Posts tagged space
CU-Boulder to receive $36 million
The University of Colorado Boulder will receive roughly $36 million from NASA to build and operate a space instrument for a mission led by the University of Central Florida that will study Earth’s upper atmosphere to learn more about the disruptive effects of space weather.
The mission, known as the Global-scale Observations of the Limb and Disk, or GOLD, involves imaging Earth’s upper atmosphere from a geostationary orbit some 22,000 miles above the planet. The mission is expected to have a direct impact on the understanding of space weather like geomagnetic storms that alter the temperature and composition of Earth’s atmosphere, which can disrupt communication and navigation satellites, affecting everything from automobile GPS and cell phone coverage to television programming.
The GOLD mission, which is being led by research scientist Richard Eastes of the University of Central Florida, will launch aboard a commercial communications satellite as a “hosted” payload. Such payloads, which are secondary to the satellite’s main objective, represent the most cost-effective way to reach geostationary orbit, said CU-Boulder aerospace engineer Mark Lankton of the Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics, the GOLD project manager.
“LASP is extremely pleased to be working on this mission with Richard Eastes at the University of Central Florida, who we have been collaborating with for seven years,” said Lankton. “This mission is one of the first to involve a science instrument being launched on a communication satellite, which is a terrific idea and exactly the right way to run a quality mission on a smaller budget.”
The LASP instrument, known as an imaging spectrograph, weighs roughly 60 pounds and is about 2 feet long and about 1 foot tall and 1 foot wide – roughly the size of a microwave oven. It will launch aboard a commercial satellite built by SES Government Solutions in McLean, Va. The LASP instrument will be gathering data on Earth’s upper atmosphere in the far ultraviolet portion of the electromagnetic spectrum.
“GOLD’s imaging represents a new paradigm for observing the boundary between Earth and space,” said Bill McClintock, the deputy principal investigator on the CU-Boulder spectrograph and a senior research scientist at LASP. “It will revolutionize our understanding of how the sun and the space environment affect our upper atmosphere.”
A geosynchronous orbit is an orbit that completes one revolution in the same amount of time it takes for the Earth to rotate once on its polar axis. “We will be able to view almost a complete hemisphere of the Earth, almost all the time, with this orbit,” said Lankton.
The mission scientists will be looking for the effects of space weather on the upper atmosphere — the ionosphere and thermosphere located roughly 50 miles to 350 miles above Earth – caused by the sun and Earth’s lower atmosphere, said Lankton. “The giant driver is the sun, including geomagnetic storms that can cause bright auroras and the disruption of satellite communications,” he said.
Lankton said the science team also will investigate the effects that atmospheric waves and tides from Earth’s lower atmosphere have on the thermosphere-ionosphere system. The mission will make use of other instruments gathering data on the sun, including LASP’s $42 million Extreme Ultraviolet Variability Experiment flying on NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory.
Roughly 40 LASP researchers will be working on the GOLD mission when it is at full strength, including five to 10 students, split about evenly between undergraduates and graduates, said Lankton. Other participants in the GOLD mission include the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, the University of California, Berkeley, Computational Physics Inc. of Springfield, Va., and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
The GOLD mission is part of NASA’s new Heliospheric Explorer Program designed to provide space observations to study Earth’s ionosphere and thermosphere. The mission is slated for launch in 2017. NASA Explorer missions of opportunity, such as GOLD, are capped at $55 million each.
by CU media relations
Temporary lane closures for tree removals along Arapahoe Avenue rescheduled for Monday, April 15
With a winter storm warning in effect for Boulder, the tree removal work that was planned for Tuesday, April 9, and Friday, April 12, has been rescheduled to April 15 due to the inclement weather forecast.
On Monday, April 15, there will be intermittent lane closures in both directions on Arapahoe Avenue between 18th and 19th streets from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Contractors working for the City of Boulder Urban Forestry Division will be removing three high-risk trees in preparation for the upcoming Arapahoe Avenue Reconstruction project. The two-lane section of Arapahoe Avenue, between Folsom and 17th streets, is in poor condition and in need of a reconstruction.
During the tree removals, traffic will be directed into the center lane. The work schedule is weather-dependent.
In the 1800 block of Arapahoe Avenue, two silver maple trees with significant trunk cavities and restricted root zones will be removed for safety reasons. In the 2100 block, a Siberian elm will be removed due to past storm damage. These are the only large trees planned for removal as part of the Arapahoe Avenue Reconstruction. The city has contacted adjacent property owners in advance and will explore opportunities to plant replacement trees.
The city’s Urban Forestry Division inspects street trees in neighborhoods and parks for structural integrity and safety using industry-set standards and techniques. For more information about the tree removals, contact Patrick Bohin with the Urban Forestry Division at 303-519-8750 or watch the video at vimeo.com/63247248.
The Arapahoe Avenue Reconstruction project includes reconstruction of the street into concrete, storm drainage improvements, and sidewalk, bus stop, and landscaping improvements, as space and funding allow.The reconstruction is planned to begin in late May 2013 and will be completed in fall 2013. The project is funded by the 2011 voter-approved Capital Improvement Bond, which allowed the city to leverage existing revenues to bond for approximately $49 million to fund projects that address significant deficiencies, such as this one, and high priority infrastructure improvements. A community stakeholder committee prioritized projects to be funded by the bond and Arapahoe improvements were given a high priority due to current deteriorating conditions.
For more information about the Arapahoe Avenue Reconstruction project, contact Noreen Walsh at 303-441-3266 or visit www.bouldertransportation.net > “Projects & Programs” > “Arapahoe Avenue.”
900 Prairie dogs slated for move
A public meeting is scheduled to discuss a city proposal to relocate up to 900 prairie dogs from city-owned land around Foothills Community Park and from additional open space colonies to city open space land east of Highway 93, south of Coal Creek, and north of Highway 128, south of Boulder. This number has been scaled back to reflect on-the-ground and projected drought conditions. The meeting will be held at 6:30 p.m., Tuesday, April 9, in the Foothills Elementary School Cafeteria, 1001 Hawthorn Ave. Staff from the city will be available to answer any questions, and to receive comments and feedback.
The city is intending to apply for a State of Colorado permit to relocate the prairie dogs from these areas, which are designated as removal areas in the Urban Wildlife Management Plan and the Grassland Ecosystem Management Plan.
The proposed receiving site was previously the site of an extensive 155-acre prairie dog colony that has since died off. The prairie dogs are being removed from multiple city sites with the dogs near Foothills Community Park being moved first.
CITY OF BOULDER PRESS RELEASE– FOR THOSE TOO IGNORANT TO KNOW HOW THE BUSINESS WORKS
Astronomers targeting one of the brightest quasars glowing in the universe some 11 billion years ago say “sideline quasars” likely teamed up with it to heat abundant helium gas billions of years ago, preventing small galaxy formation.
CU-Boulder Professor Michael Shull and Research Associate David Syphers used the Hubble Space Telescope to look at the quasar — the brilliant core of an active galaxy that acted as a “lighthouse” for the observations — to better understand the conditions of the early universe. The scientists studied gaseous material between the telescope and the quasar with a $70 million ultraviolet spectrograph on Hubble designed by a team from CU-Boulder’s Center for Astrophysics and Space Astronomy.
During a time known as the “helium reionization era” some 11 billion years ago, blasts of ionizing radiation from black holes believed to be seated in the cores of quasars stripped electrons from primeval helium atoms, said Shull. The initial ionization that charged up the helium gas in the universe is thought to have occurred sometime shortly after the Big Bang.
“We think ‘sideline quasars’ located out of the telescope’s view reionized intergalactic helium gas from different directions, preventing it from gravitationally collapsing and forming new generations of stars,” he said. Shull likened the early universe to a hunk of Swiss cheese, where quasars cleared out zones of neutral helium gas in the intergalactic medium that were then “pierced” by UV observations from the space telescope.
The results of the new study also indicate the helium reionization era of the universe appears to have occurred later than thought, said Shull, a professor in CU-Boulder’s astrophysical and planetary sciences department. “We initially thought the helium reionization era took place about 12 billion years ago,” said Shull. “But now we think it more likely occurred in the 11 to 10 billion-year range, which was a surprise.”
A paper on the subject by Shull and Syphers was published online this week in the Astrophysical Journal.
The Cosmic Origins Spectrograph used for the quasar observations aboard Hubble was designed to probe the evolution of galaxies, stars and intergalactic matter. The COS team is led by CU Professor James Green of CASA and was installed on Hubble by astronauts during its final servicing mission in 2009. COS was built in an industrial partnership between CU and Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp. of Boulder.
“While there are likely hundreds of millions of quasars in the universe, there are only a handful you can use for a study like this,” said Shull. Quasars are nuclei in the center of active galaxies that have “gone haywire” because of supermassive black holes that gorged themselves in the cores, he said. “For our purposes, they are just a really bright background light that allows us to see to the edge of the universe, like a headlight shining through fog.”
The universe is thought to have begun with the Big Bang that triggered a fireball of searing plasma that expanded and then become cool neutral gas at about 380,000 years, bringing on the “dark ages” when there was no light from stars or galaxies, said Shull. The dark ages were followed by a period of hydrogen reionization, then the formation of the first galaxies beginning about 13.5 billion years ago. The first galaxies era was followed by the rise of quasars some 2 billion years later, which led to the helium reionization era, he said.
The radiation from the huge quasars heated the gas to 20,000 to 40,000 degrees Fahrenheit in intergalactic realms of the early universe, said Shull. “It is important to understand that if the helium gas is heated during the epoch of galaxy formation, it makes it harder for proto-galaxies to hang on to the bulk of their gas. In a sense, it’s like intergalactic global warming.”
The team is using COS to probe the “fossil record” of gases in the universe, including a structure known as the “cosmic web” believed to be made of long, narrow filaments of galaxies and intergalactic gas separated by enormous voids. Scientists theorize that a single cosmic web filament may stretch for hundreds of millions of light years, an eye-popping number considering that a single light-year is about 5.9 trillion miles.
COS breaks light into its individual components — similar to the way raindrops break sunlight into the colors of the rainbow — and reveals information about the temperature, density, velocity, distance and chemical composition of galaxies, stars and gas clouds.
For the study, Shull and Syphers used 4.5 hours of data from Hubble observations of the quasar, which has a catalog name of HS1700+6416. While some astronomers define quasars as feeding black holes, “We don’t know if these objects feed once, or feed several times,” Shull said. They are thought to survive only a few million years or perhaps a few hundred million years, a brief blink in time compared to the age of the universe, he said.
“Our own Milky Way has a dormant black hole in its center,” said Shull. “Who knows? Maybe our Milky Way used to be a quasar.”
The first quasar, short for “quasi-stellar radio source,” was discovered 50 years ago this month by Caltech astronomer Maarten Schmidt. The quasar he observed, 3C-273, is located roughly 2 billion years from Earth and is 40 times more luminous than an entire galaxy of 100 billion stars. That quasar is receding from Earth at 15 percent of the speed of light, with related winds blowing millions of miles per hour, said Shull.
City Manager Jane S. Brautigam has approved a flexible rebate application for Boulder-based Gnip for up to $45,000 in rebates. The rebates were authorized for sales and use taxes, and permit-related fees.
“Gnip is a fast-growing company in Boulder’s thriving downtown and high-tech communities,” Brautigam said. “The city is very pleased that it can support Gnip’s expansion so it can grow as an industry leader, delivering three billion social media activities per day.”
The flexible rebate program is one of the city’s business incentives, covering a wide range of fees, equipment and construction use taxes. Under this program, the city manager may consider a specific incentive package for tax and fee rebates to meet a company’s specific needs. The company is then eligible for the rebate after it has made its investment and paid the taxes or fees to the city.
Gnip is the largest provider of social data in the world, partnering with Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, and WordPress, among others, to aggregate social media data and information for their clients. Founded in 2008, the company has emerged as a leader in the social media industry. With 50 employees, Gnip recently expanded into a new space at 1050 Walnut, Suite 115, to maintain its presence in downtown Boulder. In addition, Gnip was named “best place to work” by both the Boulder Chamber and the Denver Business Journal.
“We’re excited to be a based in Boulder and we think our growth is facilitated by the many advantages offered by the City of Boulder”, said Gnip CEO Jud Valeski. “We think Boulder offers the world’s best place to work and live.”
The flexible rebate program uses social, community, and environmental sustainability guidelines. Companies choose the guidelines that best fit their circumstances, but must meet minimum requirements in order to receive the rebate. Gnip has exceeded the requirements and, of note, the company has initiated the Gnip Gives Back program. This program coordinates charitable giving and organizes group service opportunities for the company to participate in. Gnip also offers Eco Passes, Boulder B-Cycle memberships, and annual City of Boulder Recreation passes to their employees and is located in a LEED Gold certified building.
Gnip’s application is approved as part of the 2012 flexible rebate program; one application is still pending. The city’s approved 2012 budget includes $350,000 in funding for 2012 flexible tax and fee rebates for primary employers.
We have met several times over the years. I am the city’s Economic Vitality Coordinator and I oversee the city’s flexible rebate business incentive program. The program is designed for primary employers (defined as Boulder companies that bring in over 50% of their revenues from outside Boulder County); it is not available to retail stores. Two return on investment analyses (ROI) are done for each rebate application, one that considers all local employees and one that considers only those employees who live in Boulder. Economic impacts such as company spending on catering, hotels, local purchases, and restaurants are considered, as is employee spending at restaurants and retail stores. This was an important factor for Gnip, as a downtown employer.
I would be happy to speak with you by phone or meet with you to explain the program further. The flexible rebate program is in its seventh year and has had a good track record of investing in companies that are investing in Boulder. Please note that, as a rebate program, no company receives city funds unless they have made a capital and/or facility investment and have submitted receipts for the tax/fee payments.
Community invited to open-house meeting to learn more about upcoming Arapahoe Avenue Reconstruction project for much needed repairs
The City of Boulder invites the community to an open-house meeting for the upcoming Arapahoe Avenue Reconstruction project on Monday, Feb. 25, from 5 to 6:30 p.m. in the Creekside Room at the West Senior Center, 909 Arapahoe Ave. Please attend the meeting to learn more about the proposed transportation improvements and the anticipated construction timeline, traffic impacts, and detours associated with the project.
Arapahoe Avenue, between Folsom Street and approximately 17th Street, is in poor condition and in need of a reconstruction. The proposed improvements include:
• reconstructing Arapahoe Avenue into concrete between Folsom and 17th streets, and potentially
continuing to 15th Street, as funding allows;
• reconstructing deteriorated sidewalks and driveways, installing ADA-compliant curb ramps, and
widening sidewalks, where space allows;
• extension of the student-drop off area and multi-use path on the south side of Arapahoe Avenue
along the Boulder High School property;
• improving underground utilities and installing storm sewers; and
• improving urban design, landscaping and transit stops, as funding allows.
The reconstruction is planned to begin in late May 2013 and will be completed in fall 2013. The project is funded by the 2011 voter-approved Capital Improvement Bond, which allowed the city to leverage existing revenues to bond for approximately $49 million to fund projects that address significant deficiencies, such as this one, and high priority infrastructure improvements.
If you cannot attend the public meeting, but would like to view the meeting information and stay informed about the project, visit www.bouldertransportation.net > “Projects & Programs” > “Arapahoe Avenue.” For more information, please contact Noreen Walsh at 303-441-3266.
University of Colorado Boulder Chancellor Philip P. DiStefano, Athletic Director Mike Bohn and new head football coach Mike MacIntyre today unveiled a $170 million, multi-year proposal to upgrade CU-Boulder’s football facilities before the Intercollegiate Athletics subcommittee of the CU Board of Regents at the board’s monthly meeting in Colorado Springs.
CU will rely on $50 million in private support to execute the project, and a significant effort to raise funds from donors will now begin to support it. In addition, other athletic revenue sources will be used to finance this major initiative.
“This plan represents a carefully conceived, strategic investment in our future in the Pac-12 Conference,” said Bohn. “It will position us to attract the best student-athletes in the nation. It will improve the performance of our student-athletes on the field and in the classroom, and it will enhance our fan experience.”
The first element will consist of a new academic center that will boost student-athletes’ already substantial progress in the classroom. The new facility will provide focus for student-athletes by moving study areas to a new complex beneath the east stands, away from the distractions of the Dal Ward Athletic Center. Additionally, as part of the project’s first element, the north side of Folsom Field’s east stands will be supported against the shifting ground beneath it, improving safety for fans and visitors.
The second element will significantly expand Dal Ward to consolidate football operations, bring coaches and student-athletes from a number of sports together, and provide more physical resources for all in one unified space.
The third element of the plan establishes a permanent indoor practice facility adjacent to outdoor practice fields north of Boulder Creek, creating a year-round practice complex, easing traffic congestion off of Arapahoe Avenue with new streets and transportation enhancements, and forming a new plaza-like entrance to campus from the north.
The plan also includes a study to redevelop family housing that now sits west of Folsom Street and south of Arapahoe. The university has for several years been re-envisioning the possibilities of a more modern family housing complex with greater appeal for residents and greater density to make more efficient use of space.
The final element of the football athletics redevelopment project includes redevelopment of the Folsom Field west-side stands.
Future enhancements not included in the initial cost estimate are planned at the Coors Events Center to further improve the student-athlete and fan experience there.
DiStefano heralded the plan, saying it “balances equally our commitment to the academic success of our student-athletes, the comfort and safety of our fans and the long-term success of our combined coaching staffs.”
“This affirms our institutional values, and positions us well as we move ahead in the finest conference in the country,” DiStefano added.
CU President Bruce Benson said the project marks a bold new era of partnership with donors, alumni, fans and stakeholders.
“Intercollegiate athletics is the front porch of the university,” said Benson. “This plan will help bring people from across Colorado and around the country together in support of CU, and it will challenge all of us as donors, alumni and fans to work together to make this vision a reality.”
MacIntyre said the support from every level of the university – from fans and donors to the athletic director, the chancellor and the president – was gratifying to him and to CU’s other coaches and players.
“This is a strong commitment to success by the president, the chancellor and the university as a whole,” said MacIntyre. “These facilities will represent to our current and future players the dual commitments to excellence, and to be successful year-in and year-out, at the University of Colorado. The entire university community wants to sustain excellence in everything we do, and at the same time, keep moving forward. This commitment represents both of these desires.”
When a sun-gazing NASA satellite designed and built by the University of Colorado Boulder launched into space on Jan. 25, 2003, solar storms were raging.
A decade later, the four instruments onboard the Solar Radiation and Climate Experiment, or SORCE, have given scientists an unprecedented look at some of the most intense solar eruptions ever witnessed — including the notorious Halloween storms in October and November 2003 — as well as the anomalously quiet solar minimum that hushed the sun’s surface beginning in 2008 and, now, a new solar maximum that appears to be the least active in a century.
“We were there to see it transform from a fairly normal solar cycle to a very low-activity solar cycle,” said Tom Woods, associate director of CU-Boulder’s Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics, known as LASP, and principal investigator for SORCE. “Of course we couldn’t predict or know that, but it’s very exciting.”
The data generated by SORCE’s instruments, which were originally designed to operate for just five years, are downloaded twice a day with the help of CU-Boulder undergraduates working at LASP mission control. Scientists are now using that data to better understand how energy from the sun affects Earth’s climate. While human-produced greenhouse gases have been the dominant driver of climate change over the last several decades, the activity of the sun can either enhance or offset the resulting global warming.
“About 10 to 15 percent of the climate warming since 1970 is due to the sun,” Woods said. “That’s going to change now. Now that solar activity is low, the global warming trend could slow down some, but not nearly enough to offset the anthropogenic effects on global warming.”
The current, lackluster solar maximum is being compared to periods when astronomers observed very few sunspots in the early 19th century known as the Dalton Minimum and in the last half of the 17th century known as the Maunder Minimum. During the Maunder Minimum, which coincided with an era known as the Little Ice Age, temperatures in Europe were especially cool, with rivers and canals freezing during the winter across the continent and rapidly advancing glaciers destroying villages in the Swiss Alps.
The SORCE mission is also a critical contributor to the long-term record of total solar irradiance — the magnitude of the sun’s energy when it reaches the top of the Earth’s atmosphere — which stretches back to 1978, when the Nimbus-7 satellite was launched. The Total Irradiance Monitor, or TIM, instrument onboard SORCE is taking the most accurate and most precise measurements of total solar irradiance ever collected.
“The total solar irradiance provides nearly all the energy powering the Earth’s climate system, exceeding all other energy sources combined by 2,500 times,” said Greg Kopp, LASP senior research scientist and co-investigator responsible for the TIM instrument. “Any change in total irradiance can thus have large effects on our climate.”
Data from the SORCE mission have also begun a new record for measurements of visible and near-infrared light emitted from the sun. The solar spectral irradiance measurements are being made for the first time by the Spectral Irradiance Monitor, or SIM. Combined with other instruments onboard SORCE, scientists can now see all the wavelengths, including those in the ultraviolet range, emitted by the sun at once. This new way of seeing the sun has led to interesting discoveries, including that the energy emitted in some wavelengths of light vary out of phase with the sun’s overall activity, actually increasing as the number of sunspots decreases.
Now that SORCE has doubled its original life expectancy, LASP scientists are building new instruments to take over when SORCE gives out. A new TIM built at LASP launched on NASA’s Glory mission in 2011, but the satellite failed to make orbit. After the loss of Glory, CU-Boulder scientists, determined to avoid a gap in the record of total solar irradiance measurements, came up with a creative solution, repurposing a ground-based TIM to quickly make it space-worthy and then integrating it onto a U.S. Air Force satellite built by Ball Aerospace that is set to launch in August of this year.
“It’s important to have continuous measurements of solar irradiance since we’re looking for small changes in the sun’s output over decades and even centuries,” said Kopp. “Detecting such small changes using measurements disconnected in time would make this even more difficult.”
A new SIM instrument, also built at LASP, is scheduled to launch in 2016 on a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration satellite. But while SORCE is expected to continue functioning for at least another year, allowing for overlapping measurements with the TIM instrument launching in August, it’s uncertain if SORCE’s SIM instrument will still be running when its successor makes it to space in 2016.
“We’re definitely hoping and planning that SORCE lasts through this year,” Woods said. “But 2016 — I don’t think SORCE’s battery is going to last that long.”
During SORCE’s 10-year foray in space, the satellite also witnessed two rare transits of the planet Venus in front of the sun and another two less-infrequent transits by Mercury. When Venus, the larger of the two planets and the closer to Earth, blocked out part of the sun’s light, SORCE’s TIM instrument measured a corresponding drop in the amount of total solar irradiance. The measurements are now useful reference tools for astronomers hoping to discover planets around other stars by measuring a dip in a star’s light from a planetary transit.
In all, CU-Boulder has received about $120 million from NASA for the construction and operation of SORCE. But in 2008, LASP took the unusual step of returning $3 million in cost savings from the SORCE mission to NASA that resulted from the program’s efficient operations.
Researchers at LASP are planning to celebrate SORCE’s 10th birthday with cake, a science seminar and a write-up of the satellite’s top-10 accomplishments in NASA’s The Earth Observer magazine.
But while the decade mark is typically an important milestone for celebration here on Earth, the more appropriate milestone for SORCE may come in 2014 at the 11-year mark, the average length of a complete solar cycle
“Eleven years is special to us,” Woods said. “Instead of having a big science conference this year, we’re planning it for next January.”
For more information, visit LASP’s SORCE website at http://lasp.colorado.edu/sorce/index.htm.
A video of CU-Boulder researchers discussing the SORCE mission is available at http://www.colorado.edu/news/multimedia/cu-boulders-sun-gazing-satellite-turns-10-0.
Here on Jan. 12, 2013, it will forever be known as the day that the Ravens upset the heavily favored Broncos in double overtime, 38-35.
This was a painful loss. It wasn’t just a painful loss because the Broncos were heavily favored. It wasn’t because they were the No. 1 seed. It wasn’t because they had home-field advantage.
No. It was because the Broncos blew a game that they had won. It would have been one thing if the Broncos lost this game in the fashion that the Green Bay Packers lost their game later on in the night to the Niners, where the Niners dominated the Packers.
In a weird way, this loss would have been less painful. Am I saying that’s the route that I would have preferred the Ravens-Broncos game went? No.
However, this has to be the worst loss that I’ve seen the Broncos suffer in a big game. Super Bowl blowout losses against NFC powerhouse teams in the ’80s are one thing; losing to the second-year ’96 Jaguars as Super Bowl favorites is about the only playoff loss that I can think of that is as painful as this one.
The Broncos had the game won.
Denver was up 35-28 with 1:15 remaining in the fourth quarter. Joe Flacco and the Ravens offense took over from their 23-yard line with no timeouts remaining.
On a 3rd-and-3 with very little hope of tying the game, Flacco and the Ravens managed to do the impossible by having a little skill, luck and bad football IQ coincide to make a great play.
Flacco heaved up a desperation pass to Jacoby Jones into double coverage. Tony Carter had Jones underneath and for whatever reason, Rahim Moore did the same. Instead of getting behind Jones to defend him high, Moore went underneath and Jones and badly misplayed the ball.
Moore did not come close to batting that ball. He whiffed big time and it looks even worse on the numerous replays you’re bound to sit through for the rest of your lives.
That wasn’t the worst of it.
The worst of it was, that for whatever reason, whether that’s due to natural instincts, lack of time to properly assess the play and situation at hand or nerves, Moore made the wrong decision in going underneath Jones to defend the pass.
If Rahim simply goes over Jones, even if Jacoby makes the catch, Moore would have tackled him inbounds 30 yards before Jones even gets to the end zone and the clock runs down to the point where the Ravens have one or two plays to run off before the end of the game.
What do you call that play?
A lack of football IQ. It was just a bad play by Moore—not knowing the situation at hand. He went all-out for that deflection and he got burned.
As if that wasn’t bad enough, the Broncos then headed into overtime. They played hard for nearly a full overtime period before Peyton Manning ended up throwing the game-losing interception.
Since I gave Moore a lot of flack for his one play that cost Denver the game, I have no choice to do the same for Manning.
I can excuse Peyton for the first-quarter interception because it wasn’t his fault. Did he try to fit the pass into a tight space? Yeah. But Eric Decker did get touched before the ball got to him which led to the deflection that led to Corey Graham’s interception return for a touchdown.
Can I forgive Peyton’s third-quarter fumble with the Broncos threatening to go up by two possessions for the second time in the game, only to fumble it away and have the Ravens march down the field to tie up the game at 21-all?
Can I forget about Peyton’s interception by Corey Graham where Manning was rolling to his right and threw across his chest to the middle of the field only to have it intercepted?
I will defend Peyton until the day that he proves he’s no longer the quarterback for the Broncos. He had one of the finest seasons of his career, led Denver to one of the best regular seasons in franchise history and has made this team a legit title contender.
I realize that as Broncos fans, some of us will get defensive over the criticism of Peyton’s performance in this game, largely summed up and highlighted by his interception to Graham in overtime that led to Justin Tucker’s game-winning field goal.
But the criticism is simply justified.
Did the Broncos lose this game because of one bad bone-headed move by Moore, followed by another bone-headed throw by Peyton? No.
Hell, Champ Bailey got burned three times by Torrey Smith. Two of them ended up as touchdowns, one was an overthrow by Flacco that would have been a touchdown if it wasn’t for the overthrow.
The defense got absolutely no pressure on Flacco which gave him all of the time that he needed to complete the three long touchdown passes. In fact, they got one sack on the day. It didn’t happen until overtime.
Having said that, when have you ever seen Peyton throw a pass like that?
It’s one thing when you have a guy like Brett Favre—the career interceptions leader and a guy notoriously known for taking unneeded risks—throw the game-costing interception in the ’09 NFC Championship versus the Saints, which was similar to Peyton’s throw versus the Ravens.
It’s Brett Favre for God’s sake. He does that in both the regular season and the postseason. Favre went through three straight seasons where the last pass he threw in each season was an interception (’07-’09, which ended his team’s playoff fortunes in each season).
But to have Peyton throw a pass that not even a rookie quarterback would make?
How can you explain that? How can you defend that?
There is simply no explaining it. You can’t defend it.
And so the Broncos enter the 2013 NFL offseason having wasted a bright regular season by choking on the biggest of stages—the NFL postseason.
It wasn’t a one-man loss. It wasn’t a two-man loss. It was an entire team’s loss.
I laid the criticism on Moore and Peyton. Even threw in Bailey and the defense in there. What about coach John Fox?
I was ready to criticize him for the 3rd-and-7 on Denver’s last offensive drive before Jacoby Jones scored on the game-tying touchdown, where the Broncos would end up running the football on a safe play with Ronnie Hillman before punting the football.
I mean why not give the potential NFL MVP a chance to win the game for you by throwing the football?
However, the icing on the cake was with 31 seconds left and two timeouts remaining. With the Broncos taking over at their 20-yard line, here was Peyton Manning—taking a knee to end regulation.
Now, correct me if I’m wrong, but weren’t the Ravens riding at an all-time high of emotions after Jones’ miraculous 70-yard touchdown run and catch? Was their confidence not at an all-time high after Flacco had completed three 30-plus-yard touchdown passes throughout the game?
Why even take the chance of heading into regulation when Baltimore’s offense had its way with Denver’s defense all throughout the game?
In a move that will be second-guessed until the day that John Fox and Peyton Manning lead the Broncos to a third Super Bowl title, Fox chose to run out the clock and take his chances in overtime.
Yet again, living up to his billing as a safe coach.
It backfired on the Broncos. Just like every move they made in the last few minutes of the fourth quarter and overtime.
What is there to say about this 38-35 double-overtime loss?
It is what it is.
The Broncos lost this game and can’t look at it any other way. If the Broncos want to win a Super Bowl in the Manning era, they need to not only play better, but use this game as a learning and motivational tool for championship success next season.
If the ’97 and ’98 Broncos can do it, I expect the ’13 Broncos to do the same.
If they can’t, Jan. 12, 2013, will be a date remembered by Broncos fans for a long time.
For all of the wrong reasons.
Boulder County, Colo. – All county administrative offices will be closed according to the following schedule:
- Monday, Dec. 24 at noon
- Tuesday, Dec. 25 ALL DAY
- Monday, Dec. 31 at noon
- Tuesday, Jan. 1 ALL DAY
County services that will not be available during the holiday closures include County Courts, Motor Vehicle, Property & Records, Public Health & Human Services, and all Administrative functions.
Emergency response and law enforcement functions, along with designated county services such as the jail and on-call road maintenance, will continue to work a regular schedule. The jail, however, does not permit public visitations on holidays, including the full four days listed above.
County open space properties are open to the public from sunrise to sunset daily, including holidays. Visit:www.BoulderCountyOpenSpace.org for a list of properties.
For recycling services and mountain trash transfer station hours, visit: www.BoulderCountyRecycles.net.
Happy Holidays from Boulder County!
University of Colorado Boulder Assistant Professor Nikolaus Correll likes to think in multiples. If one robot can accomplish a singular task, think how much more could be accomplished if you had hundreds of them.
Correll and his computer science research team, including research associate Dustin Reishus and professional research assistant Nick Farrow, have developed a basic robotic building block, which he hopes to reproduce in large quantities to develop increasingly complex systems.
Recently the team created a swarm of 20 robots, each the size of a pingpong ball, which they call “droplets.” When the droplets swarm together, Correll said, they form a “liquid that thinks.”
To accelerate the pace of innovation, he has created a lab where students can explore and develop new applications of robotics with basic, inexpensive tools.
Similar to the fictional “nanomorphs” depicted in the “Terminator” films, large swarms of intelligent robotic devices could be used for a range of tasks. Swarms of robots could be unleashed to contain an oil spill or to self-assemble into a piece of hardware after being launched separately into space, Correll said.
Correll plans to use the droplets to demonstrate self-assembly and swarm-intelligent behaviors such as pattern recognition, sensor-based motion and adaptive shape change. These behaviors could then be transferred to large swarms for water- or air-based tasks.
Correll hopes to create a design methodology for aggregating the droplets into more complex behaviors such as assembling parts of a large space telescope or an aircraft.
In the fall, Correll received the National Science Foundation’s Faculty Early Career Development award known as “CAREER.” In addition, he has received support from NSF’s Early Concept Grants for Exploratory Research program, as well as NASA and the U.S. Air Force.
He also is continuing work on robotic garden technology he developed at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2009. Correll has been working with Joseph Tanner in CU-Boulder’s aerospace engineering sciences department to further develop the technology, involving autonomous sensors and robots that can tend gardens, in conjunction with a model of a long-term space habitat being built by students.
Correll says there is virtually no limit to what might be created through distributed intelligence systems.
“Every living organism is made from a swarm of collaborating cells,” he said. “Perhaps some day, our swarms will colonize space where they will assemble habitats and lush gardens for future space explorers.”
For a short video of Correll’s team developing swarm droplets visit http://www.colorado.edu/news/multimedia/researchers-creating-team-tiny-robots. For more information about CU-Boulder’s computer science department visit http://www.colorado.edu/engineering/academics/degree/computer-science.
Ever wondered who is living in your gut, and what they’re doing? The trillions of microbial partners in and on our bodies outnumber our own cells by as many as 10 to 1 and do all sorts of important jobs, from helping digest the food we eat this Thanksgiving to building up our immune systems.
In association with the Human Food Project, researchers at the University of Colorado Boulder along with researchers at other institutions around the world are launching a new open-access project known as “American Gut” in which participants can get involved in finding out what microbes are in their own guts and what they are doing in there.
The project builds on previous efforts, including the five-year, $173-million NIH-funded Human Microbiome Project, to characterize the microbes living in and on our bodies, said Associate Professor Rob Knight of CU-Boulder’s BioFrontiers Institute. But unlike other projects that have focused on carefully chosen test subjects with a few hundred people, this project allows the public to get involved and is encouraging tens of thousands of people to do so, Knight said.
“Galileo saw outer space through his telescope, and we want to see the inner space of your gut through modern genetics,” said Rob Dunn, a scientist at North Carolina State University and a collaborator on the project. The new project will be “crowd-funded” by individuals interested in learning more about their own gut bacteria and by others who simply want to contribute to the project, said Dunn.
“By combining the crowd-funding model with the open-access data analysis model that we pioneered with the Earth Microbiome Project, we can finally give anyone with an interest in his or her microbiome an opportunity to participate, whether by contributing samples or by looking at the data,” said Knight, also a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Early Career Scientist.
Public interest is immense, says the research team. 18,000 people have already signed up to receive more information by email about the project when it launches. “The American Gut project builds on the Human Microbiome Project by allowing anyone to participate, and will let the public join in the excitement of this new field,” said Lita Proctor, program director for the Human Microbiome Project. “We can expect this to lay the groundwork for all sorts of fascinating studies in the future, that others will in turn build on.”
The American Gut project is an opportunity for the “citizen scientists” working with team of leading researchers and labs throughout the United States to help shape a new way of understanding how diet and lifestyle may contribute to human health through each person’s suite of trillions of tiny microbes, say the researchers. A key aspect of the project is to understand how diet and lifestyle, whether by choice — like athletes or vegetarians — or by necessity, including those suffering from particular autoimmune diseases or who have food allergies, affect peoples’ microbial makeup, said Knight.
“This will be the first project of its kind that might be able to address this question at such a large scale,” said Jeff Leach, founder of the Human Food Project and co-founder of American Gut. The gut microbiome has been linked to many diseases, including obesity, cancer, and inflammatory bowel disease — all of which are much more common in Western populations, he said.
“We should start thinking about diets not only from the perspective of what we should eat, but what we should be feeding our entire gut microbial systems,” said Leach. A key aspect of the project is to integrate studies of Americans of all shapes and sizes with studies of people living more traditional lifestyles in Africa, South America and elsewhere, he said.
The steep decline in the cost of DNA sequencing and recent advances in computational techniques allow for the analysis of microbial genomes orders of magnitude cheaper than was possible only a few years ago, said Knight. Sequencing is now getting cheap enough — participants who donate $99 or more can expect to get tens of thousands of sequences from microbes in their gut — that participants can include their families and even their pets, Knight said.
Doctoral student Daniel McDonald is one of several CU-Boulder students who will be involved in the effort. “I am excited to have the opportunity to develop new computational tools in order to further explore this frontier,” said McDonald, who is in the Interdisciplinary Quantitative Biology program at the BioFrontiers Institute.
“I am pleased to participate in this pioneering effort that marries the vast interest of the public in science with questions that are worth answering about human health and nutrition,” said Martin Blaser, chair of the Department of Medicine and professor of microbiology at New York University. “Through this consortium, the technical and intellectual resources are there to lead to important new knowledge.”
The project will seek to build on a growing canine and feline database as well. “The majority of data we currently have on the dog and cat microbiomes has come from a handful of small studies in research or clinically ill animals,” said Associate Professor Kelly Swanson of the Department of Animal Sciences and Division of Nutritional Sciences at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. “This study will apply the technology to free-living pets, where diet, genetics, and living environment are quite different from household to household.
“This research may identify important trends not possible with lab-based studies, and help guide us on how to feed our pets in the future,” said Swanson.
The backdrop to the project is the radical decline in the cost of DNA sequencing, which allows analysis of microbial genomes orders of magnitude cheaper than was possible only a few years ago, and recent advances in computational techniques. Participants in the project include many of the key players in the Human Microbiome Project and research facilities around the world.
To learn more about participating in or contributing to the project visit https://www.indiegogo.com/americangut. For a list of additional collaborators on the project visithttp://humanfoodproject.com/the-people/collaborators/.
A $20 million remote sensing instrument package built by the University of Colorado Boulder, which is leading a 2013 NASA mission to understand how Mars might have lost its atmosphere, has been delivered to Lockheed Martin in Littleton, Colo., for spacecraft integration.
The remote sensing package designed and built by CU-Boulder’s Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics consists of the Imaging UltraViolet Spectrograph, or IUVS, as well as its electronic control box, the Remote Sensing Data Processing Unit, or RSDPU, both under contract to NASA Goddard Spaceflight Center in Greenbelt, Md.
Known as the Mars Atmosphere and Volatile EvolutioN, or MAVEN, the $670 million NASA mission set for launch in November 2013 is being led by CU-Boulder Professor Bruce Jakosky. The mission is designed to explore and understand how the loss of atmospheric gas has changed the climate of Mars over the eons, said Jakosky, also associate director of LASP.
“With the delivery of this package, we are shifting from assembling the basic spacecraft to focusing on getting the science instruments onto the spacecraft,” said Jakosky, also a professor in the geological sciences department. “This is a major step toward getting us to launch and then getting the science return from the mission.”
According to David Mitchell, MAVEN project manager from NASA Goddard, “The remote sensing package team built a system that meets all technical requirements and delivered it on schedule and on budget. I look forward to the instrument’s next level of integration onto the spacecraft and ultimately the science it will provide.”
The IUVS collects UV light and spreads it out on a spectra that is recorded using imaging detectors, said Mitchell. As the “brains” of the instrument package, RSDPU receives and executes commands telling the IUVS when and where to point.
“As the ‘eyes’ of the remote sensing package, the IUVS allows us to study Mars and its atmosphere at a distance by looking at the light it emits,” said Nick Schneider, a LASP research associate and lead IUVS scientist for MAVEN. “Ultraviolet light is especially diagnostic of the state of the atmosphere, so our instrument provides the global context of the whole atmosphere for the local measurements made by the rest of the payload,” said Schneider, also a faculty member in the APS department.
The CU-Boulder remote sensing package will be turned on for its initial checkout 21 days after launch, said NASA officials. Later, in the “cruise phase” of the mission from Earth to Mars, the package will be powered on twice more for “state-of-health checks” and in-flight calibration.
MAVEN will be the first mission devoted to understanding the Martian atmosphere, with a goal of determining the history of the loss of atmospheric gases to space through time, providing answers about Mars climate evolution. By measuring the current rate of gas escaping to space and gathering enough information about the relevant processes, scientists should be able to infer how the planet’s atmosphere evolved over time.
The MAVEN spacecraft will carry two other instrument suites. The Particles and Fields Package, built by the University of California Berkeley Space Science Laboratory with support from LASP and NASA Goddard, contains six instruments that will characterize the solar wind and the ionosphere of the planet. The Neutral Gas and Ion Mass Spectrometer, provided by NASA Goddard, will measure the composition and isotopes of neutral ions.
“Three of the big milestones in an instrument builder’s life are the day you get selected to fly on a mission, the day you deliver the instrument to the spacecraft to get ready for launch, and the day that it gets where it’s going and data starts flowing back from space,” said Mark Lankton, the remote sensing package program manager at LASP. “The remote sensing team is really happy to have gotten to the second milestone, and we can hardly wait to reach the third.”
CU-Boulder also will provide science operations and lead the education and public outreach efforts. NASA Goddard manages the project and is building two of the science instruments for the mission. Lockheed Martin is building the spacecraft and is responsible for mission operations. NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., provides navigation support, the Deep Space Network, the Electra telecommunications relay hardware and operations.
“Our CU-Boulder IUVS instrument will be the most capable ultraviolet spectrometer ever sent to another planet,” said LASP instrument scientist William McClintock. “Data from the IUVS will help planetary scientists rewrite the textbooks about the upper atmosphere of Mars, and we are fortunate to have a top-flight engineering team here at LASP that allowed us to design and develop such a sophisticated instrument.”
Clues on the Martian surface, including features resembling dry lakes and riverbeds as well as minerals that form only in the presence of water, suggest that Mars once had a denser atmosphere that supported liquid water on the surface, Jakosky said. CU-Boulder’s participation in Mars exploration missions goes back to 1969 when NASA’s Mariner 6 and Mariner 7 missions launched.
MAVEN is slated to slide into orbit around Mars in September 2014, and, after a one-month checkout period, will make measurements from orbit for one Earth year. The MAVEN science team includes three LASP scientists from CU-Boulder heading instrument teams — Schneider, Frank Eparvier and Robert Ergun — as well as a large supporting team of scientists, engineers and mission operations specialists.
MAVEN also will include participation by a number of CU-Boulder graduate and undergraduate students in the coming years. Currently there are more than 100 undergraduate and graduate students working on research projects at LASP, which provides hands-on training for future careers as engineers and scientists, said Jakosky.
Boulder County, Colo. – A forest thinning project at Heil Valley Ranch Open Space began on Friday and will continue until June. The Boulder County Parks and Open Space Department has hired a local contractor to mechanically treat approximately 150 acres of ponderosa pine forest.
Visitors to the open space property will likely hear the operations along the Wapiti Trail and Ponderosa Loop during the next eight months. Visitors must stay on-trail to protect their safety and that of the equipment operators.
Like so many ponderosa pine forests, the area is unnaturally dense due to years of fire suppression. This forestry project will create a mosaic of openings and uneven-aged groupings of trees. The goal is to have a healthier forest that is less susceptible to insects, disease or catastrophic wild fires. The treatment involves the use of two primary machines; a harvester that fells, delimbs, and bucks the tree into standard log lengths, and a forwarder to haul wood material off-site.
For additional information, contact Forest Specialist Nick Stremel at 303-678-6290 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Oct. 1, 2012
The University of Colorado Boulder’s Jennie Smoly Caruthers Biotechnology building has received a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, or LEED, platinum rating — the highest possible evaluation — from the United States Green Building Council.
The 336,800-square-foot research and teaching facility opened in April on the university’s east campus. More than 60 faculty and 500 researchers, staff and students work inside, tackling a wide swath of challenges from cancer and heart disease to the development of new biofuels. LEED certification is a national benchmark for sustainable design, construction, operation and maintenance.
The building posed intense energy and water needs as well as complex safety requirements. “Earning a LEED platinum rating for such a large research building highlights the engineering challenges of providing safe and practical research space while ensuring the highest level of sustainability,” said Moe Tabrizi, director of campus sustainability.
The result is a building that is 30 percent more energy and water efficient than recently built buildings with a similar function. One tactic used by designers was to group labs with similar functions near each other in the building to centralize common lab equipment and maximize the efficiency of energy use, ventilation and heat recovery. The building’s mechanical and electrical systems incorporate significant energy savings and resource recovery.
The facility will have an array of large-scale, ground-mounted solar panels to help fulfill its energy needs. It also features evaporative cooling, which is the most energy-efficient cooling method in Colorado’s dry climate; daylight harvesting, lighting controls and LED technology; energy-efficient freezer compressors and lab exhaust fume hoods; low-flow plumbing and additional features.
The new building, which is prominent when accessing campus from Colorado Avenue and Foothills Parkway, also matches CU-Boulder’s distinct architectural look.
“This project demonstrates that we can achieve a high-performing, technically complex facility that blends our Tuscan Vernacular — or rural Italian — style with the demands of cutting-edge, 21st century world-class research,” said Paul Leef, campus architect.
The design team and campus engineers undertook a meticulous engineering process that combined best practices in green building, LEED requirements, and recommendations from Labs21, a program of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Department of Energy that is dedicated to improving the environmental performance of laboratories.
CU-Boulder is a sustainability leader in higher education. The campus currently has five LEED platinum rated buildings, eight gold rated buildings and one silver. The university is committed to earning gold ratings or higher for all new construction and renovations on campus.