Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Firestation: Getting ready for launch

Date:
November 8, 2012
Source:
NASA
Summary:
An experiment to study the effects of lightning flashes on Earth's atmosphere has taken its first steps on its journey to space. The Firestation experiment has undergone numerous tests to make sure it's ready for flight. It left NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. in July 2012 for Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas for vibration tests. From there it moved to Langley Research Center in Va. to make sure it could withstand the rigors of temperature changes and the vacuum it will experience in space.

Goddard scientists put the finishing touches on Firestation.
Credit: NASA

An experiment to study the effects of lightning flashes on Earth's atmosphere has taken its first steps on its journey to space.

Related Articles


The Firestation experiment has undergone numerous tests to make sure it's ready for flight. It left NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. in July 2012 for Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas for vibration tests. From there it moved to Langley Research Center in Va. to make sure it could withstand the rigors of temperature changes and the vacuum it will experience in space. Soon it will ship to Kennedy Space Center in Fl. for a last round of communication systems testing, before being shipped to Japan for a launch currently scheduled for July 2013.

From its perch high in the atmosphere, Firestation will watch for lightning on Earth. Fifty strokes of lightning occur on Earth every second. Awe-inspiring and beautiful, lightning is also integrated into a vast atmospheric system in ways that are little understood. For one thing, they may trigger another phenomena known as terrestrial gamma-ray flashes or TGFs. Giant bursts of gamma rays have long been witnessed far out in the cosmos, but only in 1994 were they spotted closer to home, by the Burst and Transient Source Experiment (BATSE) from space. In 1996, scientists began to correlate these mysterious bursts with lightning but the mechanism of how one triggers the other is unknown. Indeed, the process that creates lightning is thought to be ten times too weak to generate gamma rays, so one of Firestation's goals will be to distinguish between various theories on how TGF's form.

Current estimates suggest there may be some 500 TGFs every day, and Firestation will spend a year observing them. Three instruments will help the endeavor: a radio receiver, which tracks the tell tale, bacon-frying sound of lightning; an optical photometer to observe the lightning, and a gamma-ray/electron detector. Firestation will also make use of a camera to snap pictures of lightning in progress and help pinpoint its location.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by NASA. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

NASA. "Firestation: Getting ready for launch." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 8 November 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/11/121108154034.htm>.
NASA. (2012, November 8). Firestation: Getting ready for launch. ScienceDaily. Retrieved January 30, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/11/121108154034.htm
NASA. "Firestation: Getting ready for launch." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/11/121108154034.htm (accessed January 30, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Earth & Climate News

Friday, January 30, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: Rare Clouds Fill Grand Canyon

Raw: Rare Clouds Fill Grand Canyon

AP (Jan. 29, 2015) For the second time in two months, a rare weather phenomenon filled the Grand Canyon with thick clouds just below the rim on Wednesday. (Jan. 29) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Senate Passes Bill for Keystone XL Pipeline

Senate Passes Bill for Keystone XL Pipeline

AP (Jan. 29, 2015) The Republican-controlled Senate has passed a bipartisan bill approving construction of the Keystone XL oil pipeline. (Jan. 29) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
"Cloud Inversion" In Grand Canyon

"Cloud Inversion" In Grand Canyon

Reuters - US Online Video (Jan. 29, 2015) Time lapse video captures a blanket of clouds amassing in the Grand Canyon -- the result of a rare meteorological process called "cloud inversion." Rough Cut (no reporter narration). Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Why Researchers Say We Should Cut Back On Biofuels

Why Researchers Say We Should Cut Back On Biofuels

Newsy (Jan. 29, 2015) Biofuels aren&apos;t the best alternative to fossil fuels, according to a new report. In fact, they&apos;re quite a bad one. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins