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Join us on Wednesday, April 3 in White Hall G09 at 6:00 PM for the 2024 Cooper Lecture presented by Dr. Jim Burch, Senior Vice President - Space Sector at the Southwest Research Institute (San Antonio, TX). His talk is titled With New Eyes: A Space Scientist's Odyssey.


All are welcome.


Breakthroughs in space science often result from new measurement techniques that allow known phenomena to be seen in new ways. In the quest to understand how the solar wind interacts with the Earth's magnetosphere to produce magnetic storms and the aurora it became known in the 1990s that progress required developing a means of globally imaging charged particle populations and to drastically increase the accuracy and speed with which the particles are measured. While ideally these two improvements would be implemented together, the reality of budgets for large science projects caused them to be achieved 15 years apart. This story begins with the development and flight of the NASA IMAGE mission, which undertook to provide the first global images of the charged particle populations that inhabit the magnetosphere and make it a dynamic and scientifically interesting place. As a large, government-funded research project, IMAGE was an adventurous experience providing new knowledge and understanding about the science and about how the scientific community and the U. S. government work together. The second story is about the NASA Magnetospheric Multiscale (MMS) mission and how progress in understanding magnetic reconnection (which drives the solar-wind magnetosphere interaction) required major advances in the speed and resolution of charged-particle and electric-measurements. As an even larger project, it provides more challenges and adventures and equally rewarding results. A new stage of developing new eyes for space science is the ultra-high resolution mass spectrometer on the NASA Europa Clipper mission, which will measure complex organic compounds around Jupiter's moon Europa as part of determining the habitability of its internal ocean.

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