Astrophysics Branch (Code SSA)

SSA6

Chief: Jessie Dotson
Email: Jessie.Dotson@nasa.gov

Assistant Chief: Christine Martinez
Email: Christine.Martinez@nasa.gov

Branch Office: 650.604.5528

 

 

Observations, Instrument Development, and Experiments

We perform observations from ground-based and space-born telescopes to better understand the origin of stars and planetary systems and support space missions. We had more successful Spitzer space telescope proposals than any other organization, we have performed observations from the Hubble space telescope and space mission spectrometers such as Cassini VIMS, and our scientists are so well respected that they chair and sit on observatory time allocation committees.

SSA1
SSA2
SSA3
 

The SOFIA water vapor monitor

We develop instruments and detectors to improve the capabilities of ground based and airborn telescopes. This is possible thanks to our scientists expertise in IR observations and our highly specialized instrument development shop tailored to producing scientific equipment and rapid prototyping which has produced flight hardware for airborne and space use. The team of technicians has extensive expertise with high vacuum systems, cryogenics, and optics. But that's not all…

Lab Facilities

Ice Spectroscopy and photo-chemistry:

Facilities include High-vacuum cryogenic equipment to simulate space ices, from interstellar grains at 10 K to icy surfaces of planets, comets, and satellites in the outer Solar System.

Alexandrite, Nd/YAG, and dye lasers and associated optical instrumentation for the vaporization, and photo-luminescence, and spectroscopic analysis of materials.

Chromatography for the analysis of organic molecules from meteorites and simulation experiments.

SSA4

Instrumentation for transmission and reflection spectroscopy from the Vacuum UV through the Far IR.

 
SSA5

Gas-phase spectroscopy: A Pulsed slit discharge nozzle that produces ultracold, very low density gas and plasmas combined with a high sensitivity cavity ringdown spectrometer.

 

Highlights

New Horizons NASA Social  Web Chat Featuring NASA Ames Scientist

New Horizons NASA Social Web Chat Featuring NASA Ames Scientist

On June 6, 2015 NASA and the Johns Hopkins University’s Applied Physics Laboratory hosted a NASA social on NASA’s New Horizons mission. New Horizons will fly by Pluto & its moons on July 14, 2015 after a 9.5 year trek across the Solar System.

Farid Salama elected first President of the new IAU Commission for Laboratory Astrophysics

Dr. Farid Salama (SSA) has been elected Founding President of the new Laboratory Astrophysics Commission recently approved by the IAU Executive Committee. The New Commission will be launched at the IAU General Assembly in August.

NASA’s Kepler Telescope Discovers Ancient Planets

NASA’s Kepler Telescope Discovers Ancient Planets. New Scientist (1/27, Grossman, 297K) reports on a discovery of five ancient planets around an 11.2 billion-year old star.
Dr. Elisa Quintana

Dr. Elisa Quintana receives the Lupe Ontiveros Dream Award

Dr. Elisa Quintana, a senior fellow in the NASA Postdoctoral Program at NASA Ames Research Center received the Lupe Ontiveros Dream Award.  Dr. Quintana works with Kepler data to search for and characterize extrasolar planets.  The award was presented to Dr. Quintana at a ceremony at the Los Angeles Theatre Center on October 4, 2014.
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