Instrument built by graduate student Ryan Cole

Researchers replicate climates of exoplanets to help find extraterrestrial life

Dec. 23, 2021

Professor Greg Rieker and Ryan Cole have developed an experiment that recreates the climates of planets beyond our solar system right in the lab. By reaching the same high-temperature and high-pressure conditions found on many exoplanets, the instrument can map their atmospheres, which could help humanity detect life outside our solar system.

Artist's depiction of James Webb in space with its mirror unfolded.

New space telescope to peer back at the universe’s first galaxies

Dec. 21, 2021

The decades-in-the-making James Webb Space Telescope will observe light from the dawn of the universe and may even detect the gases swirling in the atmospheres of alien planets.

Illustration of space

NASA awards $14 million to CU for two new CubeSat missions

Dec. 20, 2021

Two new CubeSats, to be built by the Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics (LASP), will provide first-of-their-kind measurements of gravity waves in Earth’s upper atmosphere and explosions in the Sun’s corona.

Artist’s rendering of an exoplanet system experiencing atmospheric escape

Scientists envision what Mars would look like as an exoplanet

Dec. 15, 2021

Which planets beyond our solar system are most likely to host life? By extrapolating the current scientific understanding of Mars, a multi-disciplinary team, including researchers from LASP, is helping identify alien planets that may be habitable.

A pit on the moon as seen from a satellite in orbit

Spelunking on the moon: New study explores lunar pits and caves

Dec. 13, 2021

One day, human astronauts could live in the protected environments of pits and caves on the moon. A new study seeks to better understand what the environments may be like within these craggy features.

Auroras

Mysterious STEVE light emissions emanate from Earth’s magnetosphere

Dec. 13, 2021

Contributions from citizen scientists are helping researchers identify different types of aurora-like light emissions and constrain how and where in Earth’s atmosphere those light emissions are generated.

Members of the CU Boulder flight crew working on a RAAVEN drone in 2019 during a mission with a tornado in the distance.

Designing flying artificial intelligence systems to study supercell thunderstorms up close

Dec. 13, 2021

A team of CU Boulder scientists and engineers have landed a major grant to design next-generation uncrewed aircraft systems to fly into the heart of supercell thunderstorms that can spawn tornadoes.

Gravity waves imprinted on atmospheric airglow

NASA to fund LASP’s new OWLS instrument

Dec. 10, 2021

A new instrument to be built by the Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics will help answer fundamental questions about gravity waves and improve the forecasting of satellite trajectories.

Artist's depiction of the star EK Draconis ejecting a coronal mass ejection as two planets orbit

A young sun-like star may hold warnings for life on Earth

Dec. 9, 2021

On April 2020, astronomers observed a gigantic burst of energy and charged particles erupting from the surface of a far away star called EK Draconis. The findings suggest that similar events could, theoretically, occur on our own sun––albeit rarely.

Artist’s representation of NASA’s Imaging X-ray Polarimetry Explorer (IXPE) in Earth’s orbit. Credit: NASA

Students, staff ready to operate NASA’s new IXPE mission to study black holes

Dec. 7, 2021

Years of preparation will culminate this week when LASP students and staff assume control of the nearly $200 million IXPE mission just after it lifts off from Cape Canaveral, Florida.

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