NASA Astronomers Compare Meteors to Spacecraft Re-entry (Jules Verne Reentry)
Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, Calif.
rachel.l.prucey@... <mailto: rachel.l.prucey@...>
NASA Headquarters, Washington
European Space Agency, Paris
Sept. 24, 2008
MEDIA ADVISORY : 08_84AR
NASA Astronomers Compare Meteors to Spacecraft Re-entry
MOFFETT FIELD, Calif. -- A group of astronomers from NASA, the European
Space Agency (ESA) and other institutions will take to the skies to
observe the re-entry of ESA's "Jules Verne" Automated Transfer Vehicle
(ATV) as it falls back to Earth from the International Space Station on
Sept. 29, 2008.
An Ames research aircraft will take off from Moffett Field, Calif., and
a Douglas DC-8 airborne laboratory will depart from NASA's Dryden
Aircraft Operations Facility at Palmdale, Calif., on Friday, Sept. 26,
2008 to fly more than 30 scientists and their instruments over the South
Pacific Ocean in ideal and virtually unchanging conditions far above
light pollution and clouds.
NASA's primary goal during the lengthy airborne mission is to study the
re-entry and fragmentation of ESA's "Jules Verne" ATV spacecraft to gain
insight and find similarities to meteor fragmentation. This observation
campaign is similar to the January 2006 Stardust and September 2004
Genesis spacecraft re-entry airborne campaigns, in which NASA scientists
studied the levels of radiation, light and out-gassing of the descending
spacecraft, to better understand meteor radiation mechanisms.
Another goal is to validate the computer models astronomers use to
predict how an object will fragment and disperse as it enters Earth's
atmosphere. NASA astronomers made similar airborne studies for the
January 2008 Quadrantid and September 2007 Aurigid meteor showers to
determine when they peaked and how they were formed.
Peter Jenniskens, the observation campaign principal investigator, at
NASA Ames Research Center and the SETI Institute, Mountain View, Calif.,
and Dave Jordan, observation campaign project manager, at NASA Ames will
be available for telephone interviews, 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. PDT, Thursday,
Sept. 25, 2008. To schedule an interview please contact Rachel Prucey,
public affairs specialist, at 650-604-0643.
For more information on NASA and its programs, visit:
For more information about the âJules Verneâ airborne observation
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