Faculty, Staff & Students
Professor/Associate Head for Undergraduate Affairs/Chief Advisor
- Radar Remote Sensing
- Atmospheric Winds Waves and Turbulence
- Mid-latitude Field Aligned Irregularities and Meteor Trails
- Ionospheric Plasma Instabilities and Equatorial Electrodynamics
- Ionospheric Propagation and Sounding Techniques
- Incoherent Scatter Radar Theory and Measurements
- Solar-terrestrial remote sensing and imaging
- Image and multi-dimensional signal processing
- Image reconstruction and tomography
- Ionospheric and space physics
- Inverse problems
- Sensor array processing
Jonathan J. Makela
Prof. Makela's research interests lie in multi-technique remote sensing of the Earth's ionosphere. He works with ground- and satellite-based instrumentation to study both the quiet-time and storm-time behavior of this region at low- and mid-latitudes. To accomplish this, he develops, tests, and deploys suites of sensors to sites around the world. These instruments include portable imaging systems, Global Positioning System (GPS) receivers, and Fabry-Perot interferometers.
Prof. Waldrop's primary research interest is to understand and predict temporal and spatial variations of the terrestrial upper atmosphere and space environment which arise in response to periodic climatological conditions, secular evolution, and impulsive storm-like events. This goal demands global, routine, and long-term availability of quantitative estimates of fundamental atmospheric parameters such as density, composition, temperature, and bulk motion. Her current research aims to develop a portable and cost-efficient ground-based platform capable of remotely sensing these key upper atmospheric state parameters for subsequent assimilation into predictive models. Her experimental research combines both active and passive optical and near-IR remote sensing as well as incoherent scatter radar measurements of the coupled neutral and ionized constituents in the upper atmosphere in order to develop reliable state parameter estimation techniques. The resulting parameter estimates help address key questions regarding energy and momentum transfer within the solar-terrestrial system.
Patricia M. Franke
- Atmospheric Dynamics - study the dynamics and thermodynamics of the upper atmosphere through data analysis of radar and lidar data, and through the numerical simulations of different types of flow.
- Radar and optical remote sensing of the upper atmosphere.
Space Weather impacts numerous facets of everyday life and can have detrimental effects on engineering infrastructure, such as the power grid, satellites, navigation systems, avionics, air travel, telecommunications and more. Therefore space weather prediction is critical to forewarning of solar events that could generate severe space weather at Earth.
My research addresses this need for predictive capabilities by developing and improving high-performance, first-principles computational models to describe and predict the hazardous conditions in the near Earth space leading to geomagnetic storms. I employ a combination of global, multi-physics, large-scale numerical models together with measurements from space borne instruments and ground based stations to study the dynamics of plasmas and electromagnetic fields in the geospace environment. These include three-dimensional global magnetohydrodynamics (MHD) magnetospheric modeling, kinetic drift physics simulations as well as data analysis and interpretation from the TWINS, Cluster, NOAA-POES, THEMIS, Van Allen Probes spacecrafts.
Steven J. Franke
- Development and application of radar and signal processing techniques for remote sensing in the middle and upper atmosphere.
- Application of tomographic imaging to the middle and upper atmosphere using arrays of ground-based sensors and low-earth orbit satellites.
- Low power wireless RF communications.
- High efficiency linear power amplifiers for RF communications and radar applications.
RSSS Emeritus Faculty
Chester S. Gardner
Dr. Gardner’s scientific and engineering research has concentrated on optical communications, adaptive imaging, and laser remote sensing (lidar). This work has included the development of novel new techniques and instruments, as well as important scientific studies of atmospheric dynamics, chemistry, and climate change. Dr. Gardner was a member of the NASA Science Team that designed the Lidar-In-Space Technology Experiment, which flew successfully as the prime payload aboard the Space Shuttle Discovery in September 1994 (STS-64, Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, 1993). He and his students were the first to create an artificial laser guide star in the upper atmosphere for adaptive imaging applications in astronomy (Nature, 1987), and they made the first measurements of temperatures and mesospheric clouds in the upper atmosphere over the North and South Poles, using an airborne Fe lidar (Geophysical Research Letters, 2001). Dr. Gardner is a Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers, the Optical Society of America, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
Gary R. Swenson
Prof. Swensons' current research is the development of upper atmospheric research tools, including lidar, imaging, and interferometry. Application of these tools to measurements of upper atmospheric dynamics and chemistry from ground, aircraft, and spacecraft platforms. Spacecraft investigations of Earth and Mars atmospheres are in development and planning.