NASA Grant Helps Researcher Look Beyond Solar System
By Adam Lowenstein, Florida Tech // September 7, 2014
Florida Tech's Gamayunov awarded $310,000 grant
ABOVE VIDEO: New NASA findings about matter found between the stars by the Interstellar Boundary Explorer (IBEX) spacecraft.
BREVARD COUNTY, FLORIDA — Florida Institute of Technology Research Professor Konstantin Gamayunov was recently awarded a three-year, $310,000 grant from NASA for his research studying the outer heliosheath, the region outside of the solar system where the sun’s influence ends.
The project, “Global system-based approach to test a mechanism of the IBEX ribbon formation in the outer heliosheath” is the newest segment of Gamayunov’s research, which analyzes particles called energetic neutral atoms.
These atoms are formed when solar wind protons and interstellar gases collide. They are visible using a small satellite called the Interstellar Boundary Explorer (IBEX) that NASA launched in 2008.
Understanding more about this part of space will help scientists better interpret the data sent back to Earth from the Voyager spacecraft, which is currently near the heliospheric boundary.
Due to the complexity of the research, Gamayunov enlisted researchers from University of Alabama in Huntsville and University of New Hampshire to offer their expertise.
Gamayunov will lead the team in the project, and grant funds will be disbursed among the researchers.