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USU's Atmospheric Waves Experiment chosen by NASA for mission to study space weather

March 6, 2019 | KUTV

USU physicist Mike Taylor is lead investigator for the AWE mission, selected for funding by NASA, to study space weather from the ISS. USU's Space Dynamics Laboratory will design and build the experiment’s imaging instrument.
Photo courtesy of USU

Utah State University’s Atmospheric Waves Experiment (AWE) has been chosen by NASA for a mission to study space weather from the International Space Station.

The AWE experiment includes the use of an imager, known as the Advanced Mesospheric Temperature Mapper.

The imager captures colorful bands of light in the Earth’s atmosphere, called "airglow".

This airglow determines the combination of forces driving space weather in the upper atmosphere. Anticipated launch date for this experience in August 2022.

USU President Noelle Cockett said in a prepared statement:

"We are honored Utah State University has been selected to lead this important NASA mission. AWE continues USU’s long tradition of working with NASA to realize its mission of achieving a deep, scientific understanding of Earth, our solar system and the universe beyond."

USU Physics professor Mike Taylor, who has studied upper atmospheric gravity waves for more than three decades, leads the project, which is managed by USU’s Space Dynamics Laboratory (SDL), a press release said.

Additional investigators participating in the project include USU Physics professor and College of Science dean Maura Hagan, adjunct professor Jeff Forbes and physicists Dominique Pautet and Yucheng Zhao.

AWE is funded by NASA’s Mission of Opportunity under the Heliophysics Explorers Program, which conducts focused scientific research and development instrumentation to fill the scientific gaps between the agency’s larger missions.

For more information, visit www.usu.edu/science.