From the Forty Acres to Pluto: Longhorns in Space
July 14, 2015
Astronomers, scientists and those who dream of space are all eagerly watching as a NASA spacecraft flies three billion miles
from Earth near the edges of our solar system.
When New Horizons reaches its closest approach to Pluto, one Longhorn will have particular cause to celebrate the historic accomplishment: Alan Stern, the mission’s leader.
Stern, who holds bachelor’s degrees in physics and astronomy and master’s degrees in aerospace engineering and planetary atmospheres from UT, is the principal investigator on the New Horizons mission. After nearly 10 years in flight, New Horizons will spend five months studying Pluto and its moons.
But Stern’s mission is just one example of Longhorns dreaming of beyond infinity. Examples of space research specifically involving the Jackson School of Geosciences include:
- Geologists helping train astronauts for trips to the International Space Station.
- When a NASA spacecraft sets off to explore Jupiter’s icy moon Europa, equipment designed by a UT team will help search for the ingredients of life. Radar equipment designed to pierce the ice of Antarctica developed by the Institute for Geophysics in the Jackson School of Geosciences, will let researchers see the subsurface landscape of Europa’s ice shell all the way to the ocean below when the spacecraft launches in the 2020s.
- In 2013, a team of UT scientists used instruments on the Mars rover Curiosity to analyze samples of sand and dust.
Full article with more UT space accomplishments: http://news.utexas.edu/2015/07/14/from-the-forty-acres-to-pluto-longhorns-in-space