Welcome to the Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics. We are so pleased to have Sen. Cory Gardner with us today.
As we just celebrated the birth and independence of our country two days ago, it's easy to recognize how far this country has come in discovery, technology, innovation and education. The nation's research universities have played a big role, including CU-Boulder.
Private corporate research labs like AT&T Bell Labs, IBM and Eastman Kodak are a thing of the past, and research universities are filling the void to advance society and the nation.
Today, about half of all U.S. research citations are generated by just 19 universities in this nation and CU-Boulder is No. 8 on that list.
Here at LASP—which operates more space hardware than all other university-based organizations combined—CU’s space research and tech transfer predates NASA. In 1956 LASP scientists spun off rocket-technology to form the aerospace division of Ball Brothers Co.
Since then we have sent an instrument to every planet the solar system. Eight days from today—on July 14—we are excited that New Horizons will fly by Pluto to the frontier of the solar system, after a nine-year journey.
One of the key instruments on New Horizons was built by LASP students and featured in the New York Times recently. It will provide new data on how planets form. It's the first student-built instrument ever to fly on a NASA interplanetary mission. It's gratifying to know that those students are returning to Boulder this week to share the moment of the Pluto flyby.
One of our alumni, Alan Stern, is the NASA Principle Investigator on the New Horizons mission.
Last September our MAVEN spacecraft entered Mars' orbit to solve the mystery of its disappearing atmosphere, which may have implications for our own planet. It is already sending back fabulous data. But MAVEN also speaks to the importance of industry partnership.
While we are leading the science on that mission, MAVEN is a partnership with three of our Colorado space industry partners.
- Lockheed Martin, which built the craft
- United Launch Alliance, which launched it
- and Exelis, which is in charge of deep-space communications.
In all, our MAVEN contract with NASA has returned $300 million to the Colorado economy.
Colorado's space economy ranks among the top 3 in the nation and I'm pleased that we can be major contributors.
Here at LASP, 150 undergraduate and graduate students are employed at any given time. It's one of the most dramatic examples of undergraduate research on the campus. The graduates and undergraduates who work on these projects are the future leaders of the space industry.
Since March of this year, LASP professionals and students have been operating 100 separate instruments on NASA’s Magnetospheric (Magneto-spheric) Multi-scale mission—a $1 billion program to study energy conversion in space plasmas.
Discovery … innovation … tech transfer … education … it all happens right here at LASP — and every day all across campus in a variety of fields and disciplines that move our nation forward.
The work that goes on here at LASP—with researchers, graduate students and undergraduates advancing technology, and learning from each other—is pursued across campus every day in the biosciences, energy development, geosciences, and in STEM education, to name a few.
The future of this country is a skilled technological workforce. And it's also the innovation and industry collaboration that its research universities provide.
Continued federal funding for research universities will preserve and advance our nation's place in the world, and educate our future leaders and pioneers.
We're glad to have you with us today. Thank you for joining us.
Introduce Distinguished Professor Daniel Baker
I would now like to bring up Distinguished Professor Daniel Baker, the director of LASP.
Dr. Baker is a professor in the Department of Astrophysical and Planetary Sciences and a Professor of Physics.
Earlier this year he was appointed the Vikram A. Sarabhai Professor by the Physical Research Laboratory of India.
Professor Sarabhai was the founder of the India space program.
Professor Baker is involved in all the science I just mentioned, and he also is focusing heavily on space weather research and forecasting conditions in the space environment.