Rensselaer Research Review Spring 2008
*
*
Equations
A sample of the pen-and-paper
mathematics used by Roberge and Ciolek
Applying the Results

According to the researchers, the findings could influence the success of research conducted by NASA’s upcoming mission, the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA), a modified Boeing 747SP aircraft with an infrared telescope expected to begin test flights in the coming months. Roberge noted that the findings could also be important for studies using NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope (the infrared sister of the Hubble Telescope).

“Astronomers are now venturing into infrared telescopes, which allows you to look deeper into space,” Roberge said. “But because they can only detect heat, the search for chemicals in deep space using infrared technology is greatly hindered in cold interstellar space.” Super-hot shock waves are like fiery arrows in the sky when viewed through an infrared telescope, pointing out the origins and destination of chemicals throughout the universe, Roberge said.

“Our mathematical solution will help point astronomers in the right direction when they look at shock waves,” he said. “It lets them know what they should discover. We hope the actual space images developed in the coming months and years prove our calculations to be correct.”

“Now that we understand how fast and far these waves move in space, we can begin to understand how chemicals, including chemicals necessary for life, can be formed by shock waves and spread around the universe to form new stars, planets, and life,” Roberge said.

The research was funded by the New York Center for Studies on the Origins of Life, which was supported by a grant from NASA.

*
*
*
* Page 1 | 2 * < Back *
*
*
*
Subscribe/Unsubscribe to the
Rensselaer Research Review Bulletin
  Front Page | Back Issues    Spring 2008
*
* Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

Rensselaer Research Review
Copyright © 2007-08 Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
110 8th Street, Troy, NY 12180  (518) 276-6000  
http://www.rpi.edu