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NASA-led Firefly Mission to Study Lightning

Somewhere on Earth, there's always a lightning flash. The globe experiences lightning some 50 times a second, yet the details of what initiates this common occurrence and what effects it has on the atmosphere - lightning may be linked to incredibly powerful and energetic bursts called terrestrial gamma ray flashes, or TGFs -- remains a mystery. In mid-November, a football-sized mission called Firefly, which is funded by the National Science Foundation, will launch into space to study lightning and these gamma ray flashes from above.

The NSF CubeSat program represents a low cost access to space approach to performing high-quality, highly targeted science on a smaller budget than is typical of more comprehensive satellite projects, which have price tags starting at $100 million. The CubeSat Firefly, by focusing its science goals, will carry out its mission in a much smaller package and at a considerably lower cost.

The Firefly mission also emphasizes student involvement as part of the ongoing effort to train the next generation of scientists and engineers. Students at Siena College, in Loudonville, N.Y., and the University of Maryland Eastern Shore, in Princess Anne, Md., were involved in all phases of the Firefly mission.

The window for Firefly launch opens on Nov. 19, 2013, and it is scheduled to launch with 27 other cubesat missions, as well as a NASA experiment called the Total solar irradiance Calibration Transfer Experiment, or TCTE, which will continue measurements from space of the total energy output of the sun.

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This short teaser video introduces us to the mission of Firefly, a CubeSat built by undergraduate students with the partnership of Goddard Space Flight Center and the National Science Foundation.    This short teaser video introduces us to the mission of Firefly, a CubeSat built by undergraduate students with the partnership of Goddard Space Flight Center and the National Science Foundation.

For complete transcript, click here.
Duration: 2.2 minutes
Available formats:
  1280x720 (59.94 fps) QT         1 GB
  1280x720 (59.94 fps) QT         1 GB
  1280x720 (29.97 fps) QT         138 MB
  1280x720 (29.97 fps) QT         138 MB
  1280x720 (29.97 fps) WMV         71 MB
  960x540 (29.97 fps) MPEG-4   62 MB
  1280x720 (29.97 fps) MPEG-4   45 MB
  640x360 (29.97 fps) MPEG-4   24 MB
  320x240 (29.97 fps) MPEG-4   13 MB
  Captions PLAIN       2 KB
  320x180     PNG           231 KB
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Shots of students from Siena College in Albany, NY, and at Goddard Space Flight Center working on Firefly.    Shots of students from Siena College in Albany, NY, and at Goddard Space Flight Center working on Firefly.
Duration: 50.0 seconds
Available formats:
  512x288     MPEG-1   7 MB
  640x360     MPEG-4   8 MB
  1280x720   WMV         28 MB
  320x240     MPEG-4   4 MB
  1280x720   QT         802 MB
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Short URL to This Page:http://svs.gsfc.nasa.gov/goto?10645
Animation Number:10645
Completed:2010-09-14
Animators:Chris Meaney (HTSI) (Lead)
 Walt Feimer (HTSI)
Video Editor:Rich Melnick (HTSI)
Producers:Ryan Fitzgibbons (UMBC)
 Rani Gran (NASA/GSFC)
Scientist:Douglas E. Rowland (NASA/GSFC)
Series:Narrated Movies
Goddard TV Tape:G2010-090 -- Firefly Teaser
Please give credit for this item to:
NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center
 
Keywords:
SVS >> HDTV
SVS >> Lightning
SVS >> Terrestrial Gamma Flash
SVS >> Firefly
 
 


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Many of our multimedia items use the GCMD keywords. These keywords can be found on the Internet with the following citation:
Olsen, L.M., G. Major, K. Shein, J. Scialdone, S. Ritz, T. Stevens, M. Morahan, A. Aleman, R. Vogel, S. Leicester, H. Weir, M. Meaux, S. Grebas, C.Solomon, M. Holland, T. Northcutt, R. A. Restrepo, R. Bilodeau, 2013. NASA/Global Change Master Directory (GCMD) Earth Science Keywords. Version 8.0.0.0.0

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