Suggested Searches

1 min read

Heliopause Electrostatic Rapid Transit System (HERTS)

Heliopause Electrostatic Rapid Transit System (HERTS)
The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Aqua satellite collected this natural-color image which detected dozens of fires burning in Central Africa on January 06, 2015. The location, widespread nature, and number of fires suggest that these fires were deliberately set to manage land. Farmers often use fire to return nutrients to the soil and to clear the ground of unwanted plants. While fire helps enhance crops and grasses for pasture, the fires also produce smoke that degrades air quality.   Each hot spot, which appears as a red mark, is an area where the thermal detectors on the MODIS instrument recognized temperatures higher than background. When accompanied by plumes of smoke, as in this image, such hot spots are diagnostic for fire.  The smoke released by any type of fire (forest, brush, crop, structure, tires, waste or wood burning) is a mixture of particles and chemicals produced by incomplete burning of carbon-containing materials. All smoke contains carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide and particulate matter or soot.
NASA image courtesy Jeff Schmaltz, MODIS Rapid Response Team. Caption: NASA/Goddard, Lynn Jenner

Bruce Wiegmann
NASA Marshall Space Flight Center

Our Electric Sail (E-sail) propulsion team is excited to propose to the 2015 NAIC Phase II solicitation. Our international team includes: the inventor and patent holder of the E-Sail propulsion system (Dr. Pekka Janhunen of the Finnish Meteorological Institute (FMI), the Principal Investigator for NASA’s previous Tether Satellite System experiments that were flown on the Space Shuttle (Dr. Nobie Stone), fellow NASA NAIC former and present Fellow Dr. Rob Hoyt of Tethers Unlimited, Inc. (TUI), and Utah State University team lead by Dr. Robert Schunk. Our proposal builds upon our teams technical findings in Phase 1 – “that an E-Sail propelled spacecraft can travel 100 AU in less than 10 years or to the Heliopause (120 – 150 AU) in < 15 years”. In addition to the Heliopause missions, our team member – Dr. Pekka Janhunen of the Finnish Meteorological Institute (FMI) – has examined a number of missions of scientific discovery where the E-Sail propulsion system will provide rapid transits so various researchers could begin to get data back from outer planetary missions within 1 to 2 years of launch.

2015 Phase I and Phase II Selections