Missions

Dawn spacecraft

UCLA is recognized internationally as a leader in planetary and space physics and has participated in space exploration since the earliest days. Today it continues this tradition. UCLA laboratories built the magnetometer for the Polar and FAST missions in orbit about the Earth in a high-altitude, elliptical polar orbit and a low-altitude, elliptical polar orbit respectively. They built the ground based magnetometers currently being operated across North America in support of the five THEMIS spacecraft, and complementary arrays SAMBA in South America and AMBER in Africa. They are currently building a magnetometer for the DSX mission to be deployed in the middle magnetosphere and for the four-spacecraft Magnetosphere Multiscale Mission to study reconnection in the magnetotail and at the magnetopause.

Dawn roars off the pad



Photo credit: NASA
Prof. C. T. Russell, the head of the Space Physics Center is also the principal investigator on the Dawn mission on its way to orbit the asteroids Vesta (in 2011) and Ceres (in 2015). UCLA scientists are actively involved in analyzing the data from the Cassini mission in orbit about Saturn, obtaining exciting new information about its magnetic field, the saturnian moons and the magnetosphere and its dynamics. They are assisting also with analyzing data from ESA’s Venus Express mission currently operating in Venus orbit. They are analyzing data returned from the twin STEREO mission in orbit about the Sun at 1AU, returning data about the Sun and its solar wind. They are analyzing measurements of the Earth’s magnetosphere and its interaction with the solar wind using ESA’s four Cluster spacecraft. UCLA scientists are also participating in a number of future missions including Bepi Colombo to Mercury and Rosetta to comet Churyumov-Gerasimenko.



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Last updated: October 27, 2008