$2.5 million grant to monitor space weather and improve space flight safety

a bunch of white cars in the room
See what the neutron monitoring station will look like.

university Hawaii A project led by Manoa to better predict and understand the weather in space has received significant support from the National Science Foundation (NSF). A four-year, $2.5 million grant will fund a project to build a space weather station center on Earth. XY on the Manoa campus and deploy a neutron monitor on Maui, which the researchers say will greatly improve their research in this important area.

sun and telescope

Tea XY Manoa’s Department of Physics and Astronomy will receive $1.2 million of the $2.5 million grant. W. H. Manoa Associate Professor Veronica Bindithe project’s principal investigator, says her team is collaborating with researchers at the University of New Hampshire and the University of Arizona.

The project will measure the most powerful particles emitted by the Sun, namely solar energy particles and solar neutron particles. These particles can pose a hazard to astronauts and lead to a serious failure of electronics in space, such as satellites, and technologies used in space travel by Elon Musk’s SpaceX and Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin. On Earth, solar storms can affect the power grid and disrupt radio communications.

This project will help better track solar particles and develop warning systems to improve space weather forecasts to keep astronauts safe during space missions. Bindi added that the station and the neutron monitor will take about three years to build and will be built in time for our next “solar maximum”, which is expected sometime in 2025 or 2026.

“Here on earth, before you do something like hike or surf, you want to know about the weather. It’s the same with space mission planning,” Bindi said. “You want to know that the weather will be good, which means that our astronauts, instruments and objects in space will not get too many particles.”

Bindi works with XYInstitute of Astronomy (St.If a) to identify a high-altitude site in existing If a facilities on Maui and obtain the necessary approvals and permits to place a neutron monitor the size of a shipping container.

The Haleakala site was chosen because the higher the monitor is placed above sea level, the more particles will be captured, Bindi said. The monitor will be one of 50 monitors worldwide that will expand coverage to other parts of the globe.

A data center will also be set up. XY The Manoa campus serves as a hub for research and data collection. They will combine data collected at Haleakal with energy particle data from the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer on the International Space Station and present their results to the public in real time.

As principal investigator, Bindi and XY Manoa will manage the entire project and be involved in all aspects of its goals. The University of New Hampshire will support the construction of…


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