VBAS Calendar

April 2017
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Monte Sano State Park


Monthly Society Meeting

The next VBAS Monthly Meeting is Friday, April 21 at 7:30 PM. Join us for pizza at 7:00 PM.

Our speaker for this month's meeting will be Dr. Jessica Gaskin of the NASA Marshall Spaceflight Center Astronomy Group and the title of her presentation is:

The Lynx X-ray Mission Concept: The 2030 Challenge


Lynx is the next great X-ray observatory. Following on the heels of the Great Chandra X-ray Observatory (http://chandra.harvard.edu/), Lynx will have orders of magnitude improvement in sensitivity and will bring unprecedented spectroscopic capability to the table. Lynx will allow astronomers to gain a fundamental understanding of the formation and evolution of galaxies, the creation and local interactions of the first black holes (black hole seeds), the evolution of the cosmic structure, and the stars that make up our universe. Lynx is currently in its concept phase and will be one of a few mission concepts presented to the 2020 Astrophysics Decadal Survey Committee for prioritization. The Lynx concept development is led by the NASA HQ appointed Lynx Science and Technology Definition Team (STDT) who is tasked with developing a comprehensive science case and mission concept, with a launch in the 2030s. The Lynx STDT is supported by the NASA Marshall Space Flight Center Study Office in partnership with the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory.


Dr. Gaskin currently works in the NASA MSFC Astronomy Group and is the HQ-appointed Study-Scientist for the Lynx (formerly X-Ray Surveyor) Large Mission Concept Study. Dr. Gaskin is responsible for supporting the concept development and acts as an interface between the community, HQ, Program Office, and the STDT. The majority of Dr. Gaskin’s career, over a decade, has been in the design, development, and implementation of instrumentation for high-energy astrophysics for both large- and small-scale payloads. She is currently PI for the High Energy Replicated Optics to Explore the Sun (HEROES) payload and for the development of a miniaturized scanning electron microscope for Mars. Dr. Gaskin is Associate Editor for the Journal of Astronomical Instrumentation (JAI), World Scientific, and a member of NASA Balloon Working Group to advise HQ on the program. She actively participates on NASA review panels and enjoys supporting NASA-community service efforts. In addition, Dr. Gaskin enjoys mentoring students of every age. She has overseen numerous NASA Academy and Robotics Academy students, mentored an Undergraduate Research Instrument Program (USIP) team, and has volunteered her time as Science Olympiad and Science Fair judge. Dr. Gaskin is and has been advisor to multiple Ph.D. students and has spoken at middle schools and to large groups of students, often with a focus on women in STEM fields.

Tom Burleson, Jr.


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