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 December 22, 2014 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 December 22, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Earth & Climate News

Monday, December 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

New Fish Species Discovered, Setting Record for World's Deepest

New Fish Species Discovered, Setting Record for World's Deepest

Buzz60 (Dec. 22, 2014) A new species of fish is discovered living five miles beneath the ocean surface, making it the deepest living fish on earth. Jen Markham has the story. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Lava Inches Closer to Highway

Raw: Lava Inches Closer to Highway

AP (Dec. 21, 2014) Officials have opened a new road on Hawaii's Big Island for drivers to take care of their daily needs if encroaching lava from Kilauea Volcano crosses a highway and cuts them off from the rest of the island. (Dec. 20) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Cheap Oil Help Fix U.S. Roads?

Could Cheap Oil Help Fix U.S. Roads?

Newsy (Dec. 21, 2014) As falling oil prices boost Americans' spending power, the U.S. government is also gaining flexibility from savings on oil. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Russian Surfers Brave Icy Cold Waters

Raw: Russian Surfers Brave Icy Cold Waters

AP (Dec. 20, 2014) Surfers in Russia's biggest port city on the Pacific Ocean, Vladivostok, were enjoying the sport on Saturday despite below freezing temperatures and icy cold waters. (Dec. 20) Video provided by AP
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