On Jan. 14, NASA’s Messenger spacecraft made its first flyby of the planet Mercury — the first by any Earth craft in over 30 years. Behind the scenes of this long-awaited return to Mercury, there was an Augsburg connection: Distinguished Alumnus Brian Anderson ’82 is the mission’s Magnetometer Instrument Scientist. One of the main goals of the Messenger mission is to understand the nature of that dense planet’s magnetic field.
Anderson’s participation in the exploration of Mercury is the latest product of Augsburg’s long tradition of space-science excellence. It began in 1970, when Augsburg alumnus Ken Erickson returned to Minneapolis to take up a joint appointment as an Associate Professor of Physics at Augsburg and as a
researcher in the space physics laboratory of Professor John Winckler of the
University of Minnesota. Since then, an increasing number of Augsburg physics students have participated each year in research projects with Augsburg faculty. Continue reading “Convocation celebrates Augsburg's ties to space”