The Space Science Division conducts a broad-spectrum RDT&E program in solar-terrestrial physics, astrophysics, upper/ middle atmospheric science, and astronomy. Instruments to be flown on satellites, sounding rockets and balloons, and ground-based facilities and mathematical models are conceived and developed. Researchers apply these and other capabilities to the study of the atmospheres of the Sun and Earth, including solar activity and its effects on the Earth’s ionosphere, upper atmosphere, and middle atmosphere; laboratory astrophysics; and the unique physics and properties of celestial sources. The science is important to orbital tracking, radio communications, and navigation that affect the operation of ships and aircraft, utilization of the near-space and space environment of the Earth, and the fundamental understanding of natural radiation and geophysical phenomena.
Dr. Douglas Drob, a member of the Geospace Science & Technology Branch in NRL's Space Science Division, is part of an international consortium that is refining estimates of the yield and damage of the recent asteroid explosion of Chelyabinsk, Russia. Read full story