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This profile was last updated on 6/19/15  and contains information from public web pages and contributions from the ZoomInfo community.

Dr. Harlan E. Spence

Wrong Dr. Harlan E. Spence?


Phone: (603) ***-****  
Email: h***@***.edu
University of New Hampshire
105 Main Street
Durham , New Hampshire 03824
United States

Company Description: Established in 1988, the University of New Hampshire InterOperability Laboratory (UNH-IOL) is a non-profit organization delivering uncompromised and comprehensive...   more

Employment History

  • Principal Investigator
    University of New Hampshire
  • Principal Investigator for CRaTER
    Boston University
  • Professor of Astronomy
    Boston University
  • CRaTER Deputy Lead Scientist and Director
  • Principal Investigator
  • Chairman, Professor
    Boston University Department of Astronomy
  • Professor of Astronomy
    Boston University Department of Astronomy
  • Principal Investigator
    Cosmic Ray Telescope for the Effects of Radiation
  • Principal Investigator On the Cosmic Ray Telescope
    Effects of Radiation
  • Chairman, Professor
    Center for Space Physics

Board Memberships and Affiliations

  • Board Member
    UNH Institute for the Study of Earth , Oceans and Space
  • Director
92 Total References
Web References
C. Smith, S. Smith, and H. ..., 19 June 2015 [cached]
C. Smith, S. Smith, and H. E. Spence: University of New Hampshire, Space Science Center, Durham, NH, USA;
"Energetic electrons in the Van Allen ..., 25 July 2013 [cached]
"Energetic electrons in the Van Allen radiation belts have been implicated in past satellite failures and so they are often referred to as 'killer electrons'," says UNH astrophysicist Harlan Spence, co-author on the Science paper and principal investigator on the Energetic Particle, Composition, and Thermal Plasma (ECT) instrument suite on board the twin Van Allen Probe spacecraft that made the precision particle measurements.
Adds Spence, "A 50-year mystery of the radiation belts is, where, when and how these electrons are energized.
"We care about this because the ... [cached]
"We care about this because the belts' high-energy particles, particularly the electrons, pose a real risk to spacecraft," says Harlan Spence, UNH principal investigator for the FIREBIRD II mission. "So if we understand these physical processes better, we'll be able to predict how the radiation belts will behave and both protect the satellites we depend upon for telecommunications, weather monitoring and prediction, etcetera, and design them to withstand this high-energy radiation."
FIREBIRD II is a follow-on to the inaugural 2013 FIREBIRD mission, which according to Spence provided the best quality microburst data of its kind to date "despite the size of the spacecraft."
With improvements made in the wake of the first mission, including more robust software and power systems, FIREBIRD II is anticipated to provide the very first characterization of the spatial scale of microbursts, without which scientists won't fully understand the global consequences of the loss of energetic particles to Earth's atmosphere.
Moreover, greatly expanding the science, other measurements will be made in the radiation belt environment by separate missions occurring in tandem with FIREBIRD II, including NASA's Van Allen Probes mission, on which Spence is a principal investigator, and NASA's upcoming Magnetospheric Multiscale mission that will carry critical, UNH-built components.
Says Spence, "We are starting to look in the key energy range of interest between what we see with the FIREBIRD nanosatellites and what we see with the Van Allen Probes, and from those comparisons we can start learning about the physics of how particles are lost from the radiation belts to the atmosphere."
"The acceleration we first reported ..., 4 Dec 2013 [cached]
"The acceleration we first reported operates on the scale size of an electron's gyromotion-it is a really local process, maybe only a few hundred meters in size," notes Harlan Spence, director of the UNH Institute for the Study of Earth, Oceans, and Space, principal scientist for the ECT, and coauthor on the Nature Communications paper.
"Now we're seeing this large-scale, global motion involving ultra low-frequency waves pulsing through Earth's magnetosphere and operating across vast distances up to hundreds of thousands of kilometers. And, Spence adds, in all likelihood both processes are occurring simultaneously to accelerate particles to relativistic speeds.
Understanding the complex dynamics of the particle acceleration will help scientists make better predictions of space weather conditions and, thus, offer better protections to orbiting satellites crucial to modern-day society.
Having twin spacecraft making simultaneous measurements in different regions of nearby space is a key part of the mission as it allows the scientists to look at data separated in both space and time.
"With the Van Allen Probes, I like to think there's no place for these particles to hide because each spacecraft is spinning and 'glimpses' the entire sky with its detector 'eyes', so we're essentially getting a 360-degree view in terms of direction, position, energy, and time," Spence says.
Says Spence, "What we hope for are those serendipitous occasions when nature has accentuated one process above all others, which allows the spacecraft to really see what's going on.
LRO to Help Astronauts Survive in Infinity | .: The Lunar Explorers Society :., 16 April 2009 [cached]
"CRaTER will quantify radiation risks to astronauts from cosmic rays, a missing measurement needed to reduce risks to explorers not only at the moon, but also throughout the local cosmos when humanity eventually ventures beyond our nearest neighbor," said Professor Harlan Spence, Principal Investigator for CRaTER at Boston University.
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