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20 years of chandra

By October 27, 2020No Comments

So, one of the challenges is always the resources to have that overlap and to have a successful succession of skills from a seasoned person to a newer person. You build an observatory or an instrument that is 10 times or a hundred times more powerful than whatever came before. It’s just, when I tell it, you don’t believe it, that it would work, but it did. 20 years ago this week, Eileen Collins became the first female commander of a Space Shuttle. Host: What do you think are the team attributes that have contributed to Chandra’s success? That turned the launch date into a spectacular, where Hillary Clinton came. the science topics are encouraged. Thank you. But its main current output is that there have been so many paradigm shifts and clarifications because of the study of the X-rays that we’ve seen. Then the funny part or this interesting part was the building of the facility, because a NASA Associate Administrator said to Congress, “And I’ll prove to you that we can build the X-ray telescopes through tests in a couple years.” He moved the schedule for the building of the facility up by several years, which made it a real challenge. session that examines how the questions raised by the recent And it still is aligned. Weisskopf: The true answer is there are so many that there is no one most, but certainly, there are several that come to my mind. Please contact us And the surprises keep coming. formed by a neutron star, age of the youngest supernova The meeting will cover all areas of observed with Chandra to spin Host: What do you remember about launch day? She worked as an engineer in the area of optics before becoming a project manager. Weisskopf: Well, I think the fascinating thing is the telescope itself. exciting discoveries requiring information from different types of light But there have been so many others, everything, Chandra sees X-rays from every type of astronomical object, from comets to stars, to planets to stars, to galaxies to clusters of galaxies, and in all cases we’re learning something fascinating and interesting. 1:30pm - 2:00pm; Rachel Osten (StSci & John Hopkins University) Seeing Stars in a New Light: What Have We Learned from 20 Years of Investigations with Chandra, and What Do We Still Need to Learn? wondrous objects within it. neutron star in Cassiopeia A, number of electrons per cubic Their bios, a show transcript, and links to topics mentioned today are available at APPEL.NASA.gov/podcast. Host: There’s been so much celebration with the Apollo 50th anniversary, but there is another anniversary happening right now and this year is a big year as far as looking back at the Chandra X-ray Observatory, 20 years on orbit. worth of oxygen ejected into program, Chandra was designed and built to observe X-rays alongside Then I moved away and did some other spaceflight activities and got to manage some other things. There will also It’s wonderful. You had to do it.”. Cole: What I’ve encouraged and what also I’ve observed about the Chandra team is an incredible level of passion for the success of Chandra, and for the efficiency by which the science is collected. the Hubble Space Telescope in ultraviolet, visible and infrared light, Host: What kind of reaction do you get when you’re with people and you talk about the science and everything that has happened during this Chandra mission? Weisskopf: You have to remember this beast was designed for three years, with the goal of five, and we’re in our twentieth year now. This past year, there’s been a great change in the way we do astronomy with the building and discovery of gravitational wave detectors. supernova remnant, in length —about the We have recently done a 25-year engineering study on Chandra. Host: Many thanks to Martin and Helen for joining us on the podcast. In these past two decades, Chandra has made profound discoveries capabilities, culminating in Chandra’s launch aboard the Space pioneered instruments that were sent above the Earth’s atmosphere. If you have suggestions for interview topics, please let us know on Twitter at NASA APPEL, and use the hashtag SmallStepsGiantLeaps. I’m Deana Nunley. We have people that are digging into that data as we speak, every year writing proposals to look at the archived data, and finding new things to look at and new things to suss out of the data. In this episode of Small Steps, Giant Leaps, you’ll learn about: Pay It Forward: Capturing, Sharing and Learning NASA Lessons (APPEL-PIF). We are going to be planning actually our more formal events for the project in August, and that is on top of the 20th anniversary of first light from Chandra, and we’re going to end the year in December with a science symposium in Boston. 20 Years of Chandra Science Symposium December 3-6, 2019 Boston Park Plaza Hotel Boston, MA. All the analysis would say from that study that we expect to be operating fairly nominally for 25 years in total and possibly longer. space in the Cassiopeia A So, parts are getting old. We’re fighting the environment, but I never thought about the length of life. Just even in the past year, you were mentioning you’ve really seen some things that are very fascinating coming back from Chandra, right, and there’s been some real interest around some of the findings. Each decade has brought new innovations and new There’s piers. Weisskopf: Well, it’s a privilege that I wake up most mornings thinking, “Boy, what a great privilege.” I mean they pay me to do this and it’s such a wonderful privilege to be associated with this. Also, the success that this was a mission that was built essentially on cost and on schedule. Another thing that I’ve observed is that this team has rigor. Marshall has managed Chandra from its inception in the ’80s, at the time of launch and since then in operational phase. took to dine on the remains of a Eileen Collins was the commander, the first female commander of a shuttle flight. For example, the angular resolution was almost a factor of 10 better than anything that had been flown before. So, the piers weren’t the right height. I think that was one of the major reasons for its success. We welcome two guests to the podcast today — the Chandra Project Manager and the Project Scientist. that particles reach in a jet as well as gravitational waves and particle physics. Weisskopf: Nobody was laughing then, but in retrospect, it’s kind of funny. They went through flying from Eastman Kodak to Marshall, back to Eastman Kodak, out to California to be integrated, then to the Cape, then the rocket launch on the shuttle, then Inertial Upper Stage to put it in this orbit that goes a third of the way to the Moon. galaxy cluster, fraction of the speed of light It was called the Advanced X-ray Astrophysics Facility, or AXAF. remnant, timed from Earth, in piece of neutron star, number of Earth masses Weisskopf: Yes, I do. Weisskopf: Yes, they are, because, for example, unlike our sister mission, Hubble, we’re not serviceable. Today, the quest to explore the Universe is both multiwavelength and We worked very hard within the project. Chandra was launched 20 years ago — the largest satellite ever carried by any space shuttle, in this case, Columbia, commanded by Col. Eileen Collins. Host: That’s incredible. pivotal role in uncovering and solving the mysteries of the Universe. Weisskopf: That’s a very good question you’ve asked, and the answer is I never thought about it. It’s been used to try to understand how neutron stars, these objects that are about 20 miles in diameter and weigh as much as the sun, how they radiate X-rays.

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