UM scientist works with NASA on rocket mission above Earth

UM scientist works with NASA on rocket mission above Earth

NASA workers prepare a rocket for scientific mission.

A University of Miami professor led a NASA rocket mission that made quite an important discovery in our galaxy.

Massimiliano Galeazzi, UM professor and associate chair in the Department of Physics of the College of Arts and Sciences, launched a sounding rocket mission to analyze the diffuse x-ray emission, with the goal of identifying how much of that emission comes from within our solar system and how much from a hot bubble of gas outside our solar system.

The University of Miami professor collaborated with astrophysicists, planetary scientists and heliophysicists from NASA, the University of Wisconsin-Madison, the University of Michigan, the University of Kansas, the Johns Hopkins University and CNRS in France. The team refurbished and modernized an X-ray detector that was mounted on a sounding rocket with components from a 1993 Space Shuttle mission.

The rocket was launched on Dec. 12, 2012 with the support of NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility, from White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico.

It reached an altitude of 160 miles, and stayed above the Earth’s atmosphere for five minutes, enough time to carry out its mission successfully.

The information collected was transmitted directly to researchers on the ground at the launch facility. Galeazzi and collaborators are already planning a similar launch for December 2015.

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