NSN Webinar Series: Solar Orbiter: A joint ESA/NASA mission to investigate the heliosphere
Images: NASA/ESA, Teresa Nieves-Chinchilla (inset)

Join the NASA Night Sky Network on Thursday, July 23, 2020 at 6:00pm Pacific Time (9:00pm Eastern) to hear Teresa Nieves-Chinchilla from NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, as she shares with us an update on the Solar Orbiter mission.

Solar Orbiter, a space mission of international collaboration between ESA (European Space Agency) and NASA, is the latest mission to study the Sun.  The mission will address a central question of heliophysics: How does the sun create and control the giant bubble of magnetic fields around it, the heliosphere? Solar Orbiter combines remote sensing and in-situ measurements of the Sun, the solar wind plasma, fields, waves, and energetic particles from new vantage points – both close to the Sun and at high latitude -- to observe solar processes that are still relatively pristine and have not had their properties modified by subsequent transport and propagation processes. Solar Orbiter will reach unprecedent milestones in our field. The inclined orbit will allow Solar Orbiter to better image the regions around the Sun’s poles than ever before.
Solar Orbiter was launched on February 9, 2020 from Cape Canaveral, FL onboard an Atlas V 411 rocket. The mission is now in cruise phase, heading to Mercury to perform the first gravity assistance maneuver and place Solar Orbiter into an elliptical orbit around the Sun, coming as close to 26 million miles away from the star every five months.

About Teresa Nieves-Chinchilla
Dr. Teresa Nieves-Chinchilla joined NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC) in May 2006 as a research fellow in the NASA Postdoctoral Program (NPP), and in May 2009 she joined The Catholic University of America (CUA) as a Research Associate. She is currently a Research Astrophysicist in the Heliospheric Physics Laboratory at the Heliophysics Science Division (GSFC-NASA). In 2018 she started to work with the NASA project scientist team for the Solar Orbiter collaboration and starting this year she is serving as NASA Deputy project scientist.
Her research efforts at GSFC are motivated to understand the nature of coronal mass ejections (CMEs) and their interactions with the solar wind, planets and the Earth. Her main contribution to the field has been providing a new perspective to the theoretical-analytical flux-rope model for magnetic structures embedded in the Interplanetary CMEs (ICMEs).
She received her Theoretical Physics degree from Universidad Autónoma de Madrid (Spain), and PhD by the Alcalá University (Madrid/Spain). She was a high-school teacher for 7 years in Spain before her journey to the USA with a commitment as a new generation of scientist. She is currently raising a young family of two girls. In her spare time, she enjoys with her girls reading, walking, watching shows or traveling for some of their activities.


Night Sky Network members can find more information and a link to register in advance for this webinar (login required) on the Outreach Resource page.

Upcoming Webinars (all webinars are at 6pm PT/9pm ET)

July 26: Teresa Nieves-Chinchilla, deputy project scientist for NASA's Solar Orbiter shares preliminary results

August: TBD

September 17: Emily Levesque, The Last Stargazers: Astronomy Adventures and the Scientific Power of Storytelling 

Previous NSN Webinars
lunar landing sites from Brian Day
Images: NASA/SpaceX; inset Bruce Pittman (on the right)

A Revolution In Commercial Space Development: The Next 42 Months

Bruce Pittman from NASA's Space Portal Office shared the present, and future of commercial ventures in space in June 2020.

A quiet revolution has been taking place in the development of space over the last 20 years.  Sparked by the space ambitions of men such as Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk, these efforts will come into full display over the next 42 months starting with the launch of the NASA Commercial Crew Demo 2 mission by SpaceX now scheduled for May 27th and hopefully ending with Amercians returning to the lunar surface for the first time in 50 years by December 2024.  But this story is about more than just getting to space.  We will also talk about the start of a space manufacturing revolution that is now beginning on the International Space Station.  It has been said that the first trillionaire will be made in space, it may be one of the people that we will talk about.

About Bruce Pittman
Bruce Pittman is the Director of Commercial Space Development at OffWorld Inc. and is currently working as a contractor in the Space Portal Office at the NASA Ames Research Center in Silicon Valley where he works as the Chief System Engineer.  Bruce is a co-founder and Chief Space Officer for the not for profit Future Frontiers Institute.  He is also the Senior Operating Officer and Senior Vice President of another non profit, the National Space Society.

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Last Updated: July 6, 2020
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