Press Release

Scientists at White House to Discuss Preparedness for Space Weather Events

By SpaceRef Editor
October 29, 2015
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Two Georgia State University scientists were among experts invited by The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP, to discuss space weather events related to science and technology efforts, and national preparedness on Thursday, Oct. 29.

Piet Martens, professor in the Physics and Astronomy Department at Georgia State, and Rafal Angryk, associate professor in the Department of Computer Science at Georgia State, were among key stakeholders from the public and private sectors invited to the White House.

“The Sun’s activity has an enormous impact on our increasingly technologically dependent society and our research at Georgia State is aimed at better predicting space weather,” said Martens. “Our invitation to the White House OSTP conveys how well Georgia State and its researchers are positioned to respond to the space weather challenge.”

An earlier report by the Space Studies Board of the National Research Council concluded that a solar superstorm could cripple the entire U.S. power grid for months, leading to economic damage of nearly $2 trillion. The report detailed how the Sun can disrupt radio communications, offset global positioning systems and cause radiation harm to satellites, astronauts and airline passengers.

The newly founded interdisciplinary research cluster at Georgia State enables astrophysicists and computer scientists to collaborate and carry out space weather research, and take advantage of competitive funding opportunities. The strength of this interdisciplinary approach relies on the novel data mining methods that have been developed by Georgia State computer scientists.

Georgia State’s Center for High Angular Resolution Astronomy houses and operates the CHARA Array in Mount Wilson, Calif., which provides the highest resolution of any telescope at visible and near-infrared wavelengths. The CHARA Array is among the most powerful facilities in the world for studying stars and stellar systems at resolutions not previously available.

“Our access to the CHARA Array, as well as the combined experience and collaboration among our researchers in big data analytics, space weather and climate, and image reconstruction showcases Georgia State’s uniqueness among U.S. universities,” said Angryk. “By taking advantage of new developments in computer and data sciences and learning more about Sun-like stars, we will improve our physical understanding of the Sun and enhance our data-driven predictive capabilities.”

The event featured panel discussions and invited speakers from the federal government, industry, academia and Congress, as well as announcements of new administration actions on space weather.

SpaceRef staff editor.