NASA has selected Utah State University’s Atmospheric Waves Experiment mission — known as AWE — to study space weather from the International Space Station.
USU Physics Professor Mike Taylor is lead investigator for the AWE mission. He explains the concept.
“We’re going to use an instrument,” Taylor explained, “that we’ve developed at the Space Dynamics Lab (SDL) — the Advanced Mesospheric Temperature Mapper — and fly it on the Space Station where it will look down at the earth, during night times, and make measurements of waves propagating up from weather sources in the lower atmosphere and then interfering with the ionospheric region where they affect space weather.”
Dr. Taylor said this is the first time that SDL is the main lead. He said the project finds USU scientists working together with USU-SDL engineers.
The launch is planned for August 2022.
“When we study these waves they are at the gateway to the ionosphere, so we have an opportunity by being on board now, on the International Space Station, and we are getting to plan out two years worth of data, where we will make measurements on a near-global scale.
“That’s the real beauty that we will be able to apply all our knowledge that we will get from this with global scale models and see the main impact of these waves on the atmosphere, not just locally.”