2004 SOFIA UPPER DECK SCIENCE OPPORTUNITIES WORKSHOP
NASA Ames Research Center, CA
June 22-23, 2004
SOFIA is the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy - a world class astronomical observatory for infrared and submm astronomy. It is an airborne observatory with projected flight hours as much as 960 hours/year (8 hour nights) for 20 years.
The Upper Deck of the USRI operated B747 SOFIA may in the future facilitate experiments for serendipitous research during regular deployments, or in support of ongoing mid-IR and submm observations with the main telescope. Preferentially, this research will support NASA's and DLR's mission goals.
The SOFIA Upper Deck may facilitate, for example, some of the same instruments as currently
developed for the NSF/NCAR HIAPER aircraft, which unlike SOFIA has short dedicated missions with a focus on specific atmospheric processes.
Serendipitous research on SOFIA should exploit the capability for long-term monitoring at altitude. In addition, short-term programs could benefit from the low extinction near the horizon (higher meteor rates), a better scintillation than on the ground (occultation observations), a much lower water vapor absorption (near-IR and mid-IR spectroscopy and photometry), a high cosmic ray background, and the unique ability to provide interactive experiments, for example for the collection of interplanetary dust particles and aerosols in the atmosphere.
Unique Earth Science research is possible due to frequent transitions of the tropopause.
There are also unique opportunities for education and public outreach, by facilitating student experiments, providing in-cabin video, and for sightings of transient phenomena on the sky (elves, aurora, fireballs).
The SOFIA observatory is still being developed and a decistion to support such use of the Upper Deck is not expected for some time. At this time, better insight is needed into the scientific goals that can be addressed. The product of this workshop will be a whitepaper that should lay out the scientific rationale for future use of the Upper Deck as a Research Facility.
In order to investigate the science questions that can be addressed in research experiments on SOFIA's Upper Deck, NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, Calif., announces a workshop to be held on June 22-23, 2004. This will be a 2-day international meeting, with four half-day science sessions.
All scientific questions that can be uniquely answered by SOFIA Upper Deck enabled research may be addressed.
This may include (in no particular order):
the search for extrasolar planets
occulatation studies of minor bodies
the compositional diversity of comets and asteroids
the survival of organic matter in meteors and its astrobiological implications
transport properties and chemistry of the tropopause
the Global Water and Energy Cycle
the Carbon cycle
the satellite impact hazard
the effects of meteoric metals and ionization on the Earth's
open questions in the generation and propagation of gravity waves
the nature of afterglow and persistent trains of meteor fireballs
factors that influence the generation of elves and sprites
the cause of temporal variations in the nature of aerosols and interplanetary dust particles
the unknown mid-IR signature of meteors
gravitational acceleration measurements
temporal variations in cosmic ray influx
Weather and Short-Term Climate Forecasting
Long-Term climate Change
Workshop participants may extend this list.
The emphasis in the presentations should be on the science question to be addressed, it's
link to NASA and DLR roadmap goals, how measurements from SOFIA's Upper Deck could help answer
that question in a unique way, and what facilities and instrumentation are required. The primary product of this workshop will need to be a clear articulation of important science questions that upper deck instruments would address uniquely.
Our goal is to shape this report by collecting brief 2-5 page contributed papers that are to be submitted as extended abstracts for the meeting and that will be published at this website.
From this, an executive summary will be prepared that will also contain the ideas and topics put forward at the workshop. This summary report will be made available on this website for review and additional comments, before being presented to NASA HQ.
We also welcome any experience with ongoing airborne research instrumentation programs that could benefit the future use
of SOFIA's Upper Deck. To understand the science opportunities, insight needs to be provided into the
constrains posed by the operation of the astronomical observatory, FAA requirements for safety, and future directions
of airborne research.
Registration is available on-line.
The registration deadline for foreign nationals is May 15.
Later contributions can not be accepted because of the time required to arrange access
to NASA Ames Research Center. US citizens can register until June 10.
Please submit only a brief (10-line) abstract at the time of registration
for scheduling purposes, but follow up prior to June 15 with an extended abstract.
An MSWord template is found here. Please send your extended
abstract as a camera ready MSWord document or pdf file to the . You should receive an acknowledgement of its
Future announcements for this meeting will not be mailed in hard
copy but will be posted here. For further questions, please contact:
Chair Scientific Organizing Committee
Tel.: 1-650-966-8117 (voice mail)
Co-chair SOC for Earth Sciences
Tel.: 1-650-604-0697 (voice mail)
, Utah State University
, The Aerospace Corporation
, NASA Ames Research Center
, University of New Mexico Albuquerque
, University of Alaska Fairbanks
, NASA Ames Research Center