Observing the endless variations in our
sun via a multiple of solar observation
satellites and telescopes has become a popular
activity for many people. Our dynamic star
goes through periodic changes such as in
the number of sunspots, it burps gigantic
solar flares, and it emits the solar wind,
which washes upon our magnetosphere to produce
magnificent aurora at the north and south
poles. The enormously complex interaction
of the solar wind with earth is now commonly
referred to as Space Weather.
There are many on line sites where one
can find space weather imagery and data.
Space section here offers links to many
of these. For example, NASA's SpaceWeather.com
site is a great place to get all sorts of
solar and astronomy news and observation
info. There is even the 3D
Sun space weather viewer for iPhone,
iPod touch and iPad.
NASA Goddard Spaceflight Center now offers
a powerful web based program called the
Space Weather Analysis System (iSWA)
that displays a wide range of space weather
related images and data. The following screen
capture image shows some of the types of
images and data that can be displayed with
the iSWA. To open the program in your browser
Science Research & Education
with Fully Reusable Suborbital Space Vehicles
As reported here many times, soon we will
see manned and unmanned rocket-powered vehicles
flying routinely to altitudes in the 100
kilometer range. These suborbital space
vehicles are fully reusable and can be quickly
serviced and re-flown in a manner similar
to jet powered aircraft. Space tourism has
been the most publicized application for
such vehicles but they will have many other
applications, especially for scientific
research and education.
Researchers will take advantage of the
vehicles' low cost and frequent access to
space. They will use suborbital space transportation
for experiments and observations for atmospheric
sciences, astronomy, planetary science,
solar studies, aurora, microgravity, life
sciences, and more.
Usually, it takes years to arrange and
carry out experiments on space flights.
With these new vehicles, students will be
able to fly experiments within the period
of their coursework.
See the following links for additional
information about the first
major conference dedicated to the utilization
of suborbital space transportation for research.
Stern, Principle Investigator for the
New Horizons mission to Pluto and former
NASA's science directorate, and researcher
Durda in this video promote the potential
suborbital space transports for scientific
research, education and public participation.