?

Tara Ruttley: So when I was a new engineer, I also worked on something called a temporary sleep station, which was test for short. And really, it was so early in the space station program that they didn't have any sleeping quarters, they would just kind of, you know, not they would nothing private. So they would just kind of attach themselves to the wall like they did for shuttle. So we were busy working on a compartment that was the size of those of a standard rack in Space Station, that could actually give them a door and some privacy for a laptop, and also provide a little bit of extra radiation while they sleep.

Tara Ruttley: Because while they sleep, they close their eyes, they could see bright sparks of light hit their eyelids while they're sleeping, it's just a little bit of radiation coming through. So what was really fun was helping to design certain components that I got a little bit in on the design, but I was really fortunate to sit in on Mission Control when it was being installed. And so it was an overnight install, we were all tired. It was like the middle of the night or 2 am. It took several hours. But at the end of it all, and just sitting on console and being there real-time as a young early engineer, and getting all that feedback and that rush of being a part of real-life space program and really helping an astronaut get something accomplished like that was a real joy. You know, since then there are a lot of great science advancements and things that I've been involved in on Space Station. But for me, that one just sticks out the most.

Jim Green: So how hard was it for these astronauts in zero G to fit these beds in the space station?

Tara Ruttley: Yeah, it wasn't as easy as you would think. Because the temporary sleep station is like building a room, So a space station has these big long racks that are a little bit taller than humans. So the the crew members had to first outfit the surrounding the rack with this cloth liner that we created, then they had the stuff in some plastic blocks to fit that we designed to hopefully fit just right to to be that that radiation protection, they had to install the doors. And then they had to outfit it.

Tara Ruttley: It's not the same as just taking a sleeping bag and strapping it to the wall. This was your building the room that you're going to sleep in. And so now once they did that, though, they had access to being able to watch movies in their own in their own little rooms, change in their rooms call down and talk to people at home or their have conversations with their flight surgeons in that room. And so psychologically, and I would imagine physiologically, it was just it was just so needed that that that that sleep station on orbit.

Jim Green: Cool, that sounds great. Well, back here on Earth, you also were involved in a NASA program called NEEMO.

Tara Ruttley: Yeah.

Jim Green: And so what is NEEMO?

Tara Ruttley: So what this is, is it's a it's an underwater habitat called Aquarius. And it's located off the coast of Florida, about 65 feet deep. And it's actually run by NOAA. And it's used around year round by marine biologists who want to stay in a in a environment under the ocean that they can just go out and scuba dive every day and study marine biology. And when you're 65 feet down, but you're breathing air pumped in from the surface, you become saturated you what we call saturated diving. So nitrogen starts to take over the place in your tissues where oxygen usually is, if you're a diver, you know that you can only dive so deep for so long before you have to stop and slowly decompress and slowly come to the surface over time, so that you can get that nitrogen out and get the oxygen back in your tissues. And you can avoid the bends.

Tara Ruttley: So but when you're going down into that habitat, you're down there for 65 days, they're there for two weeks at a time, they're saturated. And so that's what we so that's what we call an extreme environment. That's why NASA was interested in working with NOAA on using that environment for about two missions a year. So what that what we did was spend 10 days under the ocean in that habitat, doing lots of experiments, that that I helped coordinate and design that we might on hardware that we might want to use on the space station someday.

Tara Ruttley: So it was me and three other astronauts and two techs down there for 10 days doing simulated spacewalks. But we were also doing coral reef measurements, contributing to marine biology solutions, and testing hardware for what we might want to use on the space station.

Tara Ruttley: We were also doing a lot of communication activities like we had to, we had to work together as a team to build an underwater structure that was that was sort of frustrating, but was meant for you to, to learn how to be a good team. And the reason NASA chose that place is because you can't easily just come to the surface if something happens. It's like going to the moon or Mars. You can't just come home right away if something an emergency happens. You can't just swim to the surface. You'll get the bends.

Tara Ruttley: So it's NASA way of training the astronauts and testing out experiments and hardware in what we call an analog or simulated environment that would be as extreme as you might see or close that you possibly could get on Earth to what you might see on a on a lunar or Martian mission.
« Ostatnia zmiana: Luty 19, 2024, 08:42 wysłana przez Orionid »

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Odp: [NASA Gravity Assist] : Season 5
« Odpowiedź #13 dnia: Luty 26, 2023, 17:08 »
Gravity Assist: From Space Camp to Mission Control, with Tara Ruttley (2)

The NEEMO 6 crew lived underwater at the Aquarius Underwater Research Facility for 10 days in 2004. Front row: Tara Ruttley and Nicholas J.M. Patrick. Back row: John Herrington and Douglas H. Wheelock. Credits: NASA

Jim Green: Now, how big is the habitat that's sitting down at 65 feet? And how easy can you get around? And do you wear a scuba suit all the time, or?

Tara Ruttley: Okay, so the habitat itself, I forget the real dimensions of it, but it was about the size of a space station module. So it wasn't that big. I mean, I think it had a bedroom. And then it had a dining area, which was also a lab and then it has something called a wet porch. So when you're inside of it, no, you don't wear the scuba suit. And you get to look out the window and see all the fish and maybe fellow scuba divers going by, but you're inside nice and dry, and warm. And in our bedrooms, there were bunks and you could see out at night, you could see the fish go by which was really neat. And so we ate foods that you would eat in space, maybe there were freeze dried or camping type of food. And, and there was a shower facility and a bathroom. And there was that wet porch. So the wet porch was the area that you would don on your scuba gear and go down into the water.

Tara Ruttley: So that wet porch type piece was kind of like an inverted bell where the the air pressure was on the top and the water was on the bottom. So you literally put on your scuba gear, walk downstairs into the water and swam away. We did do scuba dives for up to eight hours a day. Even at that level you could become you could get something called nitrogen narcosis because you still have a lot of nitrogen in your tissues. And we went a little deeper when we did our scuba dives and stay longer. And so we were constantly monitoring each other for the sillies for the sillies because nitrogen narcosis can make people silly and confused and disoriented. So it was our job as buddies very safety conscious to monitor each other the whole time. We were actually scuba diving, once we got back into the environment, we were we were much better. And I will say it was funny in the environment because you're at two and a half atmospheric pressure, our voices changed our vocal cords didn't vibrate the way they do at one at one atmosphere. So I mean, I sounded the same, but the guys (laughs) sounded more like me. (laughs), And I got to tease them a lot for that.

Tara Ruttley: And then our astronaut crew lead, our chief was John Herrington. John said that two and a half atmospheric pressure felt like it was pressing on his sinuses. We constantly felt like we had a little bit of a puffy head kind of sinus issue. He said that felt a lot like what it was like to be in space.

Jim Green: Well, you know, I'm a diver, too. I haven't done yeah, years. But I want to know, after you got saturated, what did it take to come out? You know, you had to go through a decompression stages. What was that like?

Tara Ruttley: What they do is they close the doors to the habitat. And, and they have you for the first, the first eight to 12 hours, I can't quite remember, you lay flat on your bunk so that all of your joints are, are, you know, laid out flat, there's no no bubbles gathering in your joints. And they start to slowly decrease the atmospheric pressure. So they start to start start to simulate you slowly coming up to the surface, they take it in increments over a 24 hour period. So the first 12 hours, you're laying flat and your bunk so it's overnight while you're sleeping, or you're watching TV or something. And then the second 12 hours, you you're able to move around as you're getting ready to pack up and go. And then when they get to the surface, right the surface, you're still 65 feet deep, but the pressure is that of the surface, they open the doors, you have your gear on, and then you can just swim right out to the top. So you've done that decompression already.

Jim Green: Got it. Wow, that's neat. I never thought I thought you'd have to get in your scuba gear and then hang onto a line at certain levels. But I’m glad you didn’t have to do that.

Tara Ruttley: It's really neat. And I will say anybody who came to visit us had to hurry up and leave. So if we had any any goods brought down to us, or if we needed medical attention, or someone wanted to come take a picture or something, they had to go down and it's 65 feet deep, so you can't stay but maybe 10, 15 minutes, and then go back to the surface. So we had brief visitors, but not a whole lot.

Jim Green: So, Tara, relative to neuroscience activity, what's happening on space station in that area?

Tara Ruttley: There are a few different areas actually are many different areas of of neuroscience activity happening on the station. One is that we have found over the last several years that our astronauts are coming back with vision problems, not all of them a good number of them enough for our human research program to be interested in. Why is this happening? Finally asking the question Why? Why is some of our crew members having eyesight problems in space, and it may be that it's associated with the fluid shifts, as we are in space, the fluid a lot of the fluid shifts from our lower body up to our heads. And, and that fluid tends to put some pressure on the brain and as a result, the eyeballs and we think this might be something to do with what's causing some of the vision problems that our astronauts are experiencing. Again, it's not all of them, but it's enough to for us to take a look.

Tara Ruttley: There are also other studies, investigating crew mental health and behavioral health. In fact, for a long time now, for the last 20 years or so on station, the crew has been keeping what's called a journal and it's it's that it's a research, it's a research experiments and investigation of crew members writing in their journals about their feelings about their experiences, there are certain questions they can answer. And those things are under constant evaluation for ensuring the crew is mentally healthy and behaviorally sound. Right now we're in low Earth orbit, where they stay maybe six months, and occasionally we've had one year, but now they're going to get longer and further, further away from their planet. What does this mean for their behavioral health and, their motivation and things like that.

Jim Green: You know, Tara, I always like to ask my guests: What was that event or person, place or thing that got them so excited about being the scientist and engineer that they are today? I call that event a gravity assist. So Tara, what was your gravity assist?

Tara Ruttley: So when I was in high school, the movie Space Camp came out. That was probably 30 years ago now. And you know, as silly as it was, then it made me dream. And I thought, because there's such a thing as space camp. So who would like I literally called the operator, zero, and I said, Can you connect me with space camp? And she's like, yes, please hold.

Tara Ruttley: And I was like, there's a thing called space camp? And, and for them, we did not have computers. So I couldn't go to the website, right. So I got in touch with space camp. And they sent me the fliers the books for years, they sent me books every year about their new camp programs. And every year, we started saving money to be able to send me and when I finally went in high school, it's where I met my tribe, people like me, who loved space as much as I did, because I didn't know anybody who knew who loves space, I was really the outlier in my group, in my community. No one, no one was interested in that.

Tara Ruttley: So I met my tribe, I learned all the different ways that I could get into the space program. For a week, I was immersed in pretending to be part of the space program. And, and I was the one who picked, you know, the scientist position. I didn't want the pilot, I didn't want the commander, I wanted the scientist position, which was always easy. Everyone's like, fine, take it. And so and then, and then I understood what I needed to do in terms of my career as well. I'd always known I had what I needed a PhD, I wanted a PhD. But attending Space Camp is honestly, what took my brain on a goal path, like from just from dreaming about it and thinking, yes, I want to I want to work for NASA one day, I want to be an astronaut one day, to getting there and getting the actual resources and getting immersed in that environment and to know that it's a real thing that I can actually achieve. So I would have to say that space camp is my gravity assist.

Jim Green: Wow, that's fantastic. Well, you know, you're not the only one. I have heard this on several occasions. So the movie has sparked interest.

Tara Ruttley: Yeah.

Jim Green: Well, thanks so much for joining me in discussing your fascinating career working with astronauts and how you help them become healthier, and enable the work that they do on Space Station. Thanks so much.

Tara Ruttley: Thank you so much. This is such a fun interview. And I really appreciate being here. Thanks for the opportunity.

Jim Green: Well join me next time as we continue our journey to look under the hood at NASA and see how we do what we do. This is Jim Green, and this is your Gravity Assist.

Lead producer: Elizabeth Landau
Audio engineer: Manny Cooper
Last Updated: Jun 11, 2021
Editor: Gary Daines

« Ostatnia zmiana: Luty 19, 2024, 08:43 wysłana przez Orionid »

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Odp: [NASA Gravity Assist] : Season 5
« Odpowiedź #14 dnia: Marzec 12, 2023, 05:17 »
Człowiek nie był prekursorem, zmieniając klimat.

Gavin Schmidt: Why is something that's happening now so special? And it's because, because we're special. We're notm we're not the first species to have altered the composition of the atmosphere. I think that laurel goes to two cyanobacteria, some 2 billion years ago when, when they started producing massive amounts of oxygen. But, but right now, we are making, you know, geological scale changes to the atmosphere. We've increased the carbon dioxide concentrations by about 50%.

Gravity Assist: Let’s Talk About Climate Change, with Gavin Schmidt (1)
Jun 18, 2021

Gavin Schmidt, acting senior climate advisor. Credits: NASA

What’s the difference between climate and weather? How does NASA monitor changing sea levels, melting glaciers, and other effects of climate change? Gavin Schmidt, NASA’s acting senior climate advisor, explains how rising temperatures lead to many complex changes both in the oceans and on land. When it comes to climate change: “It's real. It's us. But we still have choices about how bad we let it get,” he says.

Jim Green: NASA has been observing the Earth from space for several decades and seeing some astounding changes.

Gavin Schmidt: It's real. It's us. But we still have choices about how bad we let it get.

Jim Green: Hi, I'm Jim Green. And this is a new season of Gravity Assist. We're going to explore the inside workings of NASA in making these fabulous missions happen.

Jim Green: I'm here with Dr. Gavin Schmidt, and Gavin is NASA climatologist, climate modeler, director of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York. And he's also a co-founder of the award-winning climate science blog Real Climate. But since February 2021, Gavin was named the acting senior advisor on climate to the NASA administrator. Welcome, Gavin, to Gravity Assist.

Gavin Schmidt: Thank you very much for having me.

Jim Green: So how would you describe the difference between climate and weather?

Gavin Schmidt: So people have come up with all sorts of great analogies to explain this difference. One of the ones that I like the best is thinking about your wardrobe. Right? So what you have available to wear any morning is, you know, there's a lot of different things that you could, you could put on. And, and that kind of sets the choices that could happen in that day.

Gavin Schmidt: But what you actually put on is a unique outfit, right? It's not necessarily going to be repeated, except kind of during the pandemic, when it's repeated every day. Um, but you know, you have a, you have a change, that, that's available, but, but you're limited, right, you can't just do anything. And then sometimes somebody can come along and buy you a new bunch of shirts. And now that's, that's closet change, right? And your and your choices then change and your and your choices for what you're going to wear in any one day, can also change because, you know, things in your closet have changed.

Jim Green: Our planet has been through a lot of different climate changes in its history.

Gavin Schmidt: Right.

Gavin Schmidt: How do you study these more ancient periods, you know, like ice ages?

Gavin Schmidt: We’re continually searching the geological record, which, which consists of things like the ice core records, and ocean sediment records, and, and rock records, and pollen records and cave records, and all sorts of very inventive ways to get a sense of what's happened in the past. And we're looking for examples for where we have a potential mechanism for why climate changed. And then we have examples of how climate changed, and then we try and piece these things together such that, you know, we can ask that question, you know, does that cause, now which could be a massive asteroid, it could be wobbles in the Earth's orbit, it could be massive volcanism, it could be a shift in the continents, do any of these causes lead you to see the changes that we've recorded in these other records, and when we can do that we gain both a deeper understanding of the things that cause climate change, but also more credibility in our ability to understand the things that cause climate change. And so we use, we use those changes in the past, to evaluate the models that we're building for today, and to see whether they're in the right ballpark, and, and they do pretty well.

Jim Green: So the phase of climate change that we're in right now, why is that so different than the past?

Gavin Schmidt: Why is something that's happening now so special? And it's because, because we're special. We're notm we're not the first species to have altered the composition of the atmosphere. I think that laurel goes to two cyanobacteria, some 2 billion years ago when, when they started producing massive amounts of oxygen. But, but right now, we are making, you know, geological scale changes to the atmosphere. We've increased the carbon dioxide concentrations by about 50%.

Gavin Schmidt: We've more than doubled methane concentrations, levels of water vapor are increasing at about 7% per degree of warming. We've had more than a degree Celsius of warming since the 19th century. And we're seeing, you know, geologically significant shifts in, in the amount of glacial ice, in the amount of sea level, and the amount of, you know, temperature and, and the ecosystem responses to those things. And we can go back. And you know, in a lot of times, you're seeing something that that is kind of unique, in a few hundred years, maybe unique in a few thousand years. There are some places where we can go now, like on Baffin Island in the Canadian archipelago, where we are seeing changes in the ice caps there that are revealing that these ice caps are melting, and they're revealing surfaces that have not been exposed to the air, perhaps for 125,000 years.

Gavin Schmidt: Right? So, so we have pushing the system in ways that are, you know, quantitatively large compared to the history of the planet, and that that continues to blow me away. But things that things are shifting. So how do we know why that's changing? That's a great question.

Gavin Schmidt: And then, as you mentioned, you know, over the history of the planet, lots of things have caused climate change volcanoes variations in the sun, the wobbles of the Earth's orbit, you know, changes in outgassing, the, the shape of the continents, where the continents are, the ocean circulation itself, all of those things have caused things to change. But we can, we can look and see what's happened over the last 150 years.

Gavin Schmidt: And we haven't had any big volcanoes, you know, we've had a couple, but we haven't had massive, massive volcanoes. We haven't had an asteroid. We haven't had a big shift in the continents, they are moving very slowly. The Earth's orbit does not wobble, you know, in some anomalous way. But what has happened is, we've increased the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, we've chopped down a whole bunch of forests, we've increased the amount of air pollution. We've irrigated, large amounts of land, and we can put all of those things in and ask the question, if only the natural things that happened, if only the volcanoes and the sun and the orbital walls, if only they had to change, where would we end up?

Gavin Schmidt: Where would we have ended up? And then you can say, well, if only the things that we've done, had changed, where would we have ended up? And then what happens when you put all of those things together, and it turns out, they kind of add up pretty linearly. And if you just look at the natural, forced changes, you don't end up with very much change over the last 150 years. But when you put in the human cause of change, then it lines up with what we see. And not just in the surface temperature, but also in the changes of heat in the ocean, the changes in Arctic sea ice, the changes in the stratosphere, the changes in the tropics, that changes the pole, the changes on land versus on ocean, all of those things fit, right.

Gavin Schmidt: And the fingerprint that we see in all of those records, in all of those changes, is our fingerprint. It's not anybody else's, it's not the Sun, it's not the volcanoes, it's us.

Jim Green: You know, there's all kinds of natural things as you point out that happen year after year after year, like hurricanes or wildfires, but climate change is exasperating those. And how does that do that?

Gavin Schmidt: Going back to our, our closet analogy, it's, it’s no, it's like somebody is throwing out all the cold weather gear and just kind of stocking your closet with, with shorts and t-shirts. And things are things are changing and, and you know, not every day, you're going to be able to pick out exactly what's going to happen. But but we're seeing, particularly with things like hurricane intensity, or rainfall intensity, drought intensity, with we're seeing these being juiced by the changes in temperature. So increasing surface temperatures in the ocean leads to the possibility for more intense hurricanes. And so we've seen an increase in the, in the more intense hurricanes over, over the last 50 years, we've seen the heat waves are more intense and more and more frequent across a whole part of the Northern Hemisphere. We're seeing that when it rains, it rains more intensely. And we're seeing that not just as functions of the big storms, but, but more generally. And again, that's something that's due to the warmer sea surface temperatures.

Gavin Schmidt: I mean, some good news, we're seeing less cold weather outbreaks, despite you know what happened in Texas this year, we are actually seeing less of those over time. And when they come they're less cold. So you know, that's moderately good news. We're seeing extended growing seasons, also moderately good news. Unless, you know, you care about kudzu and pine bark beetles and invasive species and those kinds of things. But we, yeah, I mean, the changes that have happened so far with climate, are now evident in a whole suite of new variables, a whole suite of new extremes.

Jim Green: Well, as you say, we see those things because we can measure them here on Earth. But NASA has a really unique perspective. And that is from looking at it from space, and getting global ideas as to what's going on. So what are some of the measurements, the important measurements that NASA's Earth Science program is making that gives us an idea of what's happening in the climate change area?

Gavin Schmidt: We have the trends in the radiation at the top of the atmosphere from, from the CERES measurements, we have the trends in Gravity from the GRACE satellites, and the GRACE follow on satellites. We have sea level rise from a whole series of laser altimeters, which we just launched the you know, I think the fifth in the series. We have a records of Arctic sea ice going back from 1979 onwards, where we can see very clearly how things have been have been changing. We can see the changes in ice itself from, from visual records from from Landsat, for instance, you know, we can see, you know, the, the decline in mountain glaciers in Alaska and in the Himalayas, and in the Rockies and in the Andes, and in the Alps, and on Kilimanjaro, and in Papua New Guinea, and all of the places where we have ice on the planet. We're seeing changes that are consistent with the temperature changes, in temperature over this over this time period.

Jim Green: You know, one of the satellites I really like is ICESat and as you mentioned, it uses lasers that then allow us to determine height; laser altimetry, how does that really work?

Gavin Schmidt: Magic? How does that work? So it works because the satellite has has a laser on it. And we know the satellites position very, very accurately, it sends down a laser to the surface, and then it bounces back up, and how quickly it bounces back up is a measure of how far it's traveled. And how far is traveled tells you how high the surfaces and the precision of these measurements allow us to at a global scale, you know, see clearly changes in the global sea level of a few millimeters per year. And, and allow us to see, you know, changes in elevation on on the on the ice sheets themselves of, you know, a few meters per year. It's I mean, it's really very impressive.

Jim Green: Yeah, remarkable set of measurements indeed.

Jim Green: So NASA just announced that we're developing a new set of missions. We call them the Earth System Observatory. What are they all about? And what will they measure?

Gavin Schmidt: So this is a suite of new missions, that are partially to continue the series of measurements that we've been making over the last few decades, but also to measure important new things that we haven't been able to capture. Before you know what one of those new things is really fine grained information about aerosols. So particles that are in the atmosphere, they're made up of lots of different things, you know, dust and sea salts and sulfur dioxide and then sulfate particles and soot and pollen and all sorts of different things. But really getting an idea of where those aerosols are, when -- it's a very confused and complicated picture, we haven't had that global view of that in enough detail up until now. So that's going to be a big part of one of the new, one of the new missions.

Gavin Schmidt: We’re continuing to build on these, these gravity measurements. So that we can continue to track not just where the ice in Greenland and Antarctica is going, but also changes in groundwater, and changes in other kinds of, of water storage on on land, because that turns out to be really important, as well, oh, we have a one of these missions is to look at vertical land movement, which is so important for understanding how changes in global sea level are going to impact regionally in any particular location

Jim Green: So, in the monitoring that we do, are there measurements that we can make or are making that would help people understand the elevation of water and threatening of the ocean fronts that we have here on in the world?

Gavin Schmidt: Yes, and no. So measurements only tell us what's going on right now. And and in order to prepare for what might happen in the future, you need models. But we are making we are making the measurements that feed into those forecast models. We're looking at the satellite altimeter data that's giving us regional sea level, you know, very close to the shore, we're looking at the, the INSAR data and the NISAR data, there's going to be upcoming, there's going to tell us more about vertical land movement, which is which is the other part of risks associated with relative sea level change. So yes, you know, we are making those measurements, but they need to be fed into the analysis, they need to be fed into the modeling, so that we can project things going forward, that we don't yet have observations for.
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