SESDA Assists Lava Tube Modeling

June 30, 2022

Screenshot of NASA Expeditions tweet. Text: Welcome to Golden Dome! Like most caves here at Lava Beds National Monument, this one follows the path of an ancient lava flow. Over time, some parts of the underground tunnel have collapsed, creating entrances like this one.

In support of NASA’s Goddard Instrument Field Team (GIFT), SESDA’s Caela Barry acted as the logistics and public engagement lead during a May field trip to California’s Medicine Lake Volcano and Lava Beds National Monument. While there, the team used instrumentation such as magnetometers, LIDAR, and ground penetrating radar to locate, map, and characterize several lava tubes. The results of their measurements will serve as baseline processes and terrestrial analogs for similar Lunar and Martian volcanic terrains. During the trip, Caela posted the team’s activities and progress on the @NASAExpeditions (Twitter) and @NASAEarth (Instagram) accounts, with each account receiving hundreds of thousands of impressions. While at the site, Caela also distributed outreach materials and hosted interactive presentations for the park’s rangers and visitors.

SESDA Team Investigates Betelgeuse Surface Mass Ejection

June 14, 2022

STEREO Ahead Contributes to Study of Historic Betelgeuse Dimming

The Astrophysical Journal has accepted for publication the paper, “The Great Dimming of Betelgeuse: A Surface Mass Ejection (SME) and its Consequences” by Dupree et al. The paper analyzed special data taken by the SESDA team using the SECCHI/HI-2 telescope on STEREO Ahead, taking advantage of the spacecraft’s unique position, and rolling by 180°, to observe Betelgeuse when it could not easily be observed from Earth. The paper concludes that a substantial surface mass ejection (SME) occurred and moved out through the extended atmosphere of the supergiant. Following the SME, Betelgeuse was left with a cooler average photosphere, an unusual short photometric oscillation, reduced velocity excursions, and the disappearance of the ~400-day pulsation in the optical and radial velocity for more than two years following the Great Dimming. The first indication that Betelgeuse was affected by the SME was provided by the SECCHI observations.

SESDA Supports Successful Rocket Launch From Norway

June 3, 2022

Endurance rocket launch

Congratulations to NASA/GSFC and its partners on the successful launch of the Endurance suborbital rocket on May 10, 2022 at from Ny-Ålesund in Svalbard, Norway. Despite numerous challenges that included blizzard weather conditions, delayed shipments of essential flight hardware, a snow mobile accident, and an extensive COVID-19 outbreak at the launch base, the team bravely persevered with resolving last minute technical problems in time for a narrow launch window of low solar and geomagnetic activity. SESDA instrument engineers provided critical support to the development, integration, and testing of the E-field booms and Dual Electrostatic Analyzers (DESA) which are vital to achieving the mission’s primary goal of measuring the Earth’s weak global electric potential.

Using AI/ML to Discover Comets

April 22, 2022

SESDA staff has supported operations of SOHO’s Large Angle and Spectrometric Coronagraph (LASCO) for over 25 years. One of the primary objectives of this instrument is to image the solar corona to study phenomena such as Coronal Mass Ejections (CME’s). A remarkable and unintended by-product of LASCO has been the discovery of over 4000 sungrazing comets through NASA’s Sungrazer Citizen Science Program conducted jointly with the Naval Research Laboratory (NRL). In 2022, this program partnered with NASA’s Open-Source Science Initiative in a data challenge to develop artificial intelligence/machine learning (AI/ML) tools to automate the identification and tracking of faint comets that approach the Sun. This challenge has already reaped benefits by enabling the discovery of two previously undetected comets from 2005 and 2016.

HECN Team Demonstrates High-Speed Networking at SC21

January 31, 2022

At the SuperComputing 2021 (SC21) event, the SESDA HECN team demonstrated the use of NVMe over Fabric over TCP (NVMe-OF/TCP) technology across a 400-GigE wide-area network (WAN) infrastructure using 200-GigE Mellanox NICs, NVMe SSD drives, and PCIe Gen4 x16 slots in the demo servers.
The new NVMe-OF/TCP technology is now fully supported by recent Linux kernels which allowed showcasing very high performance disk-to-memory network data transfers between a pair of high performance 4×200-GigE SuperMicro AMD EPYC NVMe servers in the MAX Suite that was routed across the 400-GigE ESnet/Internet2 WAN path to the StarLight Booth at SC21 and then looped to the MAX Suite. An aggregate throughput of 24.35 GB/s (194.8 Gigabits per second (Gbps)) was achieved with 64 parallel reads across 16 NVMe drives, with only a moderate level of system CPU utilization on the server. When looping the traffic at StarLight instead of SC21, which reduced the RTT from 19.7 ms to 14.7 ms, aggregate throughput of 25.11 GB/s (200.9 Gbps) was achieved. On purely local transfers between the two servers, an aggregate throughput of 44.53 GB/s (356.2 Gbps) was reached.

ADNET Supports JWST Launch Activities

December 21, 2021

Since October 2021 ADNET staff has supported James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) launch activities in the Goddard Space Flight Center Building 28 atrium including setting up a broadcasting stage with networking for live shows, interviews and a series of major television and social media events. The L-6 Webb Press Conference was carried live on NASA-TV Thursday, December 16 between 11 AM and Noon ET and featured live video connections with the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore and a location near the JWST launch site in Kourou. NASA Administrator Bill Nelson was on the set along with other Webb officials.

SESDA Supports Another Successful Sounding Rocket Launch

August 30, 2021

Congratulations to the NASA GSFC and Wallops Flight Facility (WFF) teams on successful launches of two Black Brant suborbital sounding rockets on July 7 and 11, 2021. The twin rockets (named Dynamo-2) deployed identical latest technology payloads designed to measure DC electric fields, plasma density, currents, neutral winds, neutral density and temperature, and ion mass distributions. SESDA hardware and software engineers played vital roles in supporting the mechanical design, fabrication, assembly, integration and test (I&T) of the onboard instruments, and developing a ground-based magnetometer to monitor ionospheric dynamo region conditions.

SESDA Supports a Successful Sounding Rocket Launch

May 21, 2021

Image Credit: NASA Wallops/Terry Zaperach

Congratulations to the NASA GSFC and Wallops Flight Facility (WFF) teams on the successful launch of a Black Brant XII suborbital sounding rocket at 8:44 p.m. EDT on May 16, 2021. The rocket was launched from WFF and carried the KiNETic eXperiment (KiNet-X) which aims to study how energy and momentum are transported between different regions of space that are magnetically connected. SESDA hardware and software engineers played critical roles in supporting the mechanical design, fabrication, assembly, integration and test (I&T) of the onboard instruments, and developing decommutation software to read and decode the instrument telemetry stream.

SESDA Supports Mars Landing

April 5, 2021

The NASA audio program, based at Goddard, and led by SESDA staff (Katie Atkinson, lead) supported communications efforts for the Mars Perseverance landing in February. Staff worked with NASA HQ and Jet Propulsion Laboratory communications teams to plan, produce, and release a “Sounds of Mars” episode for the enterprise podcast, NASA’s Curious Universe. With this release, NASA debuted the first audio recording from Mars via NASA’s audio platforms. It is the first time recorded sounds from Mars were featured on any podcast.

The episode released in tandem with the Feb. 22 Mars Perseverance press conference from JPL, and featured the voices of Jim Green (NASA Chief Scientist), David Gruel (Perseverance EDL Camera Lead), and Erisa Stilley (Perseverance Systems Engineer). The final “Sounds of Mars” episode was featured on the front page on the Apple Podcasts page and garnered over 150k plays on Soundcloud in a week, breaking the record for most plays of a NASA podcast episode on

Additionally, throughout the month of March, NASA’s SoundCloud page received 5,000,000 listens and saw a surge in subscribers to the page. NASA’s SoundCloud now has 145k followers.”

Applying Machine Learning (ML) to Space Weather Prediction

A coronal mass ejection erupting from the Sun (left) and the resulting solar storm colliding with Earth’s protective magnetic field, the magnetosphere (right). Credit: NASA Goddard Space Flight Center.

NASA scientists and University partners are applying Machine Learning (ML) techniques to study the internal structure of interplanetary coronal mass ejections (ICMEs). With the support of SESDA software developers, they are using neural networks to connect simulations and observed magnetic clouds to understand and predict the internal magnetic structure of interplanetary coronal mass ejections which is a crucial step towards improving space weather forecast capability.