November 19th, 2008

escape, sail


acronyms aplenty, I must have been near a government facility.

theodorad  was kind enough to host us at the SDO Friends and Family event this evening at Goddard. It was so much fun, and very educational. We got to see SDO in the clean room, and they even had the back panel open so we could see the propulsion system, and some of the other important bits like the little adjuster wheels (every action produces and equal and opposite reaction, blah blah), the AIA telescopes off the top and one of the high gain antennae. We also got to visit the cage of poor Triana, sitting and waiting for some unknown fate. She showed us the Thermal Vac Chamber (the outside of it obviously, since inside was the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter being tested), as well as the acoustic test chamber with the insanely thick and yet not thick enough walls. We also were able to meet some of her co-workers and attend a talk by one of the scientists talking about the plans for SDO, the instruments that it will host, the data they will receive and what they hope to do with the data. The three instruments are EVE (Extreme Ultraviolet Variability Experiment- measuring extreme ultraviolet irradiance [it must be screaming UV]), AIA (Atmospheric Imaging Assembly- getting HD images of various layers within the sun) and HMI (Helioseismic and Magnetic Imager- to study and understand the magnetic activity of the sun.) This should advance and build on the knowledge gathered from SOHO.

Okay, so it was very sciency, and Shequey was in space-geek heaven, and I retained at least 10% of the information spewed at me (I hope) and just basked in the shared glow of Theo's accomplishment. It was a pretty darn awesome evening.