Nuclear Recycling

Nuclear Recycling


Spent nuclear fuels pose a major environmental concern. Can they be recycled?

A significant problem with the use of nuclear reactors is what’s left behind — the nuclear waste from spent fuel rods. Where to dispose of this waste has been the source of much controversy.

But instead of just burying the spent fuel rods, what if you could somehow recycle them to be used again? University of Utah researchers will be working with a team from the Idaho National Laboratory (INL) to develop an innovative yet simple process of recycling metal fuels for future advanced nuclear reactors. These reactors are designed to be safer than existing reactors, more efficient at producing energy, and cheaper to operate. The team was awarded a three-year, $2.1 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy’s ARPA-E program for the project.

Michael Simpson

“With current light water-cooled nuclear reactors, you use the fuel for only about five years, then what do you do with it? Where do you dispose it? We currently have no place to put it other than on the site of the nuclear power plant that used it,” says University of Utah Materials Science and Engineering professor Michael Simpson, who will lead the U team supporting the project. “A better idea is to use a physical or chemical process to make the fuel usable in the reactor again.”

According to the Department of Energy, there is currently no permanent repository for spent radioactive fuel rods, so the more than 83,000 metric tons of nuclear waste are stored in more than 75 reactor sites around the U.S. in either steel-lined concrete pools of water or in steel and concrete containers. They will stay there until a consolidated interim storage facility or permanent site is established.

A key step to solving this problem is to demonstrate and commercialize advanced nuclear reactors such as the sodium cooled fast reactor (SFR) that features metallic uranium fuel designed with recycling in mind. Simpson will collaborate with the INL team that originally conceived of the method, which involves a dynamic heat treatment of the spent fuel rods from SFRs. In theory this will cause unrecyclable waste to be separated from the fuel materials that can be used again. Simpson says the remaining waste that needs to be disposed of in this process would be at least an “order of magnitude” less in volume than the original untreated amount. Furthermore, they will be able to utilize the large fraction of fissionable material to produce power that would otherwise be thrown away.

“We reduce the volume of nuclear waste that has to be disposed of, and we get more energy in the long run,” he says.

The U team will develop a computational model of the separation of the different metals in the heating process and collect data from a new furnace system that will be designed and purchased with the funding from the grant to validate the model.

Spent nuclear fuel at the Hanford nuclear site.

Simpson expects the first advanced nuclear reactors that could use this recycling process could go online by the 2030s. Currently, there are 94 commercial nuclear reactors in the U.S. based on light water reactor technology that all told generate nearly 20% of the nation’s total energy each year. Some advanced reactors such as SFRs could use a fuel that is more suitable for recycling, as will be demonstrated in this project.

“This process will help pave the way for sustainable nuclear energy with minimal environmental impact and allow the U.S. to produce more energy while better addressing the global warming issue,” Simpson says. “We want to transition away from coal and natural gas to renewable and nuclear energy for producing electricity. This allows us to continue to use nuclear energy without worrying about this unsolved nuclear waste problem. Instead of just directly disposing it, we can recycle most of it and produce much less nuclear waste.”

The INL/University of Utah project is one of 11 to receive a total of $36 million for research from ARPA-E to increase the deployment and use of nuclear power as a reliable source of clean energy while limiting the amount of waste produced from advanced nuclear reactors.

This project is just the newest collaboration between researchers from the U’s College of Engineering and College of Mines and Earth Sciences with INL scientists who are developing new technologies for nuclear energy, communications, power grids, and more.

Last month, the University of Utah and INL announced a new formal research partnership between both institutions that will explore deeper research collaborations and expand opportunities for students, faculty, and researchers.

 

 

First published @ mse.utah.edu

 

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Visualizing the Infinitesimal

Visualizing the Infinitesimal


Even before Andreas Vesalius (1514-1564) first put pen to paper to draw the human form in anatomical detail, scientists have illustrated their findings, not only to share information but to find greater footing on the terrain we call biology: the science of life.

These models have taken on new urgency with the advent of cell biology, where subjects are even smaller than cells. “This is an invisible space,” Janet Iwasa, molecular visualization expert and Assistant Professor of Biochemistry at the U, reminds us. “Most molecules are smaller than the wavelength of light. These things are moving at a time scale that is not intuitive. When the study objects are so foreign, you have to rely on creative approaches to describe them.”

For Iwasa, those approaches involve scientifically accurate digital animations which have cracked open an entirely new way of viewing diverse molecular and cellular processes. Information-rich and visually compelling visualizations that capture current understanding is what this classically-trained biologist has made a name for herself with.

Vol 324Issue 5935

The need for reconsideration of the visual language that renders the invisible became urgent after a 2009 publication in Science of a much-cited article. The seminal paper posited that cellular structures called P granules are liquid droplets, and that they specify the future germline in a developing embryo through controlled dissolution and condensation.  This paper ignited one of the hottest ‘trends’ in cell biology – the study of biological liquid condensates – and earned the lead authors numerous prizes, including, most recently, the prestigious Breakthrough Prize.

For Ofer Rog, Assistant Professor and Mario Capecchi Chair in the School of Biological Sciences, this revelation completely revised the interpretation of his experiments, but also brought with it “whole sets of biological issues.” The existence of crowding in the cell was one of them. No longer could he try to reduce the behavior of the chromosomes he was studying to properties of single molecules that make them up. “Rather,” says Rog, “we had to understand them as collective or ‘emergent’ behavior.”

With this new understanding, Rog felt “stuck” in his teaching and research with an old graphical language which “was really great for depicting things that are best understood as single objects, but not so great to describe how big clusters work together, to describe how molecules interact with each other much more loosely and much more dynamically.” The recognition of the flexibility and dynamics of cellular components led to the impulse to better honor that complexity graphically.

“I started looking at papers, and how uniform they were,” Rog says. “Papers that were clearly written with a lot of careful attention to details, with exquisite experiments and data, were using graphical models that were very simplistic, inadequate to really capture . . . our new understandings about biology. I started wondering, ‘How did people solve this in the past? Who should we talk to?’ It wasn’t super clear. So I went and talked to Janet.”

Powerful Renderings
They say the most dangerous thing one can do is to introduce one person to another. It’s a tongue-in-cheek caution, reminding us how conversations, then collaborations, then innovations start. So it was with Iwasa’s animation expertise which, as part of her Animation Lab at the University of Utah, has already animated many subjects, including the life-cycles of HIV and SARS-CoV-2. Now the lab is pairing its expertise with Rog’s condensate research.

“We have a lot of people, like Ofer,” says Iwasa, “who are educators and who have been using our animations for their courses. Condensate research is so new, compared to other big concepts in biology, that a lot of textbooks don’t even cover it. So, having some visual materials for educators who need an intuitive way to introduce these ideas to students was something we were thinking about.” Iwasa’s team had already interviewed undergraduate instructors to find out how they were teaching about condensates and what kinds of challenges they were facing.

And how were professors like Rog teaching about this new paradigm? Not easily, it turns out. The terrain was daunting. Intrigued, the Animation Lab began collaborating with Rog and other cell biologists to better illustrate condensates. “This new paradigm,” writes Rog and Iwasa of their collaboration, challenges “the 20th century textbook view of cellular compartmentalization.” Condensatesshe says, seem to play important roles in cells’ normal functioning and in disease, and, naturally, these concepts are now making their way into undergraduate classrooms.”

Metaphors can be dangerous
Introducing two people is not the only dangerous thing to happen out there. There are implications of and uses for blending digital animation with biology and other sciences: representations–visual or verbal–are essential tools but at the same time impose biases. Because of simplification, “metaphors can be dangerous,” Iwasa concedes. “[P]eople don’t know how far they can carry them on a molecular level.”

The “language” of graphic representations, according to Rog, have tended to focus on single atomized cell components, and also incorporated implicit assumptions taken from our daily lives.

Iwasa agrees. Imagining the molecular space is “unintuitive, since it is unlike the air- and gravity-filled world we live in. What does a molecule experience being inside the cell? It’s just very different and hard to conceive. Some metaphors can be misleading. For example, there are proteins in the cell that move using a walking-like motion. Says Rog, “We walk in air, but when a molecule “walks,’ it’s the equivalent of us walking through Jell-O . . .”

“. . . Or walking in one of those children’s ball pits,” interjects Iwasa. “Except the balls are as big as you are, and you’re constantly bumping into everything, having to push things around.” The constant collisions, the extreme crowding: biologists know about these qualities, but because they don’t often depict that space, “it’s easy to forget and not to consider that, and that influences the types of experiments and the types of models we create.”

Illustrations did occasionally remind biologists of the crowded environment that occupies their objects of study. David Goodsell, a structural biologist and watercolor artist at the Scripps Research Institute in San Diego, is famous for his colorful illustrations of the interior of cells. These paintings are based on state-of-the-art knowledge of what is in the cell–what molecules exist in different sub-cellular compartments and what structures each of them adopts–but also capture the incredible complexity of the cell and, crucially, its crowdedness.

The new science of condensates relies on crowding for the ability of cellular structures to come together and fall apart. Rog, excitedly, returns to the human model and talks about “a thousand objects, like humans, in a crowded subway station, loosely associated” which, nevertheless, remain discrete individuals. How do those individuals behave separately? And how does that behavior change when they function as a collective?

New visual language and recent technological development promise to do a better job of depicting such complexity. Such representations continue to inform scientific discourse, as startling and revealing as 16th Century drawings brought to life through Vesalius’s magisterial bodies-in-motion.

The Workshop
Which leads us to the Re-Imagining a Cellular Space Occupied by Condensates symposium and workshop, borne out of the ready collaboration between Rog and Iwasa. While the Animation Lab’s initial foray into condensates was, in the beginning, educationally focused, that somewhat limited approach may now be at an inflection point.

“When Ofer and I talked,” says Iwasa, “we agreed that the research community had not yet reached any sort of consensus on how best to represent condensates. So our attempts to capture condensates by animation didn’t have a visual language to fall back on.”

Greater consensus may emerge at the symposium & workshop on October 11-13. Unlike the many traditional meetings dedicated to condensates, where scientists present and debate the minute details of their experiments, here scientists will interact with illustrators and other “tool builders,” to discuss the visual language of condensates.

While there is always a risk in illustration (including digital animation) of simplifying things too much and thus restricting future perceptions and scientific understanding, the symposium also pre-supposes that the conversation is essential. In short, the gathering promises to “daylight” how biologists represent a subcellular world in enabling as well as disabling ways, seeking “to build a community that will construct a visual language and new tools that will accurately capture the complexity of molecular condensates.” These representations will help generate experimentally-testable hypotheses, and will lead to the development of new techniques for scientific communication and teaching.

“One of the things that we realized,” says Rog, “is that challenges similar to the one we are facing now, in the condensate field, must have been figured out by other fields in the past, in biology and outside biology.” Symposium participants will include experts from diverse disciplines: about one-third of the participants are biologists, actively engaged in condensate research; one-third will be visualization and computation specialists—like watercolorist David Goodsell mentioned above—but also modeling experts, data visualization specialists, and molecular animators.

The final one-third will come from fields that are not commonly engaged with molecular biology but that have long been thinking about space and ways to represent it. This last group includes software and virtual reality developers and academics in architecture and history.

The symposium will take place at the Crocker Science Center at the University of Utah, on October 11, 2022, 9 AM to 5 PM, and is open to the public. It will be followed by a two-day workshop (by invitation only).

 

By David Pace. First published @ biology.utah.edu

 

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McMinn Chair

Trevor James McMinn Chair


Christopher Hacon

Christopher Hacon appointed to McMinn Chair in Mathematics

On July 1, 2022, University of Utah President Taylor Randall appointed Distinguished Professor Christopher Hacon as the Trevor James McMinn Professor in the Department of Mathematics. Hacon held the inaugural McMinn Chair for five years—that term ended last June.

According to the terms of the appointment, this is a five-year appointment. Only one faculty member in the department may hold the appointment of the McMinn Chair at a time—in exceptional cases, the current Professorship holder may be considered for reappointment after a review has been conducted pursuant to the university’s policies and procedures for professorship holders.

Davar Khoshnevisan Chair of the Dept of Mathematics

“Distinguished Professor Hacon's work has been groundbreaking, and he is recognized internationally as a mathematical scientist of the highest caliber, whose work has motivated and impacted the next generation of brilliant algebraic geometers.”

 

Born in England and raised in Italy, Hacon arrived at the U as a postdoctoral scholar in 1998 and came back as a professor in 2002. He is particularly interested in objects that exist in more than three dimensions. He and his colleagues have applied studies of these objects to extend the “minimal model program”—a foundational principle of algebraic geometry—into higher dimensions. The American Mathematical Society has lauded their work as “a watershed in algebraic geometry.”

He has been honored with prestigious awards such as his 2019 Election to The Royal Society of London, the 2018 Breakthrough Prize in Mathematics, the 2016 EH Moore Research Article Prize, the 2015 Distinguished Scholarly and Creative Research Award from the University of Utah, the 2011 Antonio Feltrinelli Prize in Mathematics Mechanics and Applications, the 2009 Frank Nelson Cole Prize in Algebra and the 2007 Clay Research Award. He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, a fellow of the American Mathematical Society, and a member of the National Academy of Sciences.

 

first published @ math.utah.edu

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Planetarium Internship

Evans & Sutherland Internship


Keegan Benfield, Christian Norseth, Ethan Lamé, and Carson Brown.

U students create new presentations during planetarium internship.

This past summer Keegan Benfield, Ethan Lamé, and Christian Norseth, in the U’s Department of Physics & Astronomy, participated in an internship program at Evans & Sutherland, a Cosm company.

Cosm/E&S, considered the world’s first computer graphics company, has developed advanced computer graphics technologies for more than five decades.

Their technology developed Digistar 7, the world’s leading digital planetarium system, with full-dome programs and production services, giant screen films formatted for full-dome theaters, premium-quality projection domes, and theater design services.

The Physics Department had an opportunity to chat with the students about the internship.

Cyri Dixon

How did you learn about the internship?

  • Benfield - senior: physics, mechanical engineering
    I learned about it through an email from my U of U physics advisor, Cyri Dixon, the day before the internship closed. The email introduced me to Cosm. I was excited and applied right away.
  • Lamé - senior: physics
    I first heard about the internship with Cosm from Cyri Dixon. It sounded interesting, so I thought I might as well apply.
  • Norseth - graduate 2021: physics
    My advisor, Dan Wik, told me about the internship during one of our meetings.

What problem were you trying to solve at Cosm/E&S?

Ethan Lamé

  • Lamé
    We were given the task of creating shows using their software, Digistar.  We each picked a topic to research, and then we used Digistar to program the show as if it were to be shown to a planetarium audience.
  • Norseth
    My understanding is that Cosm/E&S put a lot of effort into adding accurate astronomical data and surveys into their planetarium software, and they wanted a way to show planetariums how to use the data.
  • Benfield
    The astrophysics interns were assigned two projects: designing two presentations on astrological objects and compiling a research paper that complemented the productions. The goal was to demonstrate the Digistar 7 system capabilities.

How did you go about developing a solution?

Christian Norseth

  • Norseth
    I selected two topics and researched them. I chose Extrasolar Systems and Stellar Formation Regions. We had a general outline of what kind of information we should include in our 5-10-minute planetarium show. I compiled a lot of information and then wrote out a “storyboard” with each element I wanted to include. I then designed the show in Digistar by writing automated scripts in the Digistar Command Language that controlled where you were in space and other visual elements on the dome. We could test our shows out on a projector dome that you would have in a planetarium.
  • Benfield
    During the first week, we were instructed on how to use the Digistar 7 systems and were given a general tour of the company facilities, including their three domes. We learned the operations and usage of the medium dome so that we could test our presentations. We used the remaining nine weeks to research, develop code, and collaborate on the shows.
  • Lamé
    After the first week of training using the Digistar software, we all jumped into using the scripting language to code our own movements and animations. After I did some research on my topic, I created a sort of story that I wanted to tell the audience, and then used the Digistar code to show the audience exactly what I wanted to show them.

Did you collaborate while still working on your own projects?

Keegan Benfield

  • Lamé
    We each worked on different topics throughout the internship, but we still helped each other. There are a lot of functionalities that the Digistar software has that we found through experimentation on our own topics, so if one of us had a question on how to do something, the others would often have an answer.
  • Benfield
    Each astrophysics intern selected their own two topics to investigate and research on their own time. However, we regularly met at the offices to discuss our code, receive help in coding, and peer review each presentation. We could easily rely upon each other when a problem occurred. Due to the variety of options that the Digistar 7 systems offered, each intern developed a unique method of generating various celestial objects so that each of our presentations were different.
  • Norseth
    We all worked on our own shows individually, but we helped each other figure things out. We would help each other with framing certain information or give suggestions on how to create an element in our shows.

Tell us about your daily routine.

    Evans & Sutherland - Digistar 7

  • Benfield
    My work day usually started around 9 a.m. and ended at 3 p.m. The day was broken up into sections depending on the number of meetings I had that day. For the days with fewer meetings, I spent my time in the computer lab or medium dome, developing my presentations and aiding or receiving coding aid from other interns. We also reviewed each other’s content in the dome. On days with multiple meetings, I spent my time preparing and conducting a little bit of coding.When I wasn’t at Cosm’s facilities, I was at the Marriott Library, conducting online research or scouring the library for research books.Each intern was assigned a Cosm buddy—an older company member. I met bi-weekly with my buddy to discuss any problems and to review my and practice my presentations.We did have internship week, where all of the interns traveled to the facilities here in Utah. We had multiple activities, ranging from an airplane competition, designing a Cosm event, and having dinner and a movie in the large dome. We also received tips about hiring and using LinkedIn as a networking tool.
  • Norseth
    Every week I’d come into the office on Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday and get to work in a shared computer space. If I needed to test any content on the dome, I’d export my scripts and head down to the bottom floor where I could use the projector dome.
  • Lamé
    Typically, I would arrive just before 9 a.m. and jump into working on whatever work I had from the previous day. There were occasionally meetings during the day that we were able to join from our laptops, but for the most part, we stayed in the computer lab, working on our shows. Most people were there most days, so I was rarely the only one in the room. Often, we would go to a planetarium projection dome in the office and play our shows to see how the movements/animations worked and fix any bugs that popped up. I would often be doing research on the internet while working on these projects to make sure that the information I had was correct and to search for more engaging stories to tell.

Future plans?

Daniel Wik

  • Norseth
    I’m hoping to attend graduate school in astrophysics. This is my second year applying, but I should have a published paper under my belt this time. After my Ph.D., I’m not sure what I’ll do, probably try to become a professor or conduct some kind of astronomy-related research.
  • Lamé
    I’m planning to apply to some graduate school programs in astrophysics, and maybe even an engineering program or two. I’d love to dive deeper into a related field in grad school and once I know that I enjoy working with that skill set, eventually move into an industry job.
  • Benfield
    I love learning and developing skills that are desirable for my career path. I want to enter the field of defense contractors or work at a national lab. I also plan on continuing my education by earning a master’s or a Ph.D. in engineering, computer science, and physics. Eventually, I want to start my own company based on some inventions that I have semi-planned out.

 

 

About the internship

Melinda Orms

According to Melinda, Orms, Product Manager at Cosm, the Astrophysics Internship program with the University of Utah, Department of Physics & Astronomy, began after Dr. Anil Seth, Associate Professor, reached out to Cosm in the spring of 2022. Cosm invited Seth and his colleagues to visit the company’s Experience Center. During the visit, faculty had a tour of the system and its capabilities. Cosm talked about its desire to collaborate and the idea to have interns from the U Astrophysics program first surfaced.

“Our summer internship registration period had just ended here at Cosm, said Orms. “However, Karen Klamczynski, our training director, and I wrote up a plan for the Astrophysics Internship program, and we were able to get special approval to move forward at a very late date. Because a significant amount of training was involved, we required four interns in order to launch the program. We sent the information to Daniel Wik, Assistant Professor in the U’s Astrophysics program. We gave him a deadline of a few days to secure candidates for the program. I don’t know how, but he did it, but we ended up with six applicants and filled our four positions.”

The company-wide internship had 13 participants, located in Salt Lake City, Los Angeles, and New York. They filled positions in many areas of the company, including technical writing, business development, design, and sales, etc.

Digistar is the world’s most advanced planetarium system, and Cosm’s customers teach science and astronomy in facilities all around the world. The company wanted to make it easier for their customers to present topics that utilize the wealth of astronomical data that is pulled into Digistar.

“We had Ethan, Christian, and Keegan take an abbreviated training course to learn how to use our system,” said Orms. “They selected and researched topics. For each topic, they created Digistar visualizations (5-10-minute shows) and supporting information and materials. Their projects were shown to our customers from all around the world. What they created will be made available to our customers for use in their planetariums. We finished the internship with an evening in the dome where they presented their lessons to friends and family and some of their professors.”

Cosm plans to continue and, hopefully, expand, its Astrophysics Internship program with the U’s Department of Physics & Astronomy. The company is looking forward to selecting more interns in January and are discussing plans for hosting a lecture in the dome.

 

by Michele Swaner , first published @ physics.utah.edu.

Stephanie VanBeuge

Stephanie VanBeuge


Lockdowns are something that Stephanie VanBeuge BS’17 knows something about–even before the pandemic.

It was in her third year of graduate school at the University of Oregon when VanBeuge was first diagnosed with brain cancer–on the first day of the school year. She returned to Utah to receive treatment at Huntsman Cancer Institute and was able to return to school almost like nothing ever happened.

Stephanie VanBeuge

“When the pandemic started, I had just finished radiation treatment for my brain cancer. For about four months before lockdown started in March 2020, I was on my own lockdown of sorts recovering from brain surgery and enduring radiation."

 

Adjusting to the isolation of the early days of the pandemic was easy enough, she admits, “but starting to work from home and then going back into the lab later that year was really difficult, in part because my brain just wasn’t working like it used to. It’s hard for me to gauge how hard the pandemic specifically has been because as I’ve adjusted to the pandemic I’ve also recovered from brain cancer and, as my brain has continued to heal, I’ve had an easier time navigating our ‘new normal.'”

The U, VanBeuge says, gave her a lot of confidence in exploring new topics. “I chose to rotate in labs that were different from the kind of research I had done before. I was able to learn a lot about myself and my interests as a scientist and make an informed decision on my degree.” That was a good thing, because in Oregon students rotate through three labs during their first year and then pick one of those labs in which to work on their PhD. VanBeuge chose Karen Guillemin’s lab where she studied host-microbiome relationships.

Now with her doctorate, VanBeuge, who is originally from Tacoma, WA but grew up in Las Vegas, is looking to start a career in the biotechnology industry. “I was interested in the evolutionarily conserved aspects of this relationship and focused on gut epithelial proliferation in response to colonization by the microbiota.” During her research she found that the multiplication or reproduction of epithelial cells which in the expansion of a cell population (epithelial proliferation) wasn’t a response to a specific bacterial species. Instead, “it’s an innate immune system mediated response to barrier damage.”

Along the way VanBeuge has been active in the University of Oregon Women in Graduate Sciences (UOWGS) - https://twitter.com/uowgs organization where she served as outreach chair for AY 2019-2020. Her research culminated in two papers that she co-authored, “Proteolytic Degradation and Inflammation Play Critical Roles in Polypoidal Choroidal Vasculopathy” in The American Journal of Pathology and “Secreted Aeromonas GlcNAc binding protein GbpA stimulates epithelial cell proliferation in the zebrafish intestine” in bioRxiv. A third paper has also been submitted.

Reporting on her research is just one writing outlet for Stephanie VanBeuge. She’s determined to produce a memoir of what it was like as a young scientist, battling brain cancer in the middle of her education. She has a first draft and plans on completing it soon. The story “is primarily a story about resilience. It’s about facing your fears and uncertainty head on and not letting them stop you from showing up and fighting back. I hope people who read this book are empowered to show up and face their own challenges head on.”

By David Pace, originally published at of biology.utah.edu.

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Toxic Dust Hot Spots

Toxic Dust Hot Spots


Kevin Perry

Where is Great Salt Lake's toxic dust most likely to originate?

Professor Kevin Perry believes there are many "trigger points" that indicate when there is something wrong with the Great Salt Lake.

For instance, anyone who has come to the lake for recreation has recently found an inability to launch watercraft as the lake levels continue to reach all-time lows. Struggles for the vital brine shrimp industry and a possible collapse of the lake's base food chain are other alarms on the horizon, says Perry, a professor of atmospheric science at the University of Utah.

Toxic dust from the drying lakebed ultimately became one of the first alarms that captivated researchers, though. The Great Salt Lake contains arsenic and other metals that are naturally occurring, while some researchers say could even be human-caused. And as the lake shrinks, it has exposed some 800 square miles of exposed lakebed, equivalent to the entire surface area of Maui.

Researchers are starting to identify places around the dried-up lake that are most likely to produce dust that is ultimately carried into Utah communities, Perry says. He pinpoints Farmington Bay in Davis County, Bear River Bay near Brigham City and Ogden, and the lake's northwest boundary in a remote part of Box Elder County as the three largest dust "hot spots."

Fragile eroding surface crust - Kevin Perry

These three locations have the highest potential of sourcing dust all over northern Utah for years to come unless there's a dramatic turnaround in the lake levels, Perry explained Tuesday evening in a presentation about dust concerns to the Utah Legislature's bipartisan Clean Air Caucus.

But before rushing into a panic, Perry told lawmakers there is still so much more research needed to fully understand the dust carried out of the dried Great Salt Lake, including if and how much of a role it plays in long-term health concerns.

Dust Hot Spots
There are certain spots within the 800 square miles of exposed lakebed with a higher potential to produce dust that is carried into Utah communities during storms. While winds typically impact areas east of the lake, like Wasatch Front communities, weather patterns can blow the dust into areas all over northern Utah.

"Everybody along the Wasatch Front (and Tooele Valley) is impacted at certain times," Perry said after Tuesday's meeting.

Perry's research over the years has focused on identifying the frequency that dust is exposed in the atmosphere and also the concentration levels of dust in the air that Utahns breathe to understand public health impacts. It's helped him figure out the areas where dust is more likely to be picked up.

Soil with higher amounts of erodible material like silt and clay are more likely to be picked up into the air. Farmington Bay, Bear River Bay and the "extreme" northwest quadrant of the lake have the highest levels of silt and clay of any exposed lakebeds, where the materials make up at least 10% of the soil samples. Most of it arrives from the lake's tributaries like the Jordan, Bear and Weber rivers.

Map of Dust Hot Spots - Kevin Perry

They are the same areas where the lake's surface crust is vulnerable. Perry explains that only about 9% of the lakebed is actively producing dust because three-fourths of the lake is currently protected by a crust, such as the natural salt pan that protects the lakebed from breaking.

The dust coming from the remaining quarter either doesn't have crust or the crust is considered erodible. Human activity from illegal motor vehicle riding on the exposed lakebed is one reason for this crust breaking, and dust can blow freely in the wind once the surface erodes.

Again, Farmington and Bear River bays emerge as hot spots, as well as Gilbert and Gunnison bays on the western corners of the lake. And while most of the lakebed is protected now, the amount of protection decreases every year it is exposed because of how fragile the crust is, Perry adds.

The Air Quality Threat
This dust is a problem just because of its ability to raise particulate matter levels, something Utahns are accustomed to hearing about from wildfires and during winter inversions that threaten Utah's air quality. But Perry cautions it is too early to know what the true human impact of the dust will be.

The lakebed contains levels of arsenic, lanthanum, lithium, zirconium, copper and other metals above the Environmental Protection Agency's residential and industrial standards. Of those, arsenic, which can increase the risk of a few diseases when there is chronic exposure, has the highest levels compared to EPA standards, according to Perry.

However, it is not very clear how much of it people are actually breathing in during a wind event. The dose levels, a calculation of concentration, frequency and bioavailability, are needed to fully understand the true human risk associated.

This data is collected by the Utah Division of Air Quality but Perry says it hasn't been analyzed to this point because of the cost: $27,500 per site annually. Until that is available, researchers don't really know any component in the dose level equation, including how many days of the year dust ends up in surrounding communities or if some communities have disparities compared to others.

This is why Perry emphasizes that what is in the dust should be considered a "potential concern." He likens this uncertainty to driving on an unfamiliar mountain road in the dark. Motorists are more likely to slow down and focus on the road ahead of them when they perceive a risk of driving off the roadway.

The same idea applies to the science of the Great Salt Lake.

"What we've done here is identify a risk," Perry says. "The risk is exposure to (the) heavy metal arsenic, and so what we need to do is step back and try and understand the significance of that risk. ... We need to do more research, we need to take more measurements but we need to be vigilant because there is a threat out there. We need to determine if that threat will be realized or not."

Representative Ray Ward

This is not a problem that might happen in the future, the lake is three-fourths of the way gone today and we really, really need to have a sustained focus on it over a longer period of time to make sure we put enough water into it.  - Rep. Ray Ward, R-Bountiful

 

Rep. Ray Ward, R-Bountiful, a member of the Clean Air Caucus, said after the meeting that the presentation didn't immediately spark any new bill ideas for the future; however, he said, it emphasizes the need for new state appropriations, which may include the cost of analyzing the air quality data for Great Salt Lake dust.

The Easiest Solution
But how does Utah avoid this potential concern? The easiest solution is refilling the lake, though, that's still a daunting task considering all the upstream water diversions that take water out of the lake and that Utah is in the middle of a two-decade-long megadrought. This says everything about how challenging it is to mitigate dust once a lakebed is exposed.

There are dozens of global examples of what can go wrong when a lake dries out but Owens Lake in California is the one that Perry pointed lawmakers to on Tuesday. The lake began to dry up when Los Angeles officials began diverting the lake's water sources into the Los Angeles Aqueduct.

This is not a problem that might happen in the future, the lake is three-fourths of the way gone today and we really, really need to have a sustained focus on it over a longer period of time to ... make sure we put enough water into it.  - Rep. Ray Ward, R-Bountiful

California leaders have since spent over $2 billion trying to mitigate the health concerns associated with the dried lake dust. They eventually determined the only feasible solution was to refill the lake, Perry explains.

This solution could take a long time to solve Utah's problems, though. Of the Great Salt Lake's four major concern areas, Perry considers Farmington Bay as the easiest to mitigate simply because it requires the least amount of water to help cover the surface area. The lake needs to gain about 10 feet of water to mitigate dust concerns in the bay, but that could take decades to happen, barring an unforeseen shift in trends.

"Which means that we're going to be plagued by dust coming off the Great Salt Lake not just for a few years but likely for decades," he said.

That said, he's more optimistic about this solution now than just three years ago. He's seen Utahns show more interest in reducing water waste and state leaders take larger steps toward water conservation compared to the past. Tuesday's meeting featured four experts explaining ways to improve water quantity and air quality around the lake.

Ward agrees that the state is going to need to more than just refill the lake once to resolve the lake's issue. The Utah Legislature directed $40 million toward getting more water to the lake in this year's legislative session. More money and projects are needed to ensure water is flowing to the Great Salt Lake, Ward acknowledges.

But it's time and money worth spending given the known and potential risks Utah faces as the lake dries up.

"The big picture is we're in trouble with the lake right now," he said. "This is not a problem that might happen in the future, the lake is three-fourths of the way gone today and we really, really need to have a sustained focus on it over a longer period of time to ... make sure we put enough water into it."

 

by Carter Williams, first published @ KSL.com.

Wilkes Scholars

Wilkes Scholars


Apply to Become a Wilkes Scholar.

The Wilkes Scholars Program (WSP) enables outstanding undergraduate students to explore pressing climate challenges facing our state, region, and planet through transformative research. Wilkes Scholars will work with a mentor to advance research related to the mission of the Wilkes Center for Climate Science and Policy — catalyzing innovative science and solutions to address climate change.

 

To be eligible to receive this funding, applicants must:

  • Conduct research projects in the area of climate science and/or environmental studies. Examples of relevant research include, but are not limited to, drought and water issues, climate forecasting, climate justice, air quality, climate policy, fire and climate extremes, and environment and human health. 
  • Provide a tenure-line or career-line faculty contact who will submit a letter of support.
  • Be matriculated, degree seeking students at the University of Utah who have completed their first year of studies (sophomore+)

Wilkes Scholars are eligible for up $5,000 per semester and can receive two semesters of funding during the regular academic year (Fall and Spring). Students who receive funding are also eligible to apply for summer funding concurrently. Students who wish to receive funding through the summer must submit a new application before the March 1 deadline. Wilkes Scholars may be eligible for one subsequent renewal. Students may apply to become a Wilkes Scholar in any semester.

Wilkes Scholars awardees will be hired as temporary, part-time employees by the home department of their faculty mentor. Wilkes Scholars are paid $15/hour with a maximum Fall/Spring semester cap of 19hrs/week and a maximum Summer semester cap of 40hrs/week.

The Wilkes Center for Climate Science and Policy recognizes that a diverse student body benefits and enriches the educational experiences of all students, faculty, and staff. Thus, we strive to recruit students who will further enrich this diversity and make every attempt to support their academic and personal success while they are here.

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NDSEG Fellowship

NDSEG Fellowship


Aria Ballance

 

National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate Fellowship.

Aria Ballance is a third-year graduate student who was selected for the 2022 National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate Fellowship. Sponsored by the Air Force Office of Scientific Research, the Army Reserve Office, and the Office of Naval Research, it is a highly competitive fellowship with over 3,000 applicants and only 50 awardees.

Aria’s research is focused on evaluating crescent shaped nanostructures as a tunable platform for vibrational circular dichroism (VCD). The proposal she wrote for NDSEG involved using the nanocrescents she fabricates to optimize the detection of chiral molecules. “Ultimately, the chiral detection will be used to identify the presence of life outside of our solar system.”

In fact, Aria credits Star Trek with her love of science and her decision to become a chemist. She credits her PI Dr. Jennifer Shumaker-Parry with supporting and guiding her through her graduate career. When not in the lab she loves to backpack, she paints in watercolors, she loves rock climbing, goes white water kayaking, and enjoys skiing and swing dancing.

 

first published @ chem.utah.edu

 

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Armentrout Interview

Peter B. Armentrout


Journal of the American Society for Mass Spectrometry

An Appreciation for, and an Interview with, Professor Peter B. Armentrout.

Peter B. Armentrout the Henry Eyring Presidential Endowed Chair of Chemistry at the University of Utah is the 2021 recipient of the John B. Fenn Award for Distinguished Contribution in Mass Spectrometry.

List of contributions from the following research groups: Ryan Julian, Scott McLuckey, Kit Bowen, R. Graham Cooks, Dave Clemmer, Air Force Research Laboratory, Mathias Schaefer, Joost Bakker, Diethard Bohme, Peter Armentrout, Konrad Koszinowski, Jana Roithová, Mary Rodgers, and Richard O’Hair.

It is a pleasure to introduce a special focus of the Journal of the American Society for Mass Spectrometry to celebrate the accomplishments of Prof. Peter B. Armentrout, Henry Eyring Presidential Endowed Chair of Chemistry, University of Utah, on the occasion of his receiving the 2021 ASMS John B. Fenn Award for a Distinguished Contribution in Mass Spectrometry. The award recognizes Peter’s development of (1) robust experimental and statistical techniques for the determination of accurate thermochemistry via the guided ion beam method, which has provided insights into the thermochemistry, kinetics, and dynamics of simple and complex chemical reactions, and (2) a suite of software programs for statistically modeling the energy dependence of product formation. As a consequence of these developments, nearly 2500 distinct bond energies have been measured during his career. These fundamental measurements have impact in many fields, including catalysis, biochemistry, surface chemistry, organometallic chemistry, and plasma chemistry.

This issue contains a total of 14 papers around the theme of “Thermodynamics, Kinetics and Mechanisms in Gas-Phase Ion Chemistry”. We thank all of the authors and reviewers for helping this issue come to fruition.

Although Peter’s achievements have been documented in other editorials (1−4) and he has written a short autobiography, (5) here we asked Peter some questions on issues that have intrigued us (note: this interview is a COVID19 “timecapsule” as it was carried out in mid-2021 during the height of lockdowns and travel bans):


Question 1: Many of us were inspired to pursue science by our high school teachers. In your autobiography, (5) you mentioned that you had excellent chemistry and physics teachers at Oakwood High School, Dayton, OH. Did they help ignite a spark, or were you already doing experiments at home before then?

PBA answer: You know I was never one to really do experiments at home. I had a home chemistry set (with lots of dangerous chemicals that people would be horrified to give to kids these days), but I mainly mixed them up to generate goo and never followed the recipes given. However, I was always interested in how things worked and knew I would be a scientist shortly after I gave up the prospect of being a professional pony express rider (in the fifth grade or so).

Question 2: I enjoyed reading about your early research with the late Rob Dunbar (Case Western Reserve University) and with Jack Beauchamp (Caltech). (5) Since then, you have had a wonderfully productive career. What is your favorite piece of work that you have been involved in?

PBA answer: It is not often you get a call out of nowhere asking if you can do an experiment, but Al Viggiano did just that several years back. Turns out the Metal Oxide Space Cloud (MOSC) group at the Air Force Research Laboratory was interested in samarium chemistry. They needed to know the bond energy of SmO+ with more precision and accuracy than was available in the literature. I told him we would try to measure this if they bought us the samarium sample, which turned out to cost $200. Apparently, Al went to the MOSC group and said I would do the research but it would cost 200. They hesitated until they learned he did not mean $200K. We successfully measured the SmO+ bond energy, (6) which enabled them to understand an ongoing atmospheric test. Subsequently, this has led to grants that enable us to continue studying the oxidation of lanthanides, including revisiting the Sm system. I’m not sure that many scientists would have thought that understanding simple gas-phase diatomic molecules better is still an important avenue for research.

Armentrout in the lab.

Question 3: What is the role of a mentor in science? Who mentored you and what has been your style of mentoring?

PBA answer: The enterprise of chemistry is a complex and detailed world, with lots of places where you can go astray. The role of a mentor is to alert a student of chemistry about some of the realities of getting things done and provide guidance. My mentors were Jack Beauchamp, Rob Dunbar, and John Fackler (inorganic chemist at Case and then Texas A&M). Like them, I tell my students that they work with me, not for me. I’m largely a hands-off mentor who provides advice and direction but willingly become hands-on when the situation needs it. I try to make sure my students not only learn to take good data and analyze it but also to present it clearly in both written and oral venues. My door (these days, my email box) is always open.

Question 4: What are the challenges for young scientists?

PBA answer: There are so many. I’m not sure the challenges have changed over the years, but I do think they have intensified. Funding, life–work balance, just dealing with students and people, they all need work to make happen. One could imagine that finding a new scientific niche that you can be the expert in has become harder because all the “easy” targets have already been taken. This belief neglects the fact that new techniques and new technologies provide new opportunities, but that does not make them any easier to identify. When I started out, I realized that if only I could understand and control things better, then I really ought to be able to measure thresholds of reactions and learn not only some thermochemistry but also something about the dynamics and mechanisms of reactions. I identified radio frequency (rf) manipulations as a means to improve the technology considerably and that led to the very first guided ion beam tandem mass spectrometer that my group built at UC Berkeley. In subsequent years, we have also thought hard about how to interpret the kinetic energy dependence of reactions that has enabled us to make a lot of progress along those lines over the years, but there is a lot we still do not know or understand as well as we might.

Question 5: What is the future of peer-review publishing? How are you personally coping with the ever-increasing number of scientific articles?

PBA answer: Honestly, I’m not sure I am successfully coping at all. The only saving grace is that you can almost instantaneously search the literature for relevant articles through the Internet. I still remember having to go to the library and search Chemical Abstracts in order to search the literature. An Internet search does not always find every relevant article, but it always finds more than you really want.

Question 6: 2020 was a rather strange and challenging year. This is reflected in the fact that the Oxford English Dictionary was not able to decide on a single “word of the year”. What is your “word of the year” to describe 2020 and why?

PBA answer: Interesting question. My short answer also involves multiple words: pandemic, virtual, remote. If I had to pick one, it would be remote. The last year has kept us apart in ways we never conceived of and yet brought us together (often using technology) in ways that have expanded the way we will go forward. It is been an interesting process but one that will hopefully provide benefits in the future.

Question 7: Mary Rodgers’ recounting anticipating brutal questions from the holy trinity of gas-phase ion chemists (Jack Beauchamp, Mike Bowers, and Peter Armentrout) at the 1993 Lake Arrowhead Conference resonated with me. (2) I too was warned that you guys had exquisite “BS” detectors. Thus, it was with trepidation that when John Bowie fell ill I presented his talk at the eighth Asilomar Conference on Mass Spectrometry in 1990. (7) That was the first time that I met you, Jack, and Mike and other leading gas-phase ion chemists. I learned a lot but was also impressed by the spirit of the questions, which were aimed at getting the most out of the science. I also felt that this community was welcoming and that there was a sense of fun. Given that COVID19 has curtailed travel and many conferences have been canceled or rescheduled, what are your thoughts about the future of conferences? Are face-to-face conferences still important?

PBA answer: The triumvirate did indeed have a well-deserved reputation, but you are spot on with regard to the intent of those questions. I’ve been to a few virtual conferences in the past year. They accomplish a fair bit of what is needed to communicate science to your peers. They reduce our carbon footprint and can enable many more people to attend than might otherwise be able to afford it. However, the personal interactions, the bump-into-you-in-the-hall moments, the scribbles on a napkin, are missing from virtual conferences. The ability to share a drink and dine with friends and speculate together provides real opportunities to advance science. The time away from your routine at home can be mind expanding. Face-to-face conferences remain relevant and needed.

Question 8: If you had a time machine, which scientist(s) from history would you like to meet? What would you ask them?

PBA answer: Leonardo da Vinci. I’ve always thought he was the epitome of the Renaissance man, doing both art and science that was well ahead of its time. In that regard, I think most people do not appreciate how much art and inspiration there is in doing good science. I would ask him where he derived his inspiration and why he ever thought man could fly.

Question 9: Much of your work focuses on thermodynamics, with the 2013 tribute (4) mentioning over 2000 distinct bond energies measured. What is the motivation for your intense interest, perhaps even obsession, with this aspect of chemistry?

PBA answer: I have always valued the quantitative aspects of chemistry. I can recall early in my graduate career an interaction with the late Ben Freiser, then also a graduate student with Jack Beauchamp, where he took one of the pieces of thermochemistry I had recently measured and proceeded to break it down a number of different ways. Thermodynamics has an eternal quality to it: a good measurement will be valuable to many future generations. Thermodynamics is predictive; it can definitively tell you whether a reaction is possible or not. A recent example is a study that generated a fair bit of interest because it claimed to observe catalytic conversion of methane to ethene on gold dimer cations at temperatures as low as 200 K. The problem is that this reaction is endothermic by over 200 kJ/mol, which means it is impossible to catalyze at thermal energies. Collaborators and I investigated a number of alternative explanations for the observations. (8)


 

First published at ASMS.org

 

This article references 8 other publications.

  1. 1

    Bierbaum, V. M. Focus on ion thermochemistry in honor of Peter B. Armentrout, recipient of the 2001 Biemann MedalJ. Am. Soc. Mass Spectrom. 200213 (5), 417– 418 DOI: 10.1016/S1044-0305(02)00377-X

  2. 2

    Rodgers, M. T.Clemmer, D. E. An appreciationInt. J. Mass Spectrom. 2012330–3322– 3 DOI: 10.1016/j.ijms.2012.11.003

  3. 3

    Rodgers, M. T.Clemmer, D. E. A Celebration of the Scientific and Personal Contributions of Peter BArmentrout, Int. J. Mass Spectrom. 2012330–3324– 5 DOI: 10.1016/j.ijms.2012.11.004

  4. 4

    Ervin, K. M.Rodgers, M. T. 2140 Bond Energies and Counting: A Tribute to Peter B. ArmentroutJ. Phys. Chem. A 2013117 (6), 967– 969 DOI: 10.1021/jp401080r

  5. 5

    Armentrout, P. B. The Ties That Bind: An Autobiographical Sketch of Peter B. ArmentroutJ. Phys. Chem. A 2013117 (6), 970– 973 DOI: 10.1021/jp400039t

  6. 6

    Cox, R. M.Kim, J.Armentrout, P. B.Bartlett, J.VanGundy, R. A.Heaven, M. C.Ard, S. G.Melko, J. J.Shuman, N. S.Viggiano, A. A. Evaluation of the exothermicity of the chemi-ionization reaction Sm + O– → SmO+ + e–J. Chem. Phys. 2015142134307 DOI: 10.1063/1.4916396

  7. 7

    Bierbaum, V. M. 8th Asilomar Conference on Mass SpectrometryRapid Commun. Mass Spectrom. 19915144– 144 DOI: 10.1002/rcm.1290050313

  8. 8

    Shuman, N. S.Ard, S. G.Sweeny, B. C.Pan, H.Viggiano, A. A.Keyes, N. R.Guo, H.Owen, C. J.Armentrout, P. B. Au2+ cannot catalyze conversion of methane to ethene at low temperatureCatal. Sci. Technol. 201992767– 2780 DOI: 10.1039/C9CY00523D

 

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STAR-X Proposal

STAR-X Proposal


Daniel Wik

Astrophysicist Dan Wik proposal selected by NASA

NASA has selected four mission proposals submitted to the agency’s Explorers Program for further study. U astrophysicist Dan Wik is a member of the STAR-X Proposal Team, one of the two Astrophysics Medium Explorer missions selected by NASA for further study. The proposals include missions that would study exploding stars, distant clusters of galaxies, and nearby galaxies and stars.

Adapted from a news release by NASA

Two Astrophysics Medium Explorer missions and two Explorer Missions of Opportunity have been selected to conduct mission concept studies. After detailed evaluation of those studies, NASA plans to select one Mission of Opportunity and one Medium Explorer in 2024 to proceed with implementation. The selected missions will be targeted for launch in 2027 and 2028, respectively.

Daniel Wik, assistant professor in the Department of Physics & Astronomy at the University of Utah, is a member of the STAR-X Proposal Team, one of the two Astrophysics Medium Explorer missions selected by NASA for further study. For more information about Wik and the STAR-X team, visit: http://star-x.xraydeep.org/.

“The fact that STAR-X has passed this competitive milestone is a testament to the hard work and vision of both the hardware and science teams, and it has been enormous fun for me to contribute to this effort and collaborate with such a talented and convivial group of scientists. I hope this collaboration will continue for years,” said Wik.

Daniel Wik

Wik is an X-ray astronomer, who primarily works with observations conducted by the NuSTAR mission, along with data from other X-ray observatories, such as XMM-NewtonChandra, and the soon-to-launch XRISM, studying galaxies and galaxy clusters. Before joining the U in 2017, he was a research scientist at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center outside of Washington, D.C.

“NASA’s Explorers Program has a proud tradition of supporting innovative approaches to exceptional science, and these selections hold that same promise,” said Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters in Washington. “From studying the evolution of galaxies to explosive, high-energy events, these proposals are inspiring in their scope and creativity to explore the unknown in our universe.”

NASA Explorer missions conduct focused scientific investigations and develop instruments that fill scientific gaps between the agency’s larger space science missions. The proposals were competitively selected based on potential science value and feasibility of development plans.

The two Medium Explorer teams selected at this stage will each receive $3 million to conduct a nine-month mission concept study. Astrophysics Medium Explorer mission costs are capped at $300 million each, excluding the launch vehicle. The selected proposals are:

UltraViolet EXplorer (UVEX)

  • UVEX would conduct a deep survey of the whole sky in two bands of ultraviolet light, to provide new insights into galaxy evolution and the lifecycle of stars. The spacecraft would have the ability to repoint rapidly to capture ultraviolet light from the explosion that follows a burst of gravitational waves caused by merging neutron stars. UVEX would carry an ultraviolet spectrograph for detailed study of massive stars and stellar explosions.
  • Principal investigator: Fiona Harrison at Caltech in Pasadena, California

Survey and Time-domain Astrophysical Research Explorer (STAR-X)

  • The STAR-X spacecraft would be able to turn rapidly to point a sensitive wide-field X-ray telescope and an ultraviolet telescope at transient cosmic sources, such as supernova explosions and active galaxies. Deep X-ray surveys would map hot gas trapped in distant clusters of galaxies; combined with infrared observations from NASA’s upcoming Roman Space Telescope, these observations would trace how massive clusters of galaxies built up over cosmic history.
  • Principal investigator: William Zhang at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland

The two Mission of Opportunity teams selected at this stage will each receive $750,000 to conduct a nine-month implementation concept study. NASA Mission of Opportunity costs are capped at $80 million each. The selected proposals are:

Moon Burst Energetics All-sky Monitor (MoonBEAM)

  • In its orbit between Earth and the Moon, MoonBEAM would see almost the whole sky at any time, watching for bursts of gamma rays from distant cosmic explosions and rapidly alerting other telescopes to study the source. MoonBEAM would see gamma rays earlier or later than telescopes on Earth or in low orbit, and astronomers could use that time difference to pinpoint the gamma-ray source in the sky.
  • Principal investigator: Chiumun Michelle Hui at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama

A LargE Area burst Polarimeter (LEAP)

  • Mounted on the International Space Station, LEAP would study gamma-ray bursts from the energetic jets launched during the formation of a black hole after the explosive death of a massive star, or in the merger of compact objects. The high-energy gamma-ray radiation can be polarized, or vibrate in a particular direction, which can distinguish between competing theories for the nature of the jets.
  • Principal investigator: Mark McConnell at the University of New Hampshire in Durham

The Explorers Program is the oldest continuous NASA program. The program is designed to provide frequent, low-cost access to space using principal investigator-led space science investigations relevant to the Science Mission Directorate’s astrophysics and heliophysics programs.

Since the launch of Explorer 1 in 1958, which discovered the Earth’s radiation belts, the Explorers Program has launched more than 90 missions, including the Uhuru and Cosmic Background Explorer (COBE) missions that led to Nobel prizes for their investigators.

The program is managed by NASA Goddard for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington, which conducts a wide variety of research and scientific exploration programs for Earth studies, space weather, the solar system, and the universe.

For more information about the Explorers Program, visit: https://explorers.gsfc.nasa.gov.

first published @ physics.utah.edu

 

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