The Canadian Astronomical Data Centre at the Herzberg Institute of Astrophysics is home to many of the world’s most accessed astronomical data sets. From the Hubble Legacy Archive to the DAO Spectroscopic Plate Archive, to data from the Digital Sky Survey, CADC is your go to source of stellar (and galactic and planetary) images, spectra, and more – including the data found in projects on this site, including Ice Investigators! In 2012, the Canadian Astronomy Data Centre (CADC) delivered over 1.6 million individual files, comprising over 117 TB of data and served data to roughly 2000 professional astronomers.
As a mission belonging to NASA’s Discovery Program, Dawn delves into the unknown, drives new technology innovations, and achieves what’s never been attempted before. In Dawn’s case, it spent a year orbiting one member of the main asteroid belt, Vesta, before heading to gather yet more data at a second, Ceres, with an arrival date in early 2015. With CosmoQuest’s Vesta Mappers, you can help make the first maps of Vesta’s features.
NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) has forever changed our view of the moon, literally bringing it into sharper focus and showing us the whole globe in unprecedented detail. It is a robotic mission that set out to map the moon’s surface and, after a year of exploration, was extended with a unique set of science objectives. With CosmoQuest’s Moon Mapper project you can help scientists extend our understanding of the Earth’s nearest neighbor.
The MErcury Surface Space ENvironment, GEochemistry, and Ranging (MESSENGER) Mission is returning the first new spacecraft data from Mercury since the Mariner 10 mission over 30 years ago. Using its full suite of instruments, MESSENGER is investigating the geologic history of Mercury in great detail, including the portions of the planet never seen by Mariner 10. With CosmoQuest, you can become part of the team using this new data to understand the the planet nearest the Sun by visiting Mercury Mappers.
The NASA Johnson Space Center Astromaterials Research and Exploration Science (ARES) Division’s Earth Science and Remote Sensing (ESRS) Unit performs mission operations for the International Space Station Crew Earth Observations (CEO) Facility that supports handheld digital camera crew photography. Mission operations for CEO include identification of daily target opportunities for the ISS crew, uplink of that information in the form of detailed target lists, and curation of downlinked data in the online Gateway to Astronaut Photography of Earth (GAPE) database (https://eol.jsc.nasa.gov). The ESRS team also trains ISS astronauts in the earth science behind the imagery featured on the GAPE website as well as in Image Detective.
The New Horizons mission is on a voyage to visit the last of the solar system’s classic 9 planets. After its 2015 flyby, the spacecraft will have enough fuel on board to visit possibly two additional icy bodies in the outer solar system. With the Ice Investigators project you can help us discover candidates for exploration!
The OSIRIS-REx spacecraft is traveling to Bennu, a carbonaceous asteroid whose regolith may record the earliest history of our solar system, and will capture a sample to return to Earth. Bennu may contain the molecular precursors to the origin of life and the Earth’s oceans. Bennu is also one of the most potentially hazardous asteroids, as it has a relatively high probability of impacting the Earth late in the 22nd century. OSIRIS-REx will determine Bennu’s physical and chemical properties, which will be critical to know in the event of an impact mitigation mission. Finally, asteroids like Bennu contain natural resources such as water, organics, and precious metals. CosmoQuest will allow you to help analyze this fascinating asteroid!
The Vatican Observatory operates the 1.8m Alice P. Lennon Telescope with its Thomas J. Bannan Astrophysics Facility, known together as the Vatican Advanced Technology Telescope (VATT), located at the Mount Graham International Observatory (MGIO )in southeastern Arizona. The international staff include a dozen research astronomers plus a number of support staff, emeritus staff, and adjunct scholars, coming from many different nations and cultures, representing nearly every continent.
WFIRST, the Wide Field InfraRed Survey Telescope, is a NASA observatory designed to settle essential questions in the areas of dark energy, exoplanets, and infrared astrophysics. The telescope has a primary mirror that is 2.4 meters in diameter (7.9 feet), and is the same size as the Hubble Space Telescope’s primary mirror. WFIRST will have two instruments, the Wide Field Instrument, and the Coronagraph Instrument. The Wide Field Instrument will have a field of view that is 100 times greater than the Hubble infrared instrument, capturing more of the sky with less observing time. As the primary instrument, the Wide Field Instrument will measure light from a billion galaxies over the course of the mission lifetime. It will perform a microlensing survey of the inner Milky Way to find ~2,600 exoplanets. The Coronagraph Instrument will perform high contrast imaging and spectroscopy of dozens of individual nearby exoplanets. WFIRST is designed for a 6 year mission, and will launch on a EELV out of Cape Canaveral.