BVU Professor Consults on NASA PDART Project

Related Media

Dr. Shawn Stone

STORM LAKE, IA (02/05/2018) (readMedia)-- Buena Vista University (BVU) Professor Dr. Shawn Stone has been invited to be a part of a grant out of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., in which he will contribute code for the Planetary Data Archiving, Restoration, and Tools (PDART) program.

Specifically, Stone, who is a professor of physics and computer science at BVU, will help calculate and verify the look direction of the Galileo spacecraft's Energetic Particle Detector (EPD) during the spacecraft's Jovian moon encounters.

Though the three-year project doesn't officially kick off until April, Stone developed software over BVU's January Interim that calculates the EPD look direction based on information provided by Galileo, including right ascension, declination, sector, and motor step position. The look directions will be packed with particle data from the EPD and provided to the Planetary Data System by the FTECS PPI Node ( Space scientists will use this data to analyze past and future moon encounters.

The opportunity stemmed from Stone's days as a graduate student at the University of Kansas, where he worked with the EPD group based at Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory. As part of his research there, Stone calculated where the EPD was pointing during Galileo encounters with the Jovian moon, Ganymede.

"I was very proud to be a part of the EPD team and I am very elated to be working on the data again," said Stone. "I forgot how exciting it was to apply my craft."

About Buena Vista University

Since 1891, Buena Vista University has prepared students for lifelong success and blends liberal arts with real-world applications. Our traditional campus on the shores of Storm Lake hosts students in a variety of majors and pre-professional programs, including elementary, secondary, and special education; business and accounting; and biological and chemical sciences. Our 16 degree-completion locations, online, and graduate programs expand student potential with a pace and academic rigor designed for working adults and a variety of class formats that make scheduling even more convenient. With an average scholarship of more than 50 percent off of tuition, BVU is an affordable option for all students. Visit