11:48am

Sat April 13, 2013
Science

LASP Receives $36 Million Grant To Measure Space Weather

The ultraviolet imaging spectrograph, built at the University of Colorado will be placed on a satellite to measure densities and temperatures in Earth’s thermosphere and ionosphere.
Credit GOLD/UCF / LASP

Do you think weather is unpredictable in Colorado? How about in space?

NASA is giving the Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics (LASP) at the University of Colorado about $36 million to build and operate a new instrument that will gather information about the disruptive effects of space weather.

The instrument will weigh about 60 pounds and will launch aboard a commercial communications satellite.
 
The instrument will be gathering data on Earth's upper atmosphere in the far ultraviolet portion of the electromagnetic spectrum.  LASP says the instrument will orbit about 22,000 miles above Earth and is expected to have a direct impact on the understanding of space weather such as geomagnetic storms. Such storms alter the temperature and composition of Earth's atmosphere and can disrupt communication and navigation satellites, affecting everything from automobile GPS and cellphone coverage to television programming.