Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

NASA’s Firestation on way to the International Space Station

Date:
August 5, 2013
Source:
NASA
Summary:
An experiment to study the effects of lightning flashes on Earth's atmosphere hitched a ride to the International Space Station on Aug. 3, 2013. The Firestation experiment launched aboard a Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency's transfer vehicle called Kounotori-4. Firestation will be installed robotically to the outside of the space station, a process that will take about three weeks.

In August 2013, NASA’s Firestation instrument will be mounted to the International Space Station to help study lightning, as seen here in an image captured in January 2011 from the space station while over Brazil, and its relationship to huge gamma ray bursts called terrestrial gamma ray flashes.
Credit: ESA/NASA

An experiment to study the effects of lightning flashes on Earth's atmosphere hitched a ride to the International Space Station on Aug. 3, 2013. The Firestation experiment launched aboard a Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency's transfer vehicle called Kounotori-4. Firestation will be installed robotically to the outside of the space station, a process that will take about three weeks.

At the end of August, Firestation should be ready to begin observations, watching for lightning on Earth, which regularly appears some 50 times a second around the globe. Firestation will study the link between lightning and mysterious events known as terrestrial gamma ray flashes, or TGFs. TGFs are very brief but intense bursts of gamma rays produced in Earth's atmosphere by the powerful electrical charges over thunderstorms. Gamma radiation is typically produced only in extreme environments, like nuclear fusion inside the sun or from within distant exploding stars, so this suggests the environment near a lightning flash is much more energetic and complex than previously thought. In addition to being a fascinating and unexpected aspect of our planet, TGFs also may shed light on the processes that trigger lightning in thunderstorms.

"We know that lightning might be intimately linked to these flashes of gamma rays, but we don't know the cause and effect mechanisms just yet," said Doug Rowland, principal investigator for Firestation at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. "So one of Firestation's goals is to study many TGF and lightning events to see what kinds of lightning produce gamma rays and what kinds do not."

Current estimates suggest there may be some 500 TGFs worldwide every day, and Firestation will spend a year observing them.

For more information about Firestation, visit: http://1.usa.gov/oWfp4M


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. "NASA’s Firestation on way to the International Space Station." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 5 August 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/08/130805125422.htm>.
NASA. (2013, August 5). NASA’s Firestation on way to the International Space Station. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 19, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/08/130805125422.htm
NASA. "NASA’s Firestation on way to the International Space Station." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/08/130805125422.htm (accessed September 19, 2014).

Share This



More Earth & Climate News

Friday, September 19, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: Wildfires in CA Burn Forest Asunder

Raw: Wildfires in CA Burn Forest Asunder

AP (Sep. 18, 2014) An out-of-control Northern California wildfire has nearly 2,800 people from their homes as it continues to grow, authorities said Thursday. Authorities said a man has been arrested on suspicion of arson for starting the fire on Saturday. (Sept. 18) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Elephant Undergoes Surgery in Tbilisi Zoo

Raw: Elephant Undergoes Surgery in Tbilisi Zoo

AP (Sep. 18, 2014) Grand the elephant has successfully undergone surgery to remove a portion of infected tusk at Tbilisi Zoo in Georgia. British veterinary surgeons used an electric drill to extract the infected piece. (Sept. 18) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Scientists Examine Colossal Squid

Raw: Scientists Examine Colossal Squid

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) Squid experts in New Zealand thawed and examined an unusual catch on Tuesday: a colossal squid. It was captured in Antarctica's remote Ross Sea in December last year and has been frozen for eight months. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Man Floats for 31 Hours in Gulf Waters

Man Floats for 31 Hours in Gulf Waters

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) A Texas man is lucky to be alive after he and three others floated for more than a day in the Gulf of Mexico when their boat sank during a fishing trip. (Sept. 16) 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:
from the past week

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