Thursday, June 28, 2007

LRO Library Workshop in Arizona!

We received notice from two participants in our Tempe Lunar Librarians workshop that they are doing a series of programs on LRO this summer. The workshops will take place July and August in Tucson at the Valencia Branch Library.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Aura NO2 files on Google Earth

The tropospheric NO2 data that come from the Ozone Monitoring Instrument (OMI) aboard Aura is available in .kml files so that they can be viewed in Google Earth. An example of what the data look like is found on the right of this post. In order to get the data, go to the following url:

On this front page, you can choose monthly or daily NO2 .kml files. In order to select a particular month (for example, April 2007), click on the Google Earth icon. Your computer should give you a prompt to either open the file or save it. Save the file to your computer. Once the file is downloaded, open the .kml file in Google Earth. That’s all there is to it! Why do we care about tropospheric NO2, you might ask? In addition to being a cause of concern for your health, tropospheric NO2 is a precursor to ground level ozone. Ground level ozone is one of the major components of air pollution and causes respiratory problems in high concentrations. Around Goddard Space Flight Center in the summer, high concentrations of ground level ozone prompt “code” days. The EPA considers the 8-hour concentration of ozone and issues “Code Orange” or “Code Red” days when the concentrations exceed 101 or 151 ppm, respectively. Area public transit is free on Code Red days.

Just this week we had two code orange days in a row.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

MESSENGER at the National Air and Space Museum

As part of the Venus 2 flyby activities a 1:5 scale model of the MESSENGER spacecraft built by carpenters at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) in Laurel, Md., was hung in the Mercury exhibit in the Exploring the Planets Gallery of the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum (NASM) in Washington, D.C.

Artisans Ron Prietz, Sr., Bill Kulp, and Bob Harter, from APL's Technical Services Department-along with supervisor Ted Hartka-were there to see their handiwork displayed. Several members of the MESSENGER science and engineering teams were also in attendance, including Principal Investigator Sean Solomon, from the Carnegie Institution of
Washington, and Project Scientist Ralph McNutt, Mission Operations Manager Andy Calloway, and Missions Systems Engineer Eric Finnegan, all from APL.

NASM's Exploring the Planets Gallery was opened in 1979 to highlight the history and achievements of planetary exploration, both by Earth-based observations and by spacecraft. This upgrade to the Mercury exhibit is part of MESSENGER's Education and
Public Outreach effort and is being led by Tom Watters, a senior scientist at NASM and a MESSENGER Participating Scientist. MESSENGER Co-Investigator Mark Robinson, at Arizona State University, made available for the exhibit scores of Mercury
photographs from Mariner 10.

"This is a work in progress, but especially if you have not visited the museum for a while, it is worth a stop if you are in Washington," says McNutt. "As the MESSENGER mission progresses, the exhibit will be upgraded to reflect the mission and new Mercury results; so watch this space."

MESSENGER Science Team Meeting

I'm at the MESSENGER science team meeting in Washington, DC. Tomorrow is my Education and Outreach update presentation...and today I'm catching up on the results of the MESSENGER Venus 2 Flyby. I decided to use my Twitter account ( to mini-blog on the meeting...posting some information about the instruments, with links embedded in the tweets.

Is this education and outreach?