Leah Beeferman

Monitoring the architecture of science: a studious, imaginative investigation of space-bound and land-based far-traveling and distant-looking orbiting and non-orbiting structures

an ongoing weekly project distributed by e-mail running from February 2009 to February 2010.


Public weather data analyzed by NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) – collected from thousands of meteorological stations worldwide, satellite measurements of sea surface temperature, and Antarctic research station data – shows 2009 to be the second warmest year yet recorded

On October 12, 2009, NASA launches Operation Ice Bridge, a 158-foot long DC-8 airplane laboratory containing instruments to map changes in sea ice and ice sheets during up to 17 flights over Western Antarctica, the Antarctic Peninsula, and Coastal areas; its data will also provide insight into the shape of the terrain below the ice, something not easily observable by satellites in orbit

Observations made by NASA’s Moon Mineralogy Mapper (M3) on the Indian Space Research Organization’s Chandrayaan-1 spacecraft showing the presence of water molecules in the polar regions of the moon have been confirmed by two other spacecraft, NASA’s Cassini and Epoxi; while the amounts of water were larger than predicted, levels are still extremely small

Collaborative data collection by the Centre Nationale D’Etudes Spatiales’ (CNES) COROT satellite and the High Accuracy Radial Velocity Planet Searcher (HARPS) spectrograph at the La Silva Observatory in Chile suggests the size and speed of Corot 7B, the fastest-orbiting known exoplanet

In an attempt to understand magnetic reconnection – crossing and colliding lines of magnetic force producing massive explosions of kinetic energy – NASA will develop the Magnetospheric Multiscale Mission (MMS): four puck-shaped observatories to be launched into the magnetosphere in 2014

Data collected using the Laser Interferometer Gravitational Wave Observatory (LIGO) located in Hanford, Washington, USA and Livingston, Louisiana, USA and the Virgo Collaboration based in Cascina, Italy, suggests far fewer gravitational waves were produced by the Big Bang than once assumed

The Catalina Sky Survey (CSS) – three jointly-operated telescopes in Arizona, USA and Coonabarabran, Australia – will soon become the Catalina Real-Time Transient Survey (CRTS), a reorganization indicative of a shift in astronomy towards the search for objects that change on short timescales: for example, a star which dims by 7500% in just 10 minutes and fully recovers only 10 minutes later

On January 2, 2004, NASA’s Stardust spacecraft passed through the WILD-2 (pronounced VILT-2) comet and gathered samples of its dense gases and dust in a collection grid filled with Aerogel B and sent back to Earth in 2006 on a special capsule; in August 2009, scientists report finding glycine, an amino acid, among the samples brought home

NASA’s Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite (LCROSS) is pulling a Centaur rocket set to collide with the moon to try and locate hints of lunar ice; this rocket, however, is lined with icicles collected from humid pre-launch air and frozen during launch, icicles which need to be melted before impact so as to not “pollute” findings with traces of Earth water

Wednesday, July 8, 2009 marked the end of repairs on and successful pressure testing of the Large Hadron Collider’s (LHC) sector 3-4; repairs in other sectors of the machine, however, will prevent overall restart and beam injection from happening until mid-November

On Sunday, July 26, 2009, the Canberra (Australia) Deep Space Communication Complex – one of NASA’s three worldwide Deep Space Network (DSN) stations collectively providing continuous spacecraft monitoring – communicated with at least ten spacecraft using its four highly sensitive radio antennas

With new software loaded onto a computer aboard the International Space Station, “Interplanetary Internet” becomes a reality – revolutionizing communication between Earth and instruments flying in space

A GPS satellite, launched in March 2009, remains out of service due to technical problems: signal distortions that render navigation measurements slightly inaccurate and thus unreliable

On June 17 2009, NASA plans to launch its Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO), a satellite programmed to maintain a polar orbit of the moon that will enable it to fly over dozens of past lunar landing sites – U.S. and Soviet, robotic and human – to investigate the effects of lunar time on the hardware left behind

NASA’s SWIFT satellite – a multi-wavelength space-based observatory making observations about gamma-ray burst (GRB) science – records the x-ray afterglow of an event called GRB090423, the most distant cosmic explosion ever seen

Locating the production sites of the industrial team responsible for designing and building the European Space Agency’s Herschel Space Observatory, the largest ever infrared space observatory at the time of its launch, May 6 2009, part 2 of 2

Locating the production sites of the industrial team responsible for designing and building the European Space Agency’s Herschel Space Observatory, the largest ever infrared space observatory at the time of its launch later in 2009, part 1 of 2

The Solar Terrestrial Relations Observatory (STEREO) – a pair of nearly identical space-based observatories, one ahead of the earth in its orbit, the other behind – continues beyond its two year mission to observe and document the sun and its coronal mass ejections (CMEs), powerful eruptions spewing up to 10 million tons of the sun’s atmosphere into interplanetary space at speeds up to 1 million miles per hour

By analyzing data from optical satellite instruments such as ASTER (Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer) – an imaging device flying on the Terra satellite launched in 1999 – GLIMS (Global Land Ice Measurements from Space) monitors over 52,000 of Earth’s glaciers

Profiling the Delta II “expendable space launch vehicle” in recognition of its 139th successful launch – carrying the Kepler planet-searching telescope into space from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station’s launch complex 17 pad 17-B on March 6, 2009, around 10:49pm

Seventeen radio telescopes jointly and simultaneously observe three quasars using the technical process of electronic real-time very long baseline interferometry (e-VLBI) for 33 hours on January 15-16 2009