Paula Cleggett-Haleim Headquarters, Washington, D.C.

July 1, 1993 (Phone: 202/358-0883) RELEASE: 93-123 NASA SELECTS UPPER ATMOSPHERE INVESTIGATORS NASA today selected nine principal investigators to provide experiments for a new mission to study the elusive uppermost layers of the Earth's atmosphere. Six investigators also have been selected as interdisciplinary scientists to study broad problems using data from two or more of the experiments. These investigators come from four different universities, two of NASA's research centers and four non-profit research and/or industrial laboratories in the United States. Also, there are approximately 75 co-investigators involved in the selected investigations from nearly three dozen institutions in the U.S., while another 15 are from institutions in Canada, Europe, Taiwan and Japan. The new mission, called TIMED (Thermosphere-Ionosphere-Mesosphere Energetics and Dynamics), will study the atmospheric regions that lie roughly between 40 to 110 miles (60 and 180 kilometers (km)) above the Earth's surface. TIMED consists of two nearly identical spacecraft in different circular Earth orbits, to be launched aboard small expendable launch vehicles. The spacecraft will travel in orbits having inclinations of 95 degrees and 49 degrees. The operating lifetime of each spacecraft is 24 months. The region of upper atmosphere TIMED will investigate,

sometimes called the "ignorosphere" by atmospheric researchers, is difficult to study because it is too high for even the largest research balloons, which only reach a maximum altitude of about 25 miles (40 km). The region is still dense enough, however, to quickly cause a satellite to decay from orbit. Most atmospheric research explores the lowest layers in the Earth's atmosphere, the troposphere, where all terrestrial life exists, and the next higher layer, the stratosphere, where large-scale weather patterns such as the jet stream occur and in which modern jet aircraft routinely fly. - more -2The upper regions, which include the mesosphere and lower thermosphere, are fundamental to understanding the Earth's atmosphere since they are the "skin" between the life-sustaining lower layers and outer space. These regions absorb a considerable amount of the ultraviolet radiation from the sun. Also, they intercept the high energy atomic particles that come from the Sun or that are accelerated by yet unknown processes within the Earth's own magnetosphere, an area that surrounds the planet like a giant cocoon. The most common evidence of the absorption of energy from high energy particles are the northern and southern lights, or aurora, that can be seen shimmering in the night sky at high geographical latitudes, especially during the epochs of maximum solar activity which occur every 11 years. The TIMED mission is planned to have a nominal lifetime of 2 years, sufficient to provide global coverage of the mesosphere and lower thermosphere through 2 full cycles of the Earth's seasons. TIMED is the first of a so-called "intermediate" series of space physics missions characterized by having a tightly controlled, pre-determined budget caps and a limited, focused set of science objectives to be accomplished in a pre-specified lifetime. All of these limitations aid in establishing a fixed cost for the entire mission, from beginning to end. TIMED is currently under consideration as a new start candidate.

The TIMED mission is managed by the Space Physics Division of NASA's Office of Space Sciences at NASA Headquarters, Washington, D.C. The project management for actual construction of the payload and satellite have been assigned to NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md. The principal investigators and the names of their science investigations selected for the definition phase of the TIMED mission are: SELECTED EXPERIMENT (HARDWARE) INVESTIGATIONS: Dr. James M. Russell/NASA Langley Research Center, Hampton, Va. "Sounding of the Atmosphere Using Broadband Emission Radiometry Experiment." Dr. Thomas N. Woods/National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, Colo. "Solar Extreme Ultraviolet (EUV) Spectral Irradiance Experiment for the TIMED Mission." Dr. Timothy L. Killeen/University of Michigan, Ann Arbor "A TIMED Doppler Interferometer." - more -3Dr. Jeng-Hwa Yee/Applied Physics Laboratory - Johns Hopkins University, Laurel, Md. "Density and Temperature Spectrograph for TIMED." Dr. Andrew B. Christensen/The Aerospace Corporation, El Segundo, Calif. "Global Ultraviolet Imager." Dr. Paul Mahaffy/NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md. "Temperature, Wind, Neutrals, and Ions Experiment." Dr. Roderick A. Heelis/University of Texas, Dallas "Electrodynamics of the Thermosphere-Ionosphere-Mesosphere, an Investigation to Include an Ionospheric Dynamics Instrument for the TIMED Mission."

Dr. Stephen B. Mende/Lockheed Palo Alto Research Laboratory, Calif. "TIMED Imaging Photometer Experiment." Dr. David W. Rusch/University of Colorado, Boulder "Temperature, Ozone, Nitrogen Oxide Experiment." INTERDISCIPLINARY (THEORY/MODELING) INVESTIGATIONS: Dr. Guy P. Brasseur/National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, Colo. "Models of Chemical Dynamical Radiative Interactions in the Mesosphere and Lower Thermosphere." Dr. Jeffrey M. Forbes/Boston University "Tides, Planetary Waves, and Eddy Forcing of the Mean Mesosphere, Lower Thermosphere (MLT) Circulation." Dr. Stanley C. Solomon/University of Colorado, Boulder "Energy Transfer in the Thermosphere and Mesosphere." Dr. Hans G. Mayr/NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md. "Dynamics of the Mesosphere and Lower Thermosphere - Empirical and Theoretical Models." Dr. David C. Fritts/University of Colorado, Boulder "A Theoretical and Observational Study of Large- and Small-Scale Dynamics in the Mesosphere and Lower Thermosphere in Support of TIMED." Dr. Janet U. Kozyra/University of Michigan, Ann Arbor "Solar and Magnetospheric Inputs to the Mesosphere, Lower Thermosphere, Ionosphere (MLTI) Region." - end -