Lanzerotti speaks at AAAS symposium about space weather

February 16, 2007

Most people leave home without checking the space weather report. But if New Jersey physicist Louis J. Lanzerotti, PhD, distinguished research professor at New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT), has his way, they won't leave home without it.

"For more than 150 years, we've known about solar disturbances in space weather affecting technology," said Lanzerotti. "The first technological advance, the electrical telegraph, showed space-produced effects could be problematic in their operations. It took decades, however, for scientists to understand why. Today solar disturbances can play havoc with technologies ranging from electrical power grids to GPS systems."

The safety of technologies and humans in space, based on weather, is of special interest to Lanzerotti, who in 2006 was the principal investigator for instruments on the new NASA Radiation Belts Storm Probes mission to investigate Earth's Van Allen radiation belts. He is also renowned among scientists for chairing the blue ribbon national science committee to decide the fate of the Hubble Telescope Spacecraft. In 2003, the American Geophysical Union named him the founding editor of Space Weather, The International Journal of Research and Applications, a title he still holds.

GPS systems can be quite susceptible to solar disturbances. Solar radio noise from a large solar flare--fed by the usual assortment of intense and variable charged electrons, protons and heavier ions--can knock out a GPS receiver.

Charged particles produced in a solar event can also seriously degrade or make unusable communications on trans-polar aircraft flights causing diversions of flight plans. Intense solar activity can also affect Earth-orbiting satellites, more distant space probes and human space flights above the atmosphere, including back to the Moon and on to Mars.

Space weather can also impact high frequency radio transmissions, radars, even cell phone installations.

Is it any wonder that scientists in government, industry and research search for ways to read the skies?

Lanzerotti will detail cutting-edge data on space weather and its impact on society during a symposium at the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) annual meeting in San Francisco, CA, Friday, February 16, 2007. The event takes place from 1:45 -3:15 p.m. at the Renaissance Parc 55 Hotel (4th floor Parc Ballroom 3). Other panelists include Janet Luhmann, PhD, Senior Space Fellow, Space Science Laboratory, University of California, Berkeley; Dan Baker, PhD, director, Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics and professor, astrophysical and planetary sciences, University of Colorado, Boulder; Tom Bogdan, PhD, director, Space Environment Center, National Weather Service. James Spann, PhD, astrophysicist, NASA Marshall Space Flight Center, Huntsville, Alabama, will moderate the session. Editors: To interview Lanzerotti, call Sheryl Weinstein at 973-596-3436.

Lanzerotti has spent four decades contributing to research that includes studies of space plasmas and geophysics, and engineering problems related to the impact of atmospheric and space processes on terrestrial technologies, and those in space. Prior to joining NJIT in 2003, Lanzerotti spent the greater part of his earlier career at Bell Laboratories-Lucent Technologies, Murray Hill, NJ. Today, he is a consulting physicist to that organization.

U.S. President George W. Bush recently nominated Lanzerotti to the 24-member governing body of the National Science Foundation.

NASA has twice recognized Lanzerotti's contributions to science with the agency's Distinguished Scientific Achievement Medal. The esteemed physicist has also received the NASA Distinguished Public Service Medal and the William Nordberg Medal for space science from the international Committee on Space Research (COSPAR). Lanzerotti is an elected member of the International Academy of Astronautics and the U.S. National Academy of Engineering (NAE).

Lanzerotti's key research interests date to the 1960s and 1970s when he began geophysical research in the Antarctic and the Arctic, directed toward understanding Earth's upper atmosphere and space environments. Minor Planet 5504 Lanzerotti recognizes his space and planetary research, and Mount Lanzerotti (74.50° S, 70.33° W) recognizes his research in the Antarctic.

Lanzerotti has been principal investigator or co-investigator on several NASA interplanetary and planetary missions including Voyager, Ulysses, Galileo, and Cassini. On these missions, he measured the plasma environment of the inter-planetary medium as it affects Earth and the plasma and atmospheric environments of the outer planets.

Lanzerotti has co-authored one book, co-edited three books, and is an author of more than 500 refereed engineering and science papers. He is a member of the Center for Solar-Terrestrial Research at NJIT. The Center is associated with Big Bear Solar Observatory, Calif.

Lanzerotti holds a BS in engineering physics from the University of Illinois and master's and doctoral degrees in physics from Harvard University. As 20th century communications technologies evolved to radio, cable, microwaves and satellites, the space environment was found to affect each of these in different ways, and the environment needed to be taken into consideration for design and operation purposes. "In the final analysis," Lanzerotti said, "the increasing number of technologies affected by the space environment means that a more sophisticated understanding of the Sun and Earth's environment is required for successful designs and operations of these technologies."
-end-
NJIT, New Jersey's science and technology university, at the edge in knowledge, enrolls more than 8,000 students in bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees in 92 degree programs offered by six colleges: Newark College of Engineering, New Jersey School of Architecture, College of Science and Liberal Arts, School of Management, Albert Dorman Honors College and College of Computing Sciences. NJIT is renowned for expertise in architecture, applied mathematics, wireless communications and networking, solar physics, advanced engineered particulate materials, nanotechnology, neural engineering and e-learning. In 2006, Princeton Review named NJIT among the nation's top 25 campuses for technology and top 150 for best value. U.S. News & World Report's 2007 Annual Guide to America's Best Colleges ranked NJIT in the top tier of national research universities.

New Jersey Institute of Technology

Related Space Weather Articles from Brightsurf:

A method has been developed to study extreme space weather events
An international team of scientists developed a method to study fast Coronal Mass Ejections, powerful ejections of magnetized matter from the outer atmosphere of the Sun.

New 'sun clock' quantifies extreme space weather switch on/off
Extreme space weather events can significantly impact systems such as satellites, communications systems, power distribution and aviation.

Space weather model gives earlier warning of satellite-killing radiation storms
A new machine-learning computer model accurately predicts damaging radiation storms caused by the Van Allen belts two days prior to the storm, the most advanced notice to date, according to a new paper in the journal Space Weather.

Space Weather causes years of radiation damage to satellites using electric propulsion
The use of electric propulsion for raising satellites into geostationary orbit can result in significant solar cell degradation according to a new study being presented at the Royal Astronomical Society's National Astronomy Meeting.

Historic space weather could clarify what's next
Historic space weather may help us understand what's coming next, according to new research by the University of Warwick.

Satellite measurements of the Earth's magnetosphere promise better space weather forecasts
A Japan-based research team led by Kanazawa University equipped the Arase satellite with sensors to study the convoluted interactions between high-energy particles in the inner magnetosphere and the Earth's electric and magnetic field.

New network is installed to investigate space weather over South America
Magnetometer network identifies magnetic field disturbances that can cause interference in electronic appliances, power grids and satellite navigation systems.

Space weather, EarthScope, and protecting the national electrical grid
Geomagnetic disturbances from solar storms or electromagnetic pulse weapons pose a high risk to the electrical power grid.

NASA Ppotects its super heroes from space weather
When astronauts travel in space they can't see or even feel radiation.

NASA mission surfs through waves in space to understand space weather
NASA's Van Allen Probes have observed a new population of space sound waves, called plasmaspheric hiss, which are important in removing high-energy particles from around Earth that can damage satellites.

Read More: Space Weather News and Space Weather Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.