GLAST Observatory in Orbit

Jun 11, 2008
GLAST Spacecraft
The GLAST spacecraft and Delta II rocket leap off the launch pad. Photo credit: NASA TV

At 12:05 p.m. EDT, the Delta II rocket easily lifted the GLAST spacecraft off the launch pad, out of smoke and clouds and into a beautiful Florida sky headed for space.

The second firing of the second engine was confirmed as was successful spacecraft separation. Applause rippled through the launch control center as separation confirmation was received.

GLAST is now on its own, in a circular orbit 350 miles above the Earth, prepared to monitor the universe and the mysterious gamma-ray bursts.

GLAST is a powerful space observatory that will explore the most extreme environments in the universe, and search for signs of new laws of physics and what composes the mysterious dark matter, explain how black holes accelerate immense jets of material to nearly light speed, and help crack the mysteries of the staggeringly powerful explosions known as gamma-ray bursts.

With high sensitivity GLAST is the first imaging gamma-ray observatory to survey the entire sky every day. It will give scientists a unique opportunity to learn about the ever-changing universe at extreme energies. GLAST will detect thousands of gamma-ray sources, most of which will be supermassive black holes in the cores of distant galaxies.

"After a 60-day checkout and initial calibration period, we'll begin science operations," said Steve Ritz, GLAST project scientist at Goddard. "GLAST soon will be telling scientists about many new objects to study, and this information will be available on the internet for the world to see."

GLAST: Exploring the Extreme Universe

GLAST is a powerful space observatory that will open a wide window on the universe. Gamma rays are the highest-energy form of light, and the gamma-ray sky is spectacularly different from the one we perceive with our own eyes. With a huge leap in all key capabilities, GLAST data will enable scientists to answer persistent questions across a broad range of topics, including supermassive black-hole systems, pulsars, the origin of cosmic rays, and searches for signals of new physics.

The mission is an astrophysics and particle physics partnership, developed by NASA in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Energy, along with important contributions from academic institutions and partners in France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Sweden, and the U.S.

Source: NASA

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1 / 5 (2) Jun 11, 2008
I see that the GLAST telescope has been launched today.

How much time might be required before analysis of GLAST data might indicate proof or rejection of Hawking Radiation theory?

This could be critical in determining the safety of the Large Hadron Collider, due to begin collisions later this year.

Unlike what CERN tells the public, the Large Hadron Collider Safety Assessment Group (LSAG) writes that current safety arguments are not valid proof of safety. Micro black holes might be created by the Large Hadron Collider, they might not evaporate, they might grow quickly and we have not been damaged by cosmic rays because cosmic rays pass harmlessly through Earth. CERN also tells the public that a new safety report has been completed, but so far the final report has not been released for review by world%u2019s scientists.

The legal complaint before US Federal Court in Hawaii demands 4 months to review this safety report and a permanent injunction if safety can not be assured to within reasonable industry standards. First hearing is scheduled for June 16, 2008.

Learn more at
not rated yet Jun 11, 2008
And I assume that "reasonable industry standards" will ensure that earth is not devoured by a black hole?
4.5 / 5 (2) Jun 11, 2008
JTankers: Troll! FUD.

Congrats to the GLAST team!! I can't wait for some results.
2 / 5 (1) Jun 11, 2008
Although cosmic ray collisions are ALMOST the same as the LHC collisions, there is a key difference.

Any hypothetical nastiness (e.g. tiny black hole) produced by cosmic rays hitting the atmosphere is moving at nearly the speed of light, and hence passes too rapidly through the earth to cause trouble, while the LHC aims for symmetric collisions, where any hypothetical nastiness would be nearly stationary and could thus cause trouble (e.g., the end of the earth).

The solution is simple: make the LHC collisions asymmetric enough that whatever nastiness created (if any) is moving at a sizeable fraction of the
speed of light. This would make the charged and decaying collision fragments only marginally harder to study, and fact that the earth hasn't been swallowed by cosmic ray collision products would then ensure that it wouldn't be swallowed by the LHC collision products either.

Although this solution is PROBABLY not needed, it would be easier than arguing about whether probably is sufficient when discussing the fate of the whole earth.
not rated yet Jun 12, 2008
hmm, I suspect (but cannot prove) that if the generation of black holes from high energy collisions such as those being carried out in the LHC was a likely event, we would have observed it in the cosmos by now.
not rated yet Jun 12, 2008
gmurphy, theyre planning to do it on purpose. We already know it's possible. The black hole would be infintessimally small, and therefore only last about a trillionth of a second before evaporation, which occurs at an exponential rate for black holes smaller than the self- sustaining mass limit(however large that is)
Hopefully this math checks out though, becuse If it diddnt, youd see something strange on the horizon miliseconds before you were tore limb from limb by massive gravity differentials. if you were lucky enough, you might have time to damn those meddling scientists to hell for thier oversight. Nope, not much we could do against an accidental black hole, but I guess its a lot better than getting hit by a minivan.