Project Imua students at Black Rock, NV
In mid-September, Project Imua students from the UHCC will participate in an international rocketry contest called ARLISS. This will be WCC's thirteenth consecutive entry in this competition.
ARLISS (A Rocket Launch for International Student Satellites) challenges university engineering students to design, build, test, and ultimately fly a project that will emulate a planetary atmospheric probe. The projects are peer tested against each other by being launched, via high-powered rocket, to high altitude and then ejected. The project must then autonomously make its way to a pre-determined location about 1.5 miles away, while taking atmospheric data. While the project may broadcast its data results to a ground station, no command may be given to the project.
This year, the UHCC team consists of two campuses, WCC and HCC, that have collaborated on different aspects of this project. HCC has designed and built the ASEP (Atmospheric Sampling Experiment Package). WCC has built a foldable quadcopter that fits within the very limited volume allowed by the rocket (cylindrical, having a length of 10.5 cm and diameter of 5.8 cm), having a total mass that is less then 1 kg, and will carry the ASEP.
WCC's participation in ARLISS is unique among all other competitors. WCC is the only institution that also supplies its own custom-built rocket to launch its payload. Weighing 50 pounds full-fueled, this high-power rocket is propelled some 12,000 feet above the dessert playa, where at apogee (maximum altitude), it will deploy the quadcopter containing the ASEP package. The drone will first hover down to the ground where it will acquire a GPS signal and then fly at low altitude to the target. While at ARLISS, WCC students (Damien Apilando, Dylan Boerman, Julian Earle and Katherine Bronston) will work towards their next rocket level certification by launching their own rockets.
Is it a comet? Is it an asteroid? It's ʻOumuamua
The interstellar object ʻOumuamua
was discovered on October 19, 2017, but the puzzle of its true nature has taken months to unravel, and may never be fully solved.
, ʻOumuamua was found by astronomers working with the University of Hawaiʻi‘s Pan-STARRS1
survey as it came close to Earth’s orbit. But what is it—an asteroid, or a comet? As soon as it was spotted, astronomers from around the world were drawn into the mystery and the first clue was its trajectory.
Many follow-up observations by the Canada-France-Hawaiʻi Telescope
, the European Space Agency’s Optical Ground Station telescope in Tenerife, Canary Islands and other telescopes around the world have helped to determine its classification.
Credit: ESA/Hubble, NASA, ESO, M. Kornmesser
This artist’s impression shows the first interstellar object discovered in the Solar System, ʻOumuamua. Observations made with the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope and others show that the object is moving faster than predicted while leaving the Solar System. Researchers assume that the gaseous material being emitted from its surface due to solar heating is responsible for this behavior. These gas emissions can be seen in this artist’s impression as a subtle cloud being ejected from the side of the object facing the Sun.
Observers waivered on "Oumuamua's classification as an interstellar asteroid or comet since it was first spotted
about a month after its closest approach to the Sun, which took it within the orbit of Mercury. Unlike any asteroid or comet observed before, this new object sped past the Sun, approaching from ‘above’ the plane of the planets on a highly inclined orbit, moving fast enough (70,800 miles per hour as of July 1, 2018) to escape the Sun’s gravitational pull and eventually depart our Solar System.
Initially, astronomers assumed ʻOumuamua was a comet. Current understanding of planet formation predicts more interstellar comets than interstellar asteroids. However, astronomers did not see evidence of gas emission or a dusty environment in the observations. Without these hallmarks of comet activity, it was classified as the first interstellar asteroid. However, the observations made with the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope clearly show the gas emissions, which is a behavior typical for comets.
A team of astronomers led by Marco Micheli of ESA‘s SSA-NEO Coordination Centre, and Karen Meech
of the UH Institute for Astronomy
, continue to make high precision measurements of the object and its position before it departs the solar system.
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