U-M space instrument findings to be revealed at NASA news conference

January 28, 2008
  • umichnews@umich.edu

ANN ARBOR— In conjunction with NASA?s news conference to announce findings from the first planet Mercury flyby in more than 30 years, experts are available Jan. 30 to discuss the role of the University of Michigan?s instrument aboard the spacecraft.

NASA?s MESSENGER spacecraft approached Mercury on Jan. 14. Michigan?s Fast Imaging Plasma Spectrometer (FIPS) took the first direct measurements of the planet?s magnetosphere. These measurements help explain how the planet interacts with the space environment and the sun.

To discuss findings from FIPS, contact instrument project leader Thomas Zurbuchen, associate professor of atmospheric, oceanic and space science and aerospace engineering. He can be reached at (734) 502-5500 or thomasz@umich.edu. A short video of Zurbuchen discussing FIPS findings will be available on Jan. 30.

To find out more about how FIPS works and the kind of measurements it takes, contact Jim Raines, lead mission operations engineer for the instrument. Raines is a research computer specialist in the Space Physics Research Laboratory. He can be reached at (734) 763-6223 or jraines@umich.edu.

For more information about U-M?s space physics research program, contact Director of the Space Physics Research Laboratory Christopher Ruf at (734) 764-6561 or cruf@umich.edu. Instruments developed at this lab are aboard the Cassini spacecraft at Saturn, and the Rosetta spacecraft en route to a comet. Ruf is a professor in the departments of Atmospheric, Oceanic and Space Science and Electrical Engineering and Computer Science.

NASA has scheduled a news conference to release the new images and information from Mercury at 1 p.m. EST Jan. 30.

The conference will be broadcast in room 2246 Space Research Building on U-M?s North Campus. Reporters are welcome to attend.

For more information:

NASA news conference advisory:

U-M Space Physics Research Laboratory:


NASA news conference advisoryU-M Space Physics Research Laboratory