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New Name Sought for GLAST

Photonics.com
Feb 2008
WASHINGTON, Feb. 8, 2008 -- NASA announced Thursday it is inviting people from around the world to submit a new name for the Gamma-ray Large Area Space Telescope, known as GLAST, before the satellite launches in mid-2008 to observe some of the most powerful forces known in the universe.

"The idea is to give people a chance to come up with a name that will fully engage the public in the GLAST mission," said Steve Ritz, the mission's project scientist at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. The GLAST mission is an astrophysics and particle physics partnership developed in collaboration with the US Department of Energy, along with contributions from academic institutions and partners in France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Sweden, and the US.

The mission's scientific objectives are to:
  • Explore the most extreme environments in the universe
  • Search for signs of new laws of physics and what composes the mysterious dark matter
  • Explain how black holes accelerate immense jets of material to nearly light speed
  • Help crack the mysteries of the powerful explosions known as gamma-ray bursts
  • Answer long-standing questions about a broad range of phenomena including solar flares, pulsars, and the origin of cosmic rays
Glast.jpg
Artist's rendering of the GLAST spacecraft in orbit above Earth. (Image courtesy General Dynamics)
"We're looking for name suggestions that will capture the excitement of GLAST's mission and call attention to gamma-ray and high-energy astronomy. We are looking for something memorable to commemorate this spectacular new astronomy mission," said Alan Stern, associate administrator for science at NASA headquarters in Washington. "We hope someone will come up with a name that is catchy, easy to say and will help make the satellite and its mission a topic of dinner table and classroom discussion."

Suggestions for the mission's new name can be an acronym, but it is not a requirement. If you're thinking of suggesting one to honor a scientist, he or she has to be deceased and can't have been so honored by any other NASA mission.

To submit a suggestion, visit: http://glast.sonoma.edu/glastname; participants must include a statement of 25 words or less about why their suggestion would be a strong name for the mission. NASA said suggestions will be accepted until March 31 and multiple submissions are encouraged.

NASA said it will announce the new name approximately 60 days after launch of the telescope, which is currently scheduled for May 16 according to the launch schedule on NASA's Web site.

For more information, visit: www.nasa.gov/glast


GLOSSARY
astronomy
The scientific observation of celestial radiation that has reached the vicinity of Earth, and the interpretation of these observations to determine the characteristics of the extraterrestrial bodies and phenomena that have emitted the radiation.
photonics
The technology of generating and harnessing light and other forms of radiant energy whose quantum unit is the photon. The science includes light emission, transmission, deflection, amplification and detection by optical components and instruments, lasers and other light sources, fiber optics, electro-optical instrumentation, related hardware and electronics, and sophisticated systems. The range of applications of photonics extends from energy generation to detection to communications and...
telescope
An afocal optical device made up of lenses or mirrors, usually with a magnification greater than unity, that renders distant objects more distinct, by enlarging their images on the retina.
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