Copyright 2006 NASA/Olin Connector Team. Designed by Brad Westgate
Olin/NASA Research Group
This is the third summer in which students at Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering have participated in research projects in collaboration with scientists at Goddard Space Flight Center. This year, ten students are involved, working on a total of five projects (each student working on at least two projects). Projects from previous years can be seen on the main Olin/NASA page (see Links). This year's projects all revolve around the Constellation X mission.
Many of the most exciting discoveries about the nature of the universe are found courtesy of the efforts of the scientists at Goddard Space Flight Center who work in the Exploration of the Universe Division. Much of the work that they do involves x-ray astronomy - reading information from the x-rays that reach earth from light-years away. X-rays cannot penetrate the earth's atmosphere, however, so all of x-ray astronomy must be performed in orbit. Some of the most recent discoveries involve the age of the universe and the nature of black holes.
The Constellation X mission is designed to be the next generation in x-ray astronomy. Multiple satellites will be built with many nested mirrors that focus x-rays onto finely-tuned sensors. The sensors are effectively very sensitive thermometers, which can detect the indicence of x-rays through a slight increase in temperature.