Tech Talk: Balloon Technology and Moon Rocks | New

With a major research university in our backyard, a strong military presence, and innovative businesses throughout the metro area, there’s often a plethora of exciting science, medical, and technology news happening in southern Arizona. Here’s a breakdown of the most interesting recent developments.

“High Bay” is a Go

University of Arizona students and researchers will have a new building to simulate “the edge of space” for scientific discovery. The “edge of space” is the area where Earth’s atmosphere and space collide. This transient area is difficult to study, but this new structure being built at UA Technology Parks at the Bridges will simulate the “edge of space” in Arizona. Engineers and researchers will have the opportunity to test hardware designed for the “edge of space”. Students will have hands-on experience working with telescopes, instruments, and balloon technology used for astronomical research. The building was officially named Mission Integration Laboratory (MIL). “The Mission Integration Lab, with its spacious large bay, is perfect for integrating the instruments, telescopes, and high-altitude balloons that together will meet the demands of NASA’s ongoing program of long-duration balloon flight missions. “, said Buell Jannuzi, director of the department. of Astronomy and Steward Observatory of the UA College of Science in a press release.

Balloon research missions allow scientists to access space without building a rocket, a more cost-effective way to test space hardware. The MIL will be used by UA astronomy researcher Dan Marrone for the Terahertz Intensity Mapper (TIM), a NASA-funded balloon mission that will piece together a map showing galaxies over a period of 5 billion years from cosmic story. “The MIL allows us to thoroughly assemble and test the TIM payload so that we are ready to operate it for a short Antarctic summer when we need to fly it. This will be the first place where we collect the entire 5,000 pound payload that will go to the outer reaches of space,” Marrone said in a press release. MIL will have a hangar and overhead crane to build and test balloon technology before missions. The construction of the “high bay” facility will undoubtedly bring more funding prospects to the AU for NASA astronomical research. The MIL’s design was inspired by NASA’s long-lasting balloon hangars in Antarctica.

Raytheon increases production of naval radars

Raytheon Missiles & Defense has won a $423 million contract to continue producing SPY-6 radars for the US Navy. This is the first step toward fulfilling a $3.16 billion hardware, production and maintenance contract finalized in March. The US Navy wants to use these radar capabilities on every aspect of its fleet to detect incoming missiles and aircraft. “SPY-6 is the world’s first naval surface radar, and contracts like this ensure sailors across the fleet will be equipped with the information, tracking and detection it provides,” said Kim Ernzen. , president of Naval Power at Raytheon Missiles & Defense, said in a statement. “SPY-6 radar arrays have already been delivered to several ships and installation is underway.”

NASA lends Moon Rock to Tucson

During NASA’s Apollo 15 mission in 1971, astronauts David Scott and Jame Irwin brought back 170 pounds of moon rock for Earth research. Everyone in Tucson can see a piece of that history at the University of Arizona’s Alfie Norville Gem & Mineral Museum. Weighing 4 oz and measuring 3 inches long, the space rock is on loan from NASA. It is the largest piece of moon rock that NASA loans to museums. The rock is on display in the museum’s Mineral Evolution Gallery. “It’s a privilege to have this rock here,” Museum Exhibitions Specialist Elizabeth Gass said in a press release. “Not all museums are eligible to have one due to the strict security protocols needed to keep the rock safe.”