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A R I Z O N A’ S

TECHNOLOGY MAGAZINE

THE ISSUE

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ROCKET MEN

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PLAIN SIGHT

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MARS MEMO

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MOON MISSION

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SPACE SHUTTER


What’s Inside A R I Z O N A’ S

TECHNOLOGY MAGAZINE

CloseUp

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paCiFiC sCiENTiFiC

Shuttle just one of the ways Chandler company keeps man in space.

paRagON spaCE DEVELOpmENT

It’s all about sustaining life for the team at this unique company.

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pHOENiX maRs missiON

Historic exploration gets high marks for its list of discoveries.

The Focus

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LuNaR RECONNaissaNCE ORBiTER

UofA, ASU researchers help preparation for return to the moon.

The Network

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HIRisE

We put the spotlight on this high-flying Mars “photographer.”

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On the Cover :: The Space Issue

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Feature

Excellent New Mission Professor sees potential for planetary rover to also help the blind.

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Turbulent gases in the Omega/Swan Nebula Credit: NASA, ESA and J. Hester (ASU)

contact us :: editor@techconnectmag.com

In Every Issue 004 President’s Letter 006 Editor’s Letter 015 TechSupport 020 Science Foundation Arizona 022 Arizona State University 024 The University of Arizona 026 Northern Arizona University 028 Capitol Watch


president’s Letter

Space…

the final frontier

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tardate 2009.12 Most of us remember “Star Trek,” the original television series (plus its four knock-offs and an animated series), and its wellknown mantra “to boldly go where no man has gone before.” Originated in 1966 during the “space race,” the original “Star Trek” concept is still producing results with yet another movie this year, the 11th—43 years later. We love space!

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Of course, humans have been intrigued with space since the dawn of time. Space finally opened up to us with Galileo’s improvements to the telescope invented by Hans Lippershey in the Netherlands in 1608. As we look to Arizona’s future, is space a potential growth industry that can help diversify our economy? I think so. The state is known around the world as a haven for astronomy and space aficionados, featuring some of the world’s preeminent observatories, state-of-the-art telescopes and leading contributors to space exploration. Researchers at The University of Arizona’s Eller College of Management in 2008 reported astronomy, planetary and space sciences research also had a significant

impact on the state’s economy. In the study they cited as a first in the state, the researchers concluded the three fields of science had a more than $252 million impact on Arizona’s economy in fiscal 2006. They also reported these industries generated more than 3,300 jobs in the same time period. The researchers credit investment by agencies such as NASA and the National Science Foundation as a major impetus for that job creation.

Scout class mission is led by a scientist known as a Principal Investigator (PI). Peter Smith of the UofA’s Lunar and Planetary Laboratory served as PI for Phoenix, a mission considered a milestone for NASA and for the state. • The Arizona Aerospace and Defense Commission identified missiles and launch vehicles as well as space/ astronautics (commercial and military) as critical elements of the state’s Aerospace and Defense Cluster. • The Mayo Clinic here has its Aerospace Life Sciences Unit, which has active clinical aerospace programs (suborbital and orbital spaceflight) focused on spatial orientation/disorientation, accelerationinduced threats and high-altitude environments. • The recently announced Arizona Aerospace Institute has identified space as one of the eight potential clusters on which it will focus its efforts. • There is an impressive list of companies in the state that focus in this arena, including Orbital Sciences, Space Data, Honeywell, Paragon Space Development Corporation and Pacific Scientific. • Some experts see Arizona along with Texas, New Mexico, and Southern California becoming a corridor for nurturing the emerging private-sector-supported space tourism and transport industries. It’s clear Arizona has the potential to be an even bigger player in space with our world-class expertise in both the academic and industry sides of the equation. Learn more as you enjoy reading about the people, products, progress and potential in this issue of TechConnect.

New Wave But there’s more to the story: • The Phoenix Mars Mission, which discovered water on the Red Planet, was the first of NASA’s Mars Scout class. Each

STEVEN G. ZYLSTRA

President & CEO, Arizona Technology Council


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Editor’s Letter

Moonstruck There is no dark side of the moon really. Matter of fact it’s all dark. - “Eclipse” from Pink Floyd’s “Dark Side of the Moon”

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he first time I heard these words was in 1974 at one of the high school parties I can still recall – sort of (those were the ‘70s, after all). It was at the 006 house of our family doctor, who, of course, was not home. I had spent a good part of my life up to that point with my doctor’s son, Mike, as well as many people there that night. When someone put on “Dark Side,” the chatter died down as many of us just listened. It was one of those times when bonding occurred by saying absolutely nothing. We all knew what the album’s title meant. Besides sharing classes and “refreshments,” all of us shared memories of the space missions that led to and eventually put man on the moon. We all remembered what it meant as a nation when the Apollo 13 crew emerged from the dark side of the moon and made it back to Earth. As I write this column and listen for the zillionth time to “Dark Side,” I still remember being mesmerized by the whole idea of our going into space. Who can admit not looking at a full moon then—and even now—and not thinking about what it must be like to walk around up there. I never made it there. Too

short, too blind and a washout in physics. But I remember being nearly speechless when I met a Shuttle crew member at the wedding of our mutual friend. I wasn’t alone as most guests at the reception made it a point to shake Leroy Chow’s hand. He was literally and figuratively a giant to us. We all knew he made it there! Once again I find myself thinking about the cosmos. With this edition of TechConnect, The Space Issue, we the chance to also take a glimpse into what’s happening in zero gravity without need for a physical to see if you can handle the g-forces. Arizona companies, university researchers and others have been active competitors in the never-ending space race. Pacific Scientific made a name for itself with NASA as creator of a variety of systems used in manned space programs. The Phoenix Mars Mission was an international phenomenon. Data collected about the Red Planet revealed the climate there could have had

what it needed to support life. A University of Arizona professor has devised a doubleduty plan for a rover that can be used in planetary exploration as well as helping the blind make their way through the world. Arizona State University researchers are involved in testing another set of wheels for use on the moon. And both schools are active in preparation for our return to the moon. All of this activity leads me now believe that the words on “Dark Side” are—dare I say it—wrong. There really is a bright side of the moon. And, because of the celestial successes traced to Arizona, it seems to be getting brighter.

DON RODRIGUEZ

Editor, TechConnect Magazine

puBLisHER Steven G. Zylstra EDiTOR Don Rodriguez assOCiaTE EDiTOR Tina May aRT DiRECTOR Jim Nissen, Switch Studio DEsigNERs Chaidi Lobato Erin Loukili Kris Olmon CONTRiBuTiNg WRiTERs Robert M. Bortnick Christopher Di Virgilio Alan Fischer Kara Fort Alaina G. Levine (Southern Arizona) Lisa Nelson Kate Nolan Robert C. Owen Nicole Staab Bruce A. Wright TRaDEmaRK // gENERaL COuNsEL Quinn Williams DisTRiBuTiON paRTNERs Tucson Chamber of Commerce E-maiL editor@techconnectmag.com For queries or customer service, call 602-343-8324 TechConnect is published by the Arizona Technology Council, One Renaissance Square, 2 N. Central Ave., Suite 750, Phoenix, AZ 85004. Entire contents copyright 2009, Arizona Technology Council. Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited. Products named in these pages are trade names or trademarks of their respective companies. TechConnect is a trademark of the Arizona Technology Council. All rights reserved. Publication of TechConnect is supported by private-sector businesses, and is not financed by state-appropriated funds.


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Close+up : A Collection of Briefings Focusing on Significant Topics Affecting Technology.

the NovALiS-tx LiNeAr AcceLerAtor

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PAcific ScieNtific’S ProJectS hAve iNcLUded the deLtA rocket (Left) ANd SPAce ShUttLe.

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Pacific Scientific in Chandler plays a key role in NASA’s manned space programs

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WRITING BY ::CHRISTOPHER DI VIRGILIO

rom the moment the space shuttle leaves the vehicle assembly building for its three-day journey to the launch pad at Kennedy Space Center in Florida, products from Chandlerbased Pacific Scientific are hard at work. “Our primary mission revolves around the missile and aerospace market,” says Larry Ostendorf, director of business development. “We are the first name in aerospace designers and manufacturers of canopy fracturing systems, cartridges, detonators and egress systems.” Pacific Scientific employs roughly 260 technicians, chemists and engineers who played roles in designing and testing the 130 components that help make a space mission possible. The company has helped launch manned space programs from Apollo to the Mars exploration missions. “Pacific Scientific generates approximately $50 million in annual business,” Ostendorf says. “The space shuttle program makes up roughly 5 to 10 percent of that business.” But that is a very important percentage for the space shuttle. As the shuttle lumbers along the road to the launch site, eight

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3½-inch frangible nuts—four per solid rocket booster—are working, along with their corresponding hold-down posts, to keep the entire launch vehicle secure. On launch day, after the final hold in the countdown phase, the shuttle goes through its final preparations for launch and Pacific Scientific components go into action at T-minus 10 seconds as the hydrogen burn-off igniters activate under each engine bell. “That is the sparks you see seconds from launch,” Ostendorf explains. “They are burning off the stagnant hydrogen that may have accumulated prior to launch.” The shuttle rumbles to life at T-minus 6.6 seconds as the main engines fire and build to 90 percent of their rated performance, before solid rocket booster ignition at T-Minus 0 seconds. Once the SRBs reach a stable thrust ratio, at T-plus 0.30 seconds, fire commands activate booster cartridges that separate the eight frangible nuts and release the shuttle from the launch pad. As the shuttle journeys into orbit, it begins a roll-and-pitch program to set its orbital inclination. At T-plus two minutes, SRB separation is initiated by Pacific Scientific’s

booster separation system that fires four forward and four aft motors that are built into the SRB frustum, just under the nose cone and lower structure of the SRB, providing a positive separation from the shuttle. As the shuttle continues its ascent, the SRBs fall away for a controlled descent to be reused in a future shuttle mission. This controlled descent is possible via drogue parachutes—parachutes designed to be deployed from a rapidly moving object— from the nose of the SRB. The drogue parachutes are deployed in a series of “drag-area” stages that stabilize the SRB and prepare it for main chute deployment. The stages of parachute deployment are controlled using 16 Pacific Scientific reefing line cutters, self-contained units that house a razorlike cutting edge. Once the drogue chute reaches full deployment, the frustum pulls away, deploying the main chutes. The stages of chute “drag-area” are repeated until the main chutes achieve full deployment. From pre-launch to SRB splash-down, Pacific Scientific has helped make space travel possible. “We are proud of our relationship with NASA,” Ostendorf says. “We hope to play a role in the future of the manned space program.”

+ GET CONNECTED Pacific Scientific: www.psemc.com

For a closer look at Pacific Scientific components at work, visit the NASA website to view video footage of shuttle missions and SRB descents. www.nasa.gov


SPACE IS THE PLACE WRITING BY :: ALAINA G. LEVINE

Tucson-based Paragon Space Development Corp. engages the final frontier pace may be the final frontier for sci-fi fans, but for one Tucson-based enterprise, it is the playground for which it creates, innovates and contributes to society. Paragon Space Development Corp. makes life-support systems for extreme environments, including special diving systems, and lifesupport and temperature-control systems for space craft, says Taber MacCallum, CEO and co-founder. The company recently helped design and build innovative diving suits for the Navy that create a spacesuit-like isolation system, ensuring that divers are not exposed to hazardous materials in the water. To accomplish this, Paragon’s scientists and engineers developed proprietary elastomers, or special polymers. The company owns about 13 patents. MacCallum’s team consists of about 70 staffers with offices in Tucson, Houston, Denver and Washington, DC. Fifty-seven employees are based in southern Arizona and more than 71 percent of all staffers are in science and engineering. Roughly 15 percent hold PhDs. “We have fun,” MacCallum says, and rightly so: Paragon has directly contributed to more than 70 successful spaceflight missions, including the Space Shuttle, Soyuz and the MIR Space Station through the manufacture, maintenance, and operation of human space-

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flight hardware, according to company communications. Recent projects have included building the next generation space suit, providing program management and support to The University of Arizona-led Phoenix Mars Mission, and designing, developing and testing a heliostat system to grow turf grass at Chase Field ballpark in Phoenix. The company also is participating in a competition to grow plants on the moon. Paragon’s interest in plants makes sense: “It is surrounding the place where biology and chemistry and engineering meet,” MacCallum explains, “and where that happens in our world is life support, be it life support for a plant or people in a space suit or in a space craft. It’s that interaction we’re interested in and I think were fairly good at it.” Of all of Paragon’s current projects, MacCallum says the most exciting is the Orion Space Craft, destined to replace the shuttle. According to NASA’s Web site, Orion is part of the Constellation Program to send human explorers back to the moon, and then onward to Mars and other destinations in the solar system. Paragon is working on the radiators and the heat-rejection systems—the way heat is eradiated away from the craft. LAYER OF PROTECTION While “the physics of it (is) fairly well understood, the design to meet the constraints of the Orion Space Craft is our main job, and

+ GET CONNECTED aawww.paragonsdc.com

Alaina G. Levine, TechConnect’s southern Arizona correspondent, is the president of Quantum Success Solutions, a leadership and professional development public speaking and consulting company.

TECHCONNECTmag.COm

PArAgoN’S eNviroNMeNtAL coNtroL & Life SUPPort SySteMS hUMAN-rAtiNg fAciLity’S vAcUUM chAMber iS cAPAbLe of SiMULAtiNg cAbiN Air PreSSUreS.

how to manufacture the resulting design,” MacCallum says. “We have to survive the environments of launch, in space, (and) transiting to and around the moon…The radiators are the first layer of protection for the tanks inside the service module. “Space is a very harsh environment…as well as rejecting heat, the radiators are also responsible for the first impact and breakup of the particles that would be coming to hit the spacecraft, thus protecting the propellant tanks” and other crucial elements of the craft,” he says. At Paragon, “there’s a real enthusiasm people have for the work they do,” MacCallum says, adding that customers like the fact that “all of my people” get involved in projects. “There’s a real dialogue and we’ve practically banned PowerPoint, which is incredibly refreshing to our customers,” including various government agencies and prime contractors, such as Lockheed Martin and Boeing. “Power corrupts and PowerPoint corrupts absolutely” says the CEO, citing an official statement from NASA that affirms that the use of the presentation software directly contributed to the crash of the Space Shuttle Columbia. “It allows you to summarize and leave out key details and the PowerPoint becomes the method of transmitting the information up the chain of authority. The person who wrote the PowerPoint isn’t necessarily in the room when it’s being used as the basis for a decision,” MacCallum says. Instead, the company used technical memos that require the scientific method. “Engineering is simply the economic application of science…You can use engineering to accomplish any number of things, not just monetarily,” MacCallum says. “So to the degree you’re not using the scientific method, you’re not doing good engineering...You don’t see PowerPoint in scientific journals. Why are we using them when people’s lives are at risk based on our engineering?” The technical memos allow for a dialogue and it can be brought up the chain of command with all the details contained within, he says. “And our customers love it! They get it immediately. They get real honest engineering done the old-fashioned way. It’s things like that that make us a leader in what we do.”

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Close+up


Close+up

eMbry-riddLe hAS beeN iNvoLved iN the SUcceSS of thiS high SchooL AviAtioN hiStory cLASS iN fLoridA.

STEM the Flow

Embry-Riddle, other programs aim to put more students into technology careers.

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WRITING BY :: ROBERT C. OWEN

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nless you live on the Kuiper Belt, you know that the United States is in the midst of an educational crisis. We are not producing enough high school and university graduates with respectable competencies in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) subjects and career fields. If the problem is not fixed, this country will loose its global technology leadership, our standard of living will decline, and Arizona’s dream of becoming a technology powerhouse will fizzle like a wet firecracker. Consider: • Most scientists and engineers now live in Asia. • South Korea graduates almost as many engineers as the United States. Yes, China’s educational standards are lower for engineers. But cast your false hope to the wind: Most U.S. engineering doctorates are awarded to foreign students, many sponsored by their governments. So, they’re going home to compete with you from there. Just as daunting, corporate leaders frequently report turning away business for lack of skilled workers. To fill the gap, they spend gazillions recruiting young people away from the burger grills of America and training them to work in high-tech processes. Problematically, most of these little jewels can’t do simple algebra, read blueprints, or write concise and grammatically credible emails, which means it costs a lot of time and money to train them.

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Fortunately, much is being done about STEM education nationally and in Arizona. Just Google “fixing STEM education” and you’ll see that money is flooding in, with the consequent proliferation of STEM-fixing programs ranging from really good to fraudulent. Among the really good programs in Arizona is Project Lead the Way, a private contractor that puts rigorous, hands-on STEM learning into several high schools. Arizona State University conducts early-college programs to accelerate the engineering educations of high-performing students. Numerous high schools offer STEM academies, and the Challenger Centers (for space science education) draw in younger students. ANother choice Of course, I like our program best. The Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University Aerospace Institute program in Prescott and Daytona Beach, Fla., partners school districts, local industry and universities to provide focused, dual-credit STEM education at a cost sustainable to school districts. At the heart of the program, we put professionally experienced professors into high schools to teach university programs of study in fields such as engineering, aviation, space physics and maintenance. They teach one or two classes a day for small stipends, mainly because they want to excite young people about the careers they love—and they do. The program has existed for seven years in Florida and Illinois, and now Embry-Riddle is working with local school districts to bring the

program to Arizona. The goal is to start in Arizona in August. Diversity is one of our watchwords. If we’re going to increase the number of technicians, engineers and other professionals going into technology careers, we’re going to have to look beyond the traditional sources of middleclass Caucasian and Asian males. We need to cast a wider net, drawing more women and people of all races and backgrounds. The Aerospace Institute program, therefore, aims to draw motivated kids from all social and economic strata into STEM. These programs show them that STEM careers are cool, intellectually doable and affordable. The bottom lines: 1) Almost any student willing to work can make this jump to university-level work, 2) Any student exploiting this program can afford to go to college, and 3) Any industry partner can make a profit in saved human resources costs and reap public relations rewards from this program because we tailor the curriculum to the requirements of local employers. This program has worked in Florida and Illinois. I hope to see the same thing happen in Arizona.

+ GET CONNECTED www.erau.edu

Robert C. Owen is a professor in the Department of Aeronautical Science and director of Advanced Placement Programs for the College of Aviation at EmbryRiddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach, Fla.


Feature

UofA Professorâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s

Excellent New arizona space mission A robotic planetary rover that helps blind people see

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WRITING BY :: KATE NOLAN

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cycLoPS

cientists pulled the plug on the Phoenix Mars Lander in November 2008. That’s when the dark Martian winter put the lander’s solar panels out of commission. Led by The University of Arizona, NASA’s $420 million Phoenix Mars mission has indeed wound down. After five months of data collection, it has turned terrestrial. Researchers are now studying measurements of dirt, ice and minerals, piecing together the red planet’s geological history. But UofA scientists refuse to remain earthbound. Now they’re designing a planetary rover, a robot that can wheel itself around, choose appropriate targets for study and avoid hazards on foreign orbs. Called Cyclops, the planetary robot will mimic a geologist poking around the field and transmit real time images to an orbiting spacecraft that can respond promptly to what Cyclops sees, according to its inventor. “We want to be able to send probes to faraway planets, and to Titan the Saturn moon. But it takes three hours round trip to send a signal back to earth from Saturn and retrieve it. We need an orbiting airship to take action right then and there,” says Wolfgang Fink, the recently named Edward and Maria Keonjian Distinguished Professor in Microelectronics at UofA. A new arrival from the California Institute of Technology, Fink and his Caltech colleagues first developed Cyclops to help blind people “see” and assist their mobility. Fink’s new job is to use the technology for space exploration. Because Cyclops also has multiple nonspace applications, the scientists believe they will be able to attract commercial support. The current Cyclops simulates the visual experience of a blind person who has been fitted with an experimental retinal implant. Driven by a silicon chip, the implant has electrodes that stimulate reti-

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nal nerves, signaling to the blind person’s brain some sort of image or sense of light, perhaps indicating where a door is.

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But only so much testing can be done directly on humans to assess what degree of mobility is possible using the implant. So Cyclops was invented in lieu of a blind person. Equipped with a camera that sees what a retinal implant would see, or whatever images the scientists want it to see, Cyclops can maneuver itself without assistance, like a person, in response to the camera view. “The ultimate goal is independent mobility, so (blind people) can move about a room or in the street,” says Fink. For him, it was a small leap from human navigator to planetary rover. “My lab at Caltech and what will be at The University of Arizona has two areas of interest: biomedicine and robotic exploration of space. I developed Cyclops so we don’t have to test on humans. It turns out, the robotic platform is perfect for using this technology for space,” Fink says. The two applications differ only in software. They both use internal cameras and send images to a computer. In space, the images would be subjected to instant analysis that would produce immediate navigational or other commands. Cyclops mimics the behavior of the handful of blind people who are using the experimental implant. It can do a 360-degree spin. Ultimately, it will have the advantage of a highly engineered carriage, calibrated for planetary treks. A physicist, Fink got into the medical end of the technology first, and later did work at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, where he met colleagues from The University of Arizona. “I got inspired and saw a new paradigm,” he says. In Fink’s paradigm, a battalion of rovers are set loose on a planet, while driven by a nearby “armada” of orbiting spacecraft.

Paradigm Shift He calls his scheme the “tier-scalable reconnaissance paradigm.” Search for it on Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ Tier-Scalable_Reconnaissance) and you’ll find Fink’s full description, which sounds like a page from a Star Wars script. Here’s a condensed version: Space missions use one lander or rover, for safety and engineering reasons, at the

tAUrUS ii After Lift-off

expense of mission reliability and scientific return. Rovers don’t explore multiple distant sites, or hazardous or scientifically interesting regions. Orbiting satellites, meanwhile, have a global perspective, but miss surface detail. Tier-scalable reconnaissance would distribute the data gathering across different logical tiers. Numerous vehicles would function in their own tiers. Spaceborne and airborne vehicles would map out areas of interest, acquire terrain data and then choose targets for the planetary rovers to visit and collect data. The space borne orbiters would control the airborne vehicles, and the airborne vehicles would control the ground-tier reconnaissance vehicles (rovers). Since they can be quite inexpensive, even expendable, many can be used collectively to explore numerous science targets. Even if one or more vehicles should fail, others can take up the slack and continue the mission. Meanwhile back in Arizona, Fink is setting his take-off date at 10 years to put a rover on Titan, and sooner for Earth’s moon. But he sees more immediate uses for Cyclops on Earth, in activities too hazardous for humans, such as detecting mines, or addressing disasters like the 1986 Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant tragedy in Ukraine. Cyclops might also be used for reconnaissance in military or other settings or to conduct research at the bottom of the ocean, using a ship or submarine as the orbiter. Fink has thought up yet another application, this one seemingly designed with his new state in mind. “It could even be used for mowing the grass at golf courses,” he proposes.

A New Air Freight ORBITAL SCIENCES TO RUN DELIVERIES BETWEEN EARTH AND SPACE STATION WRITING BY :: KATE NOLAN

Scientists at Orbital Sciences Corp. in Chandler are developing the first freight service for space. Using a missile to launch into space a maneuverable spacecraft with cargo holds, the $1.9 billion system is designed to provide freight delivery to and from the International Space Station. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration has contracted with Orbital to provide cargo service through 2015. “This will be the first time cargo is delivered to individuals not on the earth,” Orbital spokesman Barron Beneski says. Orbital’s Launch System’s Group in Chandler is developing the Taurus II, a low-cost, two-stage rocket that will launch Cygnus, a spacecraft that will carry cargo modules that can hold 6,000 pounds of freight for re-supply missions to the ISS. Design, manufacturing and testing of Taurus II is being done in Chandler and Dulles, Va., where Orbital is based. Test launches will be conducted at Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia, although the missile also will be launchable from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida and Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. A demonstration flight at Wallops is planned for early 2011, to be followed by operational flights. The idea is to provide regular, lowcost reliable access to space for civil, commercial and military uses, according to Orbital.


Tech Support We want to know what’s happening in the Arizona Technology Community. Submit newsworthy stories to editor@techconnectmag.com

And The Winners Are …

The stars of Arizona innovation came out when the 2009 Governor’s Celebration of Innovation was held at the Orpheum Theater in Phoenix. The Nov. 19 event was hosted by the Arizona Technology Council and the Arizona Department of Commerce. Along with the presentation of the OneNeck IT Services Lifetime Achievement Award to Craig Barrett, the retired CEO and chairman of Intel Corp., the other awards and their winners were: + William F. McWhortor Community Service Leader of the Year: Gen. Ronald E. Shoopman, president of Southern Arizona Leadership Council. As a community leader, Shoopman regularly pilots efforts that build and fortify economic competitiveness, supporting technology business and industry development.

“I would love to change the world, but they won’t give me the source code.”

+ Chairman’s Award: Ron Schott, executive emeritus of the Arizona Technology Council. Schott serves on The University of Arizona’s College of Business MIS Industry Advisory Council and College of Engineering Industry Advisory Council. He is also chairman of the Arizona Telecommunication Information Council and involved in various other community-related activities. + Pioneering Innovation: Universal Avionics Systems Corp. – Products from the Tucson-based manufacturer of avionics systems are used worldwide in aircraft ranging from helicopters to corporate aircraft and large commercial airliners. It now offers the business jet industry’s first line of wide area augmentation system-enabled flight management systems. This new generation of flight management systems will be used on business and regional jets to safely guide aircraft to a point a half-mile from the runway and only 200 feet above the ground. + Green Innovator of the Year: Yulex Corporation – The clean-tech biomaterials company commercially produces a renewable product from guayule (pronounced why-YOU-lee), a desert plant indigenous to Arizona. The company has developed proprietary processes and patents to produce the only U.S. source of sustainable latex and rubber for use in medical and specialty consumer products. + Innovator of the Year - Start-Up Company: Ubidyne Inc. – The company manufactures digital antenna-embedded radio systems for wireless communications. Its first product, the uB900 micro-radio, is the first digital radio system enabling operators worldwide to deploy Universal Mobile Telecommunications System services on the 900 MHz band. + Innovator of the Year - Small Company: General Plasma Inc. – The international supplier of thin film deposition equipment and technology serves numerous market segments including solar, architectural glass and industrial manufacturing. It has developed a revolutionary deposition technology that allows companies to produce highly efficient solar panels at a lower cost. + Innovator of the Year - Large Company: Universal Avionics Systems Corp. (see Pioneering Innovation.)

Higher Degree of Geek. Master of Science in Technology. Experience accelerated and customizable programs that will ignite the vision that burns in your dreams. You’re already in the game. Now, prepare to join technology’s elite. www.uat.edu/graduate or 877.UAT.GEEK 877.828.4335

The Industrial Associates Program at Arizona State University’s LeRoy Eyring Center for Solid State Science will host an open house 7:30 a.m. to noon on Jan. 27. The Center encourages industrial scientists to use the advanced instrumentation and expertise available at ASU to solve nano-characterization problems in materials. Whether a company’s interests are in diagnostic techniques for product development or applied materials research, understanding nanostructure and its relationship to performance is critical. To register or learn more, contact Herb Finkelstein at herb.f@asu.edu or call (480) 727-8578.

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Open House At ASU’s Solid State Center

the space issue

+ Innovator of the Year - Academia: Arizona State University – Polytechnic – Qiang Hu and Milton Sommerfeld, co-directors of the Laboratory for Algae Research and Biotechnology and professors of applied science and mathematics, developed a sustainable algal feedstock technology for production of a renewable petroleum substitute that can be converted into aviation fuel.

Advancing Computer Science > Artificial Life Programming > Digital Media Digital Video > Game Art & Animation > Game Design > Game Programming Network Engineering > Network Security > Robotics & Embedded Systems Technology Forensics > Technology Management > Virtual Modeling & Design Web & Social Media Technologies


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A MoSAic of iMAgeS froM the SUrfAce Stereo iMAger cAMerA oN the PhoeNix MArS LANder ShoWS A PortioN of the SPAcecrAft’S deck After deLiverieS of SeverAL MArtiAN SoiL SAMPLeS to iNStrUMeNtS oN the deck.

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Report Card avorable chemistry and episodes with thin films of liquid water during ongoing, longterm climate cycles may sometimes make the area where the Phoenix Mars Mission landed last year a favorable environment for microbes. “Not only did we find water ice, as expected, but the soil chemistry and minerals we observed lead us to believe this site had a wetter and warmer climate in the recent past—the last few million years—and could again in the future,” says Peter Smith of The University of Arizona. The Phoenix Mars Mission began science operations on the northern plains of Mars after landing May 25, 2008, and lasted five months until winter arrived. Smith headed the mission that used a long robotic arm to uncover and confirm the shallow ice table at its landing site, and other instruments to document snowfall and ground frost at its high polar latitude. A paper about Phoenix’s water studies, for which Smith is the lead author with 36 coauthors from six nations, cites clues supporting an interpretation that the soil has had films of liquid water in the recent past. The evidence for water and potential nutrients “implies that this region could have previ-

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ously met the criteria for habitability” during portions of continuing climate cycles, these authors conclude. The mission’s biggest surprise was finding a multi-talented chemical named perchlorate in the Martian soil. This Phoenix finding caps a growing emphasis on the planet’s chemistry, says Michael Hecht of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., who has 10 coauthors on a paper about Phoenix’s soluble-chemistry findings. “The study of Mars is in transition from a follow-the-water stage to a followthe-chemistry stage,” Hecht says. “With perchlorate, for example, we see links to atmospheric humidity, soil moisture, a possible energy source for microbes, even a possible resource for humans.” Perchlorate, which strongly attracts water, makes up a few tenths of a percent of the composition in all three soil samples analyzed by Phoenix’s wet chemistry laboratory. It could pull humidity from the Martian air. At higher concentrations, it might combine with water as a brine that stays liquid at Martian surface temperatures. Some microbes on Earth use perchlorate as food. Human explorers might find it useful as rocket fuel or for generating oxygen.

Phoenix Mars Mission results point to Martian climate cycles resemblance to earth Another surprise from Phoenix was finding ice clouds and precipitation more Earth-like than anticipated. The lander’s Canadian laser instrument used for studying the atmosphere detected snow falling from clouds. In one report, Jim Whiteway of York University, Toronto, and 22 coauthors wrote that, further into winter than Phoenix operated, this precipitation would result in a seasonal buildup of water ice on and in the ground. “Before Phoenix we did not know whether precipitation occurs on Mars,” Whiteway says. “We knew that the polar ice cap advances as far south as the Phoenix site in winter, but we did not know how the water vapor moved from the atmosphere to ice on the ground. Now we know that it does snow, and that this is part of the hydrological cycle on Mars.” Evidence that water ice in the area sometimes thaws enough to moisten the soil comes from finding calcium carbonate in soil heated in the lander’s analytic ovens or mixed with acid in the wet chemistry laboratory. The University of Arizona’s William Boynton and 13 coauthors report that the amount of calcium carbonate “is most consistent with formation in the past by the interaction of atmospheric carbon dioxide with


The Work Continues Scientists are seeing sub-surface water ice that may be 99 percent pure halfway between the north pole and the equator on Mars, thanks to quick-turnaround observations

- Peter Smith, head of the Phoenix Mars Mission

the space issue

This site had a wetter and warmer climate in the recent past—the last few million years— and could again in the future.

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liquid films of water on particle surfaces.” The new reports leave unsettled whether soil samples scooped up by Phoenix contained any carbon-based organic compounds. The perchlorate could have broken down simple organic compounds during heating of soil samples in the ovens, preventing clear detection. The heating in ovens did not drive off any water vapor at temperatures lower than 563 degrees Fahrenheit, indicating the soil held no water adhering to soil particles. Climate cycles resulting from changes in the tilt and orbit of Mars on scales of hundreds of thousands of years or more could explain why effects of moist soil are present.

Photo credit: NASA/The University of Arizona/JPL-Caltech/Texas A&M University

A mosaic of images from the Surface Stereo Imager camera on the Phoenix Mars Lander shows trenches dug by the craft in addition to a corner of the spacecraft’s deck and the Martian arctic plain stretching to the horizon.

from orbit of fresh meteorite impact craters on the planet. “We knew there was ice below the surface at high latitudes of Mars, but we find that it extends far closer to the equator than you would think, based on Mars’ climate today,” says Shane Byrne of The University of Arizona, a member of the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment, or HiRISE, which runs the high-resolution camera on NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. Separate from the Phoenix Mars Mission, the Orbiter is searching for evidence that water persisted on the surface of Mars for a long period of time. “The other surprising discovery is that ice exposed at the bottom of these meteorite impact craters is so pure,” Byrne says. “The thinking before was that ice accumulates below the surface between soil grains, so there would be a 50/50 mix of dirt and ice. We were able to figure out, given how long it took that ice to fade from view, that the mixture is about one percent dirt and 99 percent ice.” There are several theories about how a layer of such pure ice could have formed beneath Mars surface. Byrne says he thinks that one of the most promising ideas is that this ice on Mars formed in the same way that pure ice lenses form beneath the surface of the Earth. “That’s where you have very thin films of liquid water around ice grains and soil grains and they migrate around to form clear ice lenses on top of the ice table, even at temperatures well below zero. This process is called ‘frost heave’ on Earth, and it’s considered a nuisance in most places because it cracks up roads and tilts walls and destroys foundations of houses. “It would be of great interest if we could discover a process that involved liquid water in today’s climate, and not just in some of the warmest areas of the planet but in some of the coldest areas of the planet in the high latitude regions,” Byrne says.


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Back to the Moon

ASU, UofA are members of mission to scout best sites for man’s return W RITING BY :: A L A N FISCHER

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reliminary results from NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter spacecraft show significant progress in the mission’s efforts to pave the way for man’s return to the moon’s surface. The craft, now circling above the moon’s surface after a June 18 launch from Earth, carries seven instruments that will collect data for a detailed atlas of the moon that will be used to determine the best spots for future lunar exploration, says Craig Tooley, project manager at the Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. Researchers at Arizona State University and The University of Arizona are working on the project.

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“From an exploration standpoint with the maps (the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter) brings, (it) is designed to deliver in total what we need to put man back on the moon,” Tooley says recently. The craft has in the past few months gathered data from the moon’s southern polar region during a commissioning and instrument calibration mission after its journey from Earth. “The commissioning is complete, and it is essentially performing flawlessly,” Tooley says. Mark Robinson of Arizona State University is leading the mission’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera, or LROC, research effort. The LROC science operations center is at ASU’s School of


We will have an atlas that is valuable to NASA and all space exploration nations when we return to the moon.

moon ‘movie’ These high-resolution images, which Robinson likened to postage stamps, have a resolution of nearly 20 inches per pixel, he says. The spacecraft’s recent engine burn to put it in a fairly circular orbit about 31 miles above the lunar surface rather than its initial elliptical orbit should mean two times better image resolution, Robinson says. LROC’s wide angle camera, which “sees” in seven colors, has lower resolution of nearly 110 yards per pixel but each image taken covers much more ground area, he says. The wide-angle camera sees the entire surface of the moon every 28 days, he says. Over a period of time it will offer enough images to provide a “movie” of the moon’s surface in different lighting conditions. By noting which areas, like mountaintops, are nearly always in sunlight, sites for solar collectors can be determined to power future land missions, he says.

The narrow-angle camera, while it will pass over every longitude 12 times during the mission’s fi rst year, will provide images of only 10 percent of the moon’s surface due to the narrow swaths it photographs, he says.“We are mapping everywhere on the moon all the time. At the poles, you get exceptional coverage,” he says. The orbiter passes over the moon’s south pole every two hours, he says. The cost of the LROC portion of the mission will be approximately $15 million, Anderson says, depending on how long it lasts. “We hope it goes four or five years beyond the first year. We’d like to map the whole planet with the narrowangle camera.” LROC has already provided researchers with images of Apollo landing sites and has offered detailed views of the moon’s southern polar region, says Richard Vondrak, the orbital’s project scientist. “This is the finest resolution available. The smallest region seen is about the size of an automobile or smaller,” he says. “You can see the texture, the boulders, the evidence of impacts, the smooth areas. Data like this will be important for science as well as exploration.”

Water possible Preliminary results from the craft’s Lunar Exploration Neutron Detector instrument confirmed a shortage of low-energy neutrons, which indicates the presence of hydrogen, Vondrak says. “There appears to be concentrations of hydrogen that is not limited to the permanently shadowed regions,” he says. “It may be more widespread at the lunar south pole.” The presence of hydrogen can mean the presence of water. “If we want to send explorers back to the moon,

being able to extract water would be valuable,” Vondrak says. “What we don’t know is the abundance or how deep it is buried.” The instrument has its operations center at The University of Arizona’s Lunar and Planetary Lab and is headed by the Laboratory for Space Gamma-Ray Spectroscopy, Institute for Space Research in Moscow. Early data from the orbiter’s Diviner Lunar Radiometer Experiment instrument shows that permanently shaded areas near the moon’s south pole are extremely cold. Shadowed craters are about minus 400 degrees Fahrenheit, cold enough to store hydrogen or frozen water, Vondrak says. “The lunar south pole is among the coldest parts of the solar system, perhaps the coldest,” he says. “It’s comparable to what we expect on Pluto.” Areas of the lunar surface hit by the sun can reach temperatures of 220 degrees Fahrenheit, he adds. The orbital’s primary mission calls for it to orbit above the lunar surface for one year. Additional years may be added. “We will have an atlas that is valuable to NASA and all space exploration nations when we return to the moon,” says Michael Wargo, chief lunar scientist with NASA’s Exploration Systems Mission Directorate in Washington, D.C. “We’re making these atlases in three-ring binders because we will continue to get additional information from LRO after the fi rst year,” he says. “These maps are going to get better.”

Alan Fischer is a senior writer for Tech News Arizona, which covers science and technology. Its Web site is at www.technewsarizona.com.

+ GET CONNECTED sese.asu.edu

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Earth and Space Exploration, where 25 people are working on the project. “We make, every day, the commands that tell it when to take a picture. Those images are directed from the spacecraft to here and we process all the data here on the ground,” says Robinson, the LROC principal investigator. LROC covers about 12 degrees of the moon’s longitude each day, sending researchers on Earth 300 to 400 images, he says. It uses two narrow-angle cameras working in tandem and one wide-angle camera, as well as a sequence and compressor system that supports data acquisition. The twin narrow-angle cameras send back images of areas covering 24 square miles that are joined to make an image representing 48 square miles of the moon’s surface, Robinson says.

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- Lunar Scientist Michael Wargo


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eachers from across the state have looked to the heavens for help training Arizona’s future science and technology workforce. It’s not a higher power but rather the spirit of a celestial explorer that helped. With support from Science Foundation Arizona, the Arizona Center for STEM Teachers at The University of Arizona’s B2 Institute in Oracle recently held its fall training workshop called At the Speed of Light. Teachers learned interactive curriculum incorporating optics, refraction, laser technologies, and solar power with the simple yet powerful “Galileoscope.” Named for the pioneering Italian astronomer, the low-cost telescope has been used in Arizona schools and others across the country. It was fitting the fall workshop helped mark the International Year of Astronomy as teachers from Chinle, Kingman, Tucson, St. Johns, Kayenta and metro Phoenix participated in the hands-on teaching enrichment program. “We’re fortunate to have an organization like Science Foundation Arizona advocating

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so effectively for science and astronomy literacy in Arizona and in Washington,” said Jeffrey Hall, deputy director of Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff. “I don’t know of anybody who isn’t fascinated by the night sky and the stars, and this fascination can be exploited to great benefits in STEM education, from the kindergarten to high school and beyond,” said William C. Harris, president and CEO of Science Foundation Arizona. “We are pleased to see innovative methods of professional development for teachers that will enable them to more actively engage students.”

sTEm initiative “Finding ways to get students to connect STEM subjects with day-to-day life—in this case, the night sky—is one of the most effective methods of helping them build their critical thinking skills,” said Darcy Renfro, executive director of Science Foundation Arizona’s STEM Education Initiative. Since 2006, Science Foundation’s K-12 education programs have helped educate more than 54,000 students in critical science, technology, engineering and math,

or STEM, excellence. This learning helps build 21st century skills necessary for a globally competitive Arizona economy. The Center for STEM Teachers hosts on-going training sessions for instructors statewide in an effort to bring more STEM education into the state’s classrooms. The support of the teachers is provided by the Arizona 21st Century Fund. Funding for operations of the STEM Education Initiative is provided by Freeport-McMoRan Copper and Gold. The Galileoscope was the star of another teaching event when optics researcher Stephen Pompea, a Science Foundation Arizona principal investigator who leads a hands-on optics education program in rural Arizona, showcased a view of the stars at a White House Star Party recently. He provided attendees with a perspective of the constellations and planets through the telescope. His optics program further engages students in building refracting telescopes, experimenting with lenses and mirrors, creating color-changing optics using polarization, and using lasers to learn the basic properties of light.


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ASU researchers help NASA test new set of wheels for the moon

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hen astronauts set out to explore the moon, they can credit the work of Desert RATS for getting them ready. Every year NASA’s Desert Research and Technology Studies group, or Desert RATS, conducts technology development tests in the desert at Black Point Lava Flow, part of northern Arizona’s San Francisco Volcanic Field. This year two key members from ASU’s School of Earth and Space Exploration, James Rice and Kip Hodges, joined the engineers and geologists from several NASA laboratories and a variety of private and academic partners. The highlight this year was an intensive simulated mission during which an astronaut and a geologist lived for more than 300 hours inside the new Lunar Electric Rover, or LER. The explorers scouted the area for features of geological interest, then donned spacesuits and conducted simulated moonwalks to collect samples. They also docked to a simulated habitat, drove the rover across difficult terrain, performed a rescue mission and made a four-day traverse across the rough terrain. “We had a very detailed timeline from Mission Control that we had to work with to make sure we achieved our science goals,”

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says Rice, a faculty research associate at the ASU school and principal investigator of one of the study’s geology traverses. “Sometimes we had issues with loss of communications, equipment or the rover and this caused the whole operation to get behind on the timeline. It was very realistic.” He was in charge of developing routes the rover and crew followed during the simulation. He had to factor in science objectives, rover driving speed, time for the crew to put on and take off spacesuits before and after geology investigations, and the time required to drive to the next station.

The Right Place The Arizona desert is well-suited for testing technologies and procedures for future human-robotic exploration in extreme environments. “You have to test hardware and concepts in a real world environment with real geology, slopes, rocks, dust, etc. and the unexpected,” explains Rice. LER, the next-generation rover, is an allelectric vehicle with 12 wheels. The frame of this mobile base camp was developed in conjunction with an off-road race truck team, making it able to travel hundreds of kilometers over rugged terrain. Its wheels

can move sideways in a “crabbing” motion, one of many features that make it skilled at scrambling over rocks. It is also capable of housing two astronauts for up to two weeks with sleeping and sanitary facilities. Hodges, the ASU school’s founding director and science team member of Desert RATS, was involved with this year’s tests on a number of levels. He was the principal scientist of the K10 robot, which was developed at NASA’s Ames Research Center. “The K10 robot was employed in these tests in order to evaluate the added value of robotic reconnaissance of a planetary landscape prior to sending humans into the field for scientific research,” explains Hodges. He also served in the science “backroom” for the LER human tests. “We are continuously working to meet the challenges of a human outpost on the Moon,” Rice says.

Nicole Staab is the coordinator of media and public relations for the School of Earth and Space Exploration at Arizona State University. + GET CONNECTED sese.asu.edu


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apping the rings of Saturn … exploring the surface of Mars … unlocking the secrets of Mercury. Even the briefest glance at The University of Arizona’s space exploration initiatives stirs the imagination of young and old alike. But beyond the “Oh, wow!” factor, the UofA’s space exploration activities contribute to the well-being of the community in a number of concrete ways, says Leslie Tolbert, UofA vice president for research, graduate studies and economic development. “When we think about astronomy, we don’t typically see a lot of technology transfer leading to the creation of spin-off companies, as you do in biotech,” she explains. “But, in fact, you can make a very good economic case for ‘science for science’s sake.’ ” A 2006 study conducted by The University of Arizona’s Eller College of Management for the Arizona Arts, Sciences and Technology Academy underscored that case. The study, led by Vera PavlakovichKochi, examined the economic impact of astronomy, planetary, and space sciences

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research in Arizona. It focused on research dollars—generally federal funds—that are injected into Arizona’s economy and, in turn, create jobs, wages and salaries, as well as sales and tax revenues. The report concluded that astronomy, planetary and space sciences research contributed $252.8 million to Arizona’s economy in fi scal year 2006, including $138.6 million in wages and salaries and $11.9 million in tax revenues for the state, counties and cities. The sector also was responsible for the creation of 3,328 jobs—1,830 jobs directly in the research sector and another 1,498 jobs as employees purchased goods and services in the community. The university’s space exploration activities contribute significantly to this impact, both statewide and in the local community. “The physical sciences bring in a huge fraction of The University of Arizona’s extramural funding,” Tolbert says. “Our R&D (research and development) expenditures in this area put us among the top few universities in the nation.”

No. 1 In R&D Spending In 2007—the most recent year for which data are available—the National Science Foundation ranked the university first among U.S. public universities in research and development expenditures in the physical sciences. The same year, it ranked second (after California Institute of Technology) among all universities in the United States. Much of the space exploration research enterprise is clustered in two departments, astronomy and planetary sciences. The astronomy department is associated with Steward Observatory, one of the world’s leading astronomical research centers, and the Steward Observatory Mirror Lab, which has created mirrors for some of the most sophisticated telescopes in the world. Planetary sciences, along with its Lunar and Planetary Laboratory, has played a key role in a number of high-visibility aerospace projects, including NASA’s recent Phoenix Mars Lander mission. In fiscal year 2008, the UofA’s R&D expenditures in astronomy totaled $106.8 million and in planetary sciences, $34.5 million. The local economic impact of the

credit: NASA/JPL-cALtech/UNiverSity of ArizoNA

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Not Just About Exploration


Companies such as Raytheon Missile Systems rely on the university to provide the highly qualified scientists and engineers it needs to grow. Writing in The Arizona Republic in June, company President Taylor Lawrence emphasized this important relationship. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Raytheon Co., which has 73,000 employees worldwide, recruits more students from the University of Arizona than any

His passion is evident when he talks about his commitment to community outreach. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We want to engage all students in the power of technology and space exploration,â&#x20AC;? he says. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Through activities like our Space Camp program and our K-12 Space Grant Initiative, we work with students and teachers at all levels. We want to help them experience those â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;wow!â&#x20AC;&#x2122; momentsâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;moments that stay with you forever.â&#x20AC;? Such moments abounded during the recent Phoenix Mars Lander mission. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Students and their parents flocked to the universityâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Science Center to learn about the Mars Lander,â&#x20AC;? Tolbert says. â&#x20AC;&#x153;It was the opportunity of a lifetime to engage students in the excitement of space exploration.â&#x20AC;?

The physical sciences bring in a huge fraction of The University of Arizonaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s extramural funding. â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Vice President Leslie Tolbert

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the space issue

Talent Pipeline

other school,â&#x20AC;? Lawrence wrote. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Over the past five years, more than 460 of Raytheonâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s college hires came from Arizona universities, and of those, 350 were from UA.â&#x20AC;? A key aspect of UofAâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s space exploration enterprise is the close collaboration of scientists and engineers. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Space exploration is at least 50 percent engineering,â&#x20AC;? Ruiz says, â&#x20AC;&#x153;and very sophisticated engineering.â&#x20AC;? In facilities such as Steward Observatory and the Lunar and Planetary Lab, scientists and engineers work shoulder to shoulderâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;an approach that isnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t often feasible in more traditional university settings. The result, Ruiz says, is the development of â&#x20AC;&#x153;breathtaking technologyâ&#x20AC;? that wouldnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t be possible without sustained, high-level collaboration. Jeff Goldberg, dean of the College of Engineering, supports this collaboration. He notes that while space exploration is not the major focus of his college, the 450 engineers who graduate annually help to provide a skilled and desirable labor force for Tucsonâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s high technology companies. Finally, another importantâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;if somewhat less tangibleâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;benefit of the universityâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s space exploration activities is what Ruiz describes as â&#x20AC;&#x153;sparking the imagination of children and keeping alive our sense of awe.â&#x20AC;?

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universityâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s space initiatives, however, goes well beyond these direct R&D expenditures. According to UofA economist Jaewon Lim, expenditures in these areas were responsible for the creation of about 2,064 jobs in Pima County in fiscal 2008, with a total wage impact of about $95.5 million. Total economic impact of the expenditures in astronomy and planetary sciences in Pima County for fiscal 2008 was about $234.7 million. Overseeing the universityâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s space initiatives among many others is Joaquin Ruiz, dean of the College of Science. He notes that in addition to direct economic impact, the universityâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s space exploration activities benefit the community by supporting its high technology industry and adding to its national reputation for excellence in science and technology.


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Research team says extraterrestrial impact caused Ice Age extinctions W RITING BY :: LISA NELSON

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A coLorized ScANNiNg eLectroN MicroScoPe iMAge of A gLASSy cArboN SPhere thAt coNtAiNS evideNce of extrAterreStriAL iMPAct.

hat caused the extinction of mammoths and the decline of Stone Age people about 13,000 years ago remains hotly debated. Overhunting by Paleo-Indians, climate change and disease lead the list of probable causes. But an idea once considered a little out there is now hitting closer to home. A team of international researchers, including two Northern Arizona University geologists, reports evidence that a comet or low-density object barreling toward Earth exploded in the upper atmosphere and triggered a devastating swath of destruction that wiped out most of the large animals, their habitat and humans of that period. “The detonation either fried them or compressed them because of the shock wave,” said Ted Bunch, NAU adjunct professor of geology and former NASA researcher who specializes in impact craters. “It was a mini nuclear winter.” Bunch and Jim Wittke, a geologic materials analyst at NAU, are co-authors of the paper, which fingers an extraterrestrial impact 12,900 years ago for the mass extinctions at the end of the Ice Age. The paper was released online in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The research team includes several members of the U.S.

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National Academy of Sciences and researchers from Hungary and the Netherlands. No one has found a giant crater in the Earth that could attest to such a cataclysmic impact 13,000 years ago. But the research team offers evidence of a comet, 2½ to 3 miles in diameter, that detonated 30 to 60 miles above the Earth, triggering a massive shockwave, firestorms and a subsequent drastic cooling effect across most of North America and northern Europe. “The comet may have broken up into smaller pieces as it neared the Earth and then these pieces detonated in various places above two continents,” Bunch said.

Earthly Evidence The evidence for multiple detonations comes from a 4-inch-thick “black mat” of carbonrich material that appears as far north as Canada, Greenland and Europe, to as far south as the Channel Islands off the coast of California and eastward to the Carolinas. Two sites exist in Arizona at Murray Springs and Lehner Ranch, both near Sierra Vista. Evidence of mammoths and other megafauna and early human hunters, known as the Clovis culture, are found beneath the black mat but are missing entirely within or above it. This led the research team to conclude an extraterrestrial impact wiped out many of the inhabitants of the Late

credit: SeM iMAgiNg by JiM Wittke

Pleistocene. Bunch notes that some animals may have survived in protected niches. The black mat was formed by ponding of water and algal blooms and contains carbon, soot and glassy carbon-remnants of burned materials. Some of these remnants are extraterrestrial in nature. For example, the research team has identified fullerenes, spherical carbon cages resembling soccer balls that are formed in shock events outside the Earth’s atmosphere. Trapped inside the fullerenes is a concentration of helium 3 that is many times greater than what is found in the Earth’s atmosphere.

The detonation either fried them or compressed them because of the shock wave. It was a mini nuclear winter. — Ted Bunch, NAU adjunct professor of geology and former NASA researcher The black mat also has turned up nanodiamonds, which are formed in the interstellar medium outside the solar system, or by a high-explosive detonation. “Either these things came in with the impactor or they were made during impact detonation. We have no other explanation for their presence,” Bunch said. The magnitude of the detonations would have been huge. “A hydrogen bomb is the equivalent of about 100 to 1,000 megatons,” Bunch said. “The detonations we’re talking about would be about 10 million megatons. That’s larger than the simultaneous detonation of all the world’s nuclear bombs, past and present.”

Lisa Nelson is director of the Office of Public Affairs at Northern Arizona University.

credit: Photo by Jerry foreMAN

NAU’S ted bUNchf iS MeMber of A teAM thAt hAS foUNd evideNce of AN extrAterreStriAL iMPAct thAt MAy hAve WiPed oUt the MAMMothS ANd other ice Age SPecieS.


Common Ground. Uncommon Vision.

Quarles & Bradyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Bioscience Practice For over two decades, Quarles & Brady has represented biotechnology companies, universities, educational institutions, medical device companies and others in the life science industry. We provide a full range of counseling to our clients in this industryâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;from the protection, commercialization and enforcement of intellectual property rights to public and private financings and providing support for mergers and acquisitions. For more information, please contact Jessica Franken, Phoenix Intellectual Property Group Chair, at 602-230-5520 or jfranken@quarles.com

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airlines, business and general aviation, military, space and airport operations. The bigger players in the Arizona aerospace industry also include companies such as The Boeing Company, General Dynamics and Lockheed Martin. However, the majority of companies in the area are small to medium-size businesses that are suppliers to the larger companies.

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Aerospace in Arizona WRITING BY :: GOV. JAN BREWER

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028 necessary part of Arizona’s move toward a high-tech economy is our sustaining and further developing high-skilled, high paying jobs—such as those created in the aerospace and defense industries. Arizona ranks in the Top 10 for related aerospace exports in the United States. There are nearly 500 companies employing more than 250,000 professionals within the industry, and the U.S. Department of Defense places Arizona in the Top Five states for defense contracts. Arizonans should take great pride in the important programs that reside in our state, such as the Raytheon Missile Systems plant in Tucson—the only facility in the country that can produce fully assembled

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missiles from start to finish for all U.S. and allied military customers. It helps keep our troops safe in Iraq and Afghanistan, while protecting our homeland from unstable regimes abroad. NASA’s next generation space shuttle mission will feature critical technological advances created by Paragon Space Development Corp., including the first new space suit in more than 30 years. Tucson’s Paragon is also working on essential life-support systems for NASA’s Orion Exploration Vehicle, as well as with the U.S. Navy on a specialized suit and helmet to protect divers in contaminated waters. Honeywell’s $12 billion aerospace business is a leading global provider of integrated avionics, engines, systems and service solutions for aircraft manufacturers,

Aerospace and defense-related parts account for a majority of Arizona’s export products. In 2008, exports from the state to the rest of the world grew by more than a half-billion dollars from 2007 to $19.74 billion—a 2.68 percent increase. Data from the U.S. Department of Commerce and the Arizona Department of Commerce indicate electrical machinery was the most indemand, accounting for $7.2 billion. I believe the aerospace and defense industries are and must continue to be a driving force for our state’s prosperity. They account for 57,000 jobs in Arizona with a total industry payroll of $3.4 billion. I have no greater focus than to grow jobs in Arizona, and, given the right tools, we will do just that, together. One way to stimulate the Arizona economy is for government to know when to provide support to our industries and when to step aside, allowing the creators of jobs and wealth to energize the marketplace. We must work together so these programs and industries remain healthy, and we must ensure our state is positioned to attract new programs in the future. With the recent creation of the Arizona Aerospace Institute and the expertise of the Arizona Aerospace and Defense Commission, we are on the right path to expanding this critical component for the state’s economy. + GET CONNECTED www.azgoverner.gov


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PAC Is Born T

he Arizona Technology Council has created a political action committee, or PAC, to identify and support those candidates for public office who best represent the values and goals of the state’s technology community. The Council’s PAC includes representatives of business, labor and other special-interest groups who will raise money and make contributions to the campaigns of candidates whom the committee supports. The collective voice of the PAC will work to create a better place for technological advancement and growth as well as technology-based economic development. It will focus on technology commercialization and development, workforce development, supply-chain development, capital formation, research and development, economic sustainability, education and reduced business tax burden and tax credits—all

core interests of the Council’s more than 500 member companies. The Council joins other trade organizations and companies that have PACs, which have been successful ensuring candidates who support their issues can campaign and be elected with the help of financial contributions. Participation in the new PAC is limited to Council members. Regional offices in Phoenix and Tucson serve the Council’s members throughout the state. With the assistance of its committees, the Council hosts many events throughout the year to provide members and nonmembers with networking, employment, and educational opportunities. The annual Governor’s Celebration of Innovation honors the best of best in Arizona’s science and technology industries. For more information about the PAC or Council membership, visit www.aztechcouncil.org.

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“Celebrating 10 years of Excellence in Staffing”


MEMBERS: Alerion Capital Group is a private equity and management advisory firm headquartered in Scottsdale with an office in Salt Lake City. It invests in technology sector later-stage, middle-market companies located in the West. Alerion provides investment capital coupled with strategic business expertise gained through the group’s extensive management experience at industry- leading technology firms. www.alerion.com

Phoenix-based AZEVAP is a disabled-veteran-owned business involved in commercial and industrial evaporative cooler manufacturing. It was founded on commercially demonstrated and patented design and control system changes that yield a sustainable step change improvement in cooling performance, energy and water savings. This engineered technology combined with features to extend a cooler’s life and minimize maintenance delivers a high return on investment. www.azevap.com AZ Gift Cards is Arizona’s No. 1 wholesale gift card company with more than 30 half-price deals on cards from restaurants, hotels, night clubs and entertainment venues. That means 50 percent off its entire list of gift cards, most of which have no expiration or restrictions. They’re great for saving money on corporate events, employee incentives and fundraisers. www.azgiftcards.com

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Az4Solar.org is a non-profit trade association helping to create a solar energy economy in Arizona. It is collaborating with economic development agencies, municipalities, educational institutions, private industry and other business organizations. Its mission is to ensure that Arizona develops and deploys the right mix of people and resources to create a vibrant and sustainable solar energy ecosystem that will support thousands of high-wage jobs. www.az4solar.org

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BillingTree empowers customers with competitive advantage through simplification of the billing and receivables process. By delivering the most innovative technology while making it as easy and inexpensive as possible to accept payments, BillingTree has revolutionized the payments landscape. Its softwareas-a-service (SaaS) model delivers industry leading payment solutions, proven integration and point-andclick simplicity. www.mybillingtree.com Blue Spinner is software that helps any organization run internal operations more efficiently and accurately, saving time and money while improving customer service. It is Web-based and hosted remotely, requiring no technology support personnel, and is sold on a monthly per user basis without contracts. Its main areas include CRM, project and task management, products and services inventory management, reports, and an administration section that customizes the software. www.bluespinner.com Bull HN Information Systems, Inc. offers Arizona businesses a single source for technology, consulting, and related IT services. Bull helps companies manage their IT operations in cost-effective ways, allowing them to focus energy and resources on their core business strategies. Its services include monitoring and reporting, network management, data backup and restoration, performance management, disaster recovery, infrastructure architecture analysis and

design, technology migration analysis and design, and facility migration. www.bull.us CarrierBid Communications is a voice and data networking consulting firm representing more than 25 leading service providers. It can help any size business—from small, single location companies to national enterprises. CarrierBid secures the best possible price, manages the entire service installation and provides ongoing customer support. Its expertise working with incumbent and competitive local exchange carriers, cable companies and Internet service providers won’t cost you a penny extra because the company charges no fees. www. CarrierBid.com CGS Technologies is a superior fabrication, assembly and supply company specializing in non-metallic materials for gasket applications such as thermal insulators, gap pads, form-in-place gasketing, EMI/ RFI shielding, elastomeric seals, and thermal vacuum baking for the outgassing of materials. Its continued excellence earned the company a place in the 2009 Inc. 5,000 fastest growing private companies in the United States—its third consecutive year. www. cgstech.com Chief People Officer is a strategy-services company that offers a human-resources management system to enhance and manage the entire employee life cycle from hire to retire. The system incorporates a strategy execution component aligned with a performance-management module. A customizable infrastructure allows an organization to improve bottom line results with better execution and higher employee engagement. www.cpohr.com Clarisoft Technologies delivers high-value, softwaredevelopment services through a very flexible onshore/ offshore model. With top developers and designers, excellent communications and availability, it has delivered more than 50 desktop and mobile applications as well as Web sites and applications to clients in 10 countries. It can work with or without a company’s IT team to develop applications and web sites quickly and inexpensively. www. clarisofttechnologies.com Phoenix-based DocSolid creates, sells and supports document imaging solutions for the legal and accounting industries. The company was established by Steve Irons, founder of ImageTag and inventor of KwikTag, to build customer solutions based on the KwikTag paper-to-digital platform. KwikTag document imaging software is a patented, enterprise-level solution that automates paper-intensive business activities. www.docsolid.com Fish & Richardson has more than 425 lawyers practicing intellectual property, litigation and technology law. Recently named one of the leading IP law firms in the United States by Managing Intellectual Property magazine, Fish took top ranking in eleven categories, including patent prosecution, patent litigation, and life sciences. Teresa Lavoie, a principal in Fish’s patent practice, is based in Arizona and focuses her efforts on the biotech, life science and pharmaceutical industries. www.fr.com G2G consulting, llc (Government to Growth) has obtained $22 million in non-dilutive government funding for clients with a 70 percent success rate

during the past two years. It provides strategic government affairs and economic development consulting. G2G targets small to mid-size businesses, matches them with as many government funding sources as possible then develops a strategy to complete needed applications and access funds. www. g2gconsulting.com Global Patent Solutions, LLC is an intellectual property research and consulting firm that specializes in technical and patent research services that help clients with their invention concepts, lower their costs, increase/discover revenue streams, and operate more efficiently. Its experts gather critical data used for filing patent applications, infringement and patent validity analysis, identifying licensing opportunities for existing IP, performing competitive analysis, and locating technology gaps/holes where IP is lacking. www.globalpatentsolutions.com Green Tech Assets, LLC offers secure technology recycling services. The cornerstones for its processing are no exporting, landfilling or incinerating while adhering to the most stringent stewardship guidelines. By assuming legal and environmental responsibilities, GTA guarantees an institution’s technology recycling complies with all state and federal regulations and indemnifies the client against potential lawsuits. It documents and regularly checks its downstream vendors to ensure their compliance. www. greentechassets.com Integrated Outsource Solutions provides manufacturing outsourcing services in both the United State and Asia, specializing in full-service manufacturing supply chain management. IOS provides expertise in delivering solutions to manufacturing challenges such as low margins, capability and capacity expansion. An array of capabilities with more than 100 manufacturing companies assures goals are achieved. Customers typically realize manufacturing cost reductions of 20 percent to 40 percent. www.i-o-solutions.com Isos Technology guides IT business solutions, providing a smooth transition from idea to implementation. It assists clients by steering their wants and needs, providing reduced costs, reducing risk, and offering greater business flexibility to help them work more efficiently. Isos Technology provides effective and efficient IT consulting and staffing services, enabling it to provide the most flexible and cost-efficient solutions. It also provides a range of cloud computing offerings. www.isostech.com, cloud. isostech.com, apps.isostech.com. Tempe-based Leap Innovation helps small and mid-sized companies improve their business innovation using quality best practices. It specializes in the high-tech, aerospace and medical-device industries. It takes a collaborative approach to solving business challenges, first assessing current business environment and identifying opportunities for improvement. It then develops an integrated solution to optimize people, processes and tools. www. leapinnovation.com The LeRoy Eyring Center for Solid State Science at Arizona State University provides a wide range of laboratory facilities for materials synthesis, processing and analysis. Its laboratories provide a valuable resource for use by local and national high


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MEMBERS: technology industry through industrial outreach or affiliates programs. The laboratories provide three primary functional capabilities: synthesis, processing and characterization; high-resolution micro structural and chemical analysis; and computing analysis, modeling and visualization. http://le-csss.asu.edu Lightstone Solutions, LLC is a multi-disciplinary consulting firm that provides computer forensics and electronic discovery, litigation support services, investigative due diligence, private investigation and research, background investigations, and regulatory consulting. The computer forensics division of Lightstone Solutions is a nationally recognized leader in the areas of computer forensic investigations, electronic discovery, and network forensics. www. lightstonesolutions.com

Marsh is the world’s leading insurance broker, intermediary and risk advisor. With 24,000 employees and annual revenues approaching $5 billion, it serves more clients in more industries worldwide than any firm in its industry. Marsh sees risk and the accompanying opportunities in all its permutations. Extraordinary Times. Exceptional People. Innovative Solutions. www.global.marsh.com Onverse is an online virtual world that is more of a 3D social network than a traditional video game. This social core is the platform from which it will attach all its future games and applications. Onverse is free, but also sells virtual currency to upgrade to premium items. Available for both PC and Mac, it has grown 1,000 percent to more than 60,000 users while significantly improving content, reducing barriers to entry, and increasing conversion rates. www.onverse.com

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Loop Demand Gen is a full-service, specialized demand generation and marketing support group that provides end-to-end, strategy-driven customer interaction management campaigns for businessto-business clients. This is achieved through telemarketing and telephone prospecting, online brand engagement, e-mail marketing and marketing automation, search engine optimization, advanced analytics, and customer relationship management. www.loopdemandgen.com

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OSAM Document Solutions Inc. has established lasting partnerships through a unique approach to understanding customers’ painful inefficiencies and lack of compliance around document capture, document retrieval, workflow processing and document storage. Its growth is a result of listening to customers, rapid solution deployment, low cost of ownership, and showing a return on investment. www. osaminc.com PerformanceEdge Partners is a business development firm that provides the investment capital and management services that enable small and medium-sized business owners to get their enterprises to the next level of performance. Services focus on uncovering faster paths to profitability, relevant growth options, optimizing sales velocity and ensuring long-term financial sustainability. performanceedgepartners.com Precision Business Intelligence, LLC provides world-class business intelligence, data warehousing and corporate performance-management services

to clients ranging from mid-tier businesses to the world’s largest multinational corporations. Services range from rapid “health check” assessments to full-scale strategy and architecture engagements, and also include assisting clients with “inspector general” project and architecture reviews. www. precisionbusinessintelligence.com With facilities in Redmond, Wash., and Tucson, Prototron Circuits is the quick-turn printed circuit board manufacturer for people who value quality and on-time delivery. Whether the need is a prototype PCB or medium volume production, its goal is to always deliver production-quality circuit boards on time. With Prototron’s strong engineering support, it can provide assistance with impedance calculations as well as unique solutions to complex design issues. www. prototron.com John Peeke-Vout, founder of PV Business Consulting, has more than 30 years of business and IT management and consulting experience across diverse industries, including technology, higher education, finance, apparel, legal litigation and insurance. He has a track record of enhancing corporate revenues by defining automation needs, creating new infrastructures and procedures, and defining and delivering solutions optimized for ROI. www.pvbusinessconsulting.com

Symantec is a global leader in providing security, storage and systems management solutions to help consumers and organizations in their informationdriven world. Its software and services protect against more risks at more points, more completely and efficiently, enabling confidence wherever information is used or stored. www.symantec.com/business Systems Solutions Inc. has supplied the nation with many types of data processing and Internetrelated services and technical solutions. With emphasis on after-sale support and maintenance, its services include server collocations in its data centers, virtual servers/rentals, online/offsite backup service, networks design and management, custom programming, monitoring mission critical operations, Web site development, and Web hosting. www.syspac.com Taylor Winfield Executive Search offers solutions in retained executive search, middle-management placement and consulting services focused on executive retention, coaching and training. Core industries include high tech, clean tech, professional, consumer and retail services, education and nonprofit. Taylor Winfield provides comprehensive, customized services to its clients—from management team buildout to the board room. www.taylorwinfield.com

Right Management is the talent and career management expert within Manpower, the global leader in employment services. It helps clients win in the changing world of work by designing and executing solutions that align talent strategy with business strategy. Its expertise spans talent assessment, leader development, organizational effectiveness, employee engagement, and workforce transition and outplacement. www.right.com

TERIS is a full-service litigation support solution provider of sophisticated consultation-based solutions, state-of-the-art technologies and highly experienced project management. TERIS services include eDiscovery, consulting and project management, repository/hosting, document imaging, digital forensic and traditional reprographics. It also provides valuable research, analysis, and information management assistance. DiscoverTeris.com

Seity, Inc. provides management consulting to improve organization effectiveness with methods that emphasize a systems perspective and organization-learning principles to sustain change and improvements that meet business results and improve productivity. Company President Dr. Deborah Peck developed KES (Knowledge, Experience, Skills) Network Analysis, which offers a clear understanding of how people interact in the workplace and how the work really gets done. The results are cost reduction and lower risk. www.seity.com

Titan Power specializes in power and air systems for data center and computer room facilities. As a licensed general contractor, it has the expertise to manage all aspects of designing, engineering and construction of computer rooms, data centers and telecommunication centers. Titan Power is a distributor of a wide range of products to satisfy all critical power and air needs from manufacturers customers know and trust. www.titanpower.com

Silicon Maps, Inc. is preparing its 2010 Silicon Desert Map and Calendar, featuring top Arizona technology companies. The map and calendar are directed to thousands of high-tech companies, schools and industry professionals; distributed at industry trade shows and events; and sold and displayed at Fry’s Electronics stores. This is a desirable and longlasting gift for customers. www.siliconmaps.com/silicon_desert1.html

UMB Financial Corp. offers complete banking, asset management, health spending solutions and related financial services to both individual and business customers nationwide. Subsidiaries and the lead bank, UMB Bank, include mutual fund and alternative investment services groups, single-purpose companies that deal with brokerage services and insurance, and a registered investment advisor who manages proprietary mutual funds and investment advisory accounts for institutional customers. www.umb.com

Stewart, Cooper & Coon has four operating divisions: executive placement, corporate outplacement, pre/on boarding and recruiting. It serves the recruiting and job search needs of both corporations and six-figure executives throughout the United States and Canada. In the past decade, it has provided executive placement and career advice, counseled or been in contact with more than 100,000 executives in job search or transition. www. stewartcoopercoon.com

WITI is the leading trade association for professional, tech-savvy women committed to using technology, resources and connections to advance women worldwide. With a global network and a market reach exceeding 2 million, WITI has established powerful strategic alliances and programs to provide connections, resources, and opportunities within a supportive environment of women committed to helping each other. www.witi.com/center/ regionalchapter/phoenix


The University of Arizonaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Office of the

The College of Technology and Innovation at Arizona State University Polytechnic congratulates Professors Qiang Hu and Milton Sommerfeld on their Governorâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Innovation Award.

Vice President for Research, Graduate Studies, and Economic Development congratulates Ron Shoopman, president

making energy green

of the Southern Arizona Leadership Council, for being named the 2009

The College of Technology and Innovation at Arizona State University Polytechnic congratulates Professors Qiang Hu and Milton SommerďŹ eld on their Governorâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Innovation Award. Their efforts to convert algal feedstock Their efforts to convert into biofuelalgal epitomizes the collegeâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s feedstock into innovative spirit. biodiesel epitomizes the collegeâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s innovative spirit.

William F. McWhortor Community Service Leader of the Year by the Arizona Technology Council.

Official logos of The University of Arizona ?6@7E96D6=@8@G6CD:@?D23@G6@C2,C:?E2??6C>FDE2AA62C@?E967C@?E@72==,C6=2E65AC:?E65 ?)8?%/.?C?XPDF!>2E6C:2=D:?4=F5:?83C@49FC6D2??F2=C6A@CEDAF3=:42E:@?D2??@F?46>6?EDAC6D6?E2E:@?7@=56CD52E2D966ED ?6HD=6EE6CDA@DE42C5D46CE:M42E6D2H2C5D42E2=@8D:?G:E2E:@?D>2C<6E:?8@?6D966ED5:C64E@C:6D5:C64E>2:= 3@@<=6ED2?5-=236=D2?5A24<28:?8C6A@CEDA@DE6CD>2:=6CDNJ6CDE:4<6ED6I9:3:E5:DA=2J3@2C5D E23=6E@A42C5D2?5AC:?E25G6CE:D:?8+96D62C62G2:=23=67@C5@H?=@25:?6AD2?5A?8M=67@C>2ED@?E96)65 2C27S+96C62C6D6A2C2E68F:56=:?6D7@C,2?5*DE2E:@?6CJC:K@?2E9=6E:4D6I6>AE 7J@FH@F=5 =:<6E@FD6E96,=:?6=@8@A=62D64@?E24E=6?? 4C665J8>44(6>2:=2C:K@?265F ,C:?E2??6CD4@>6:?,C652?53=F6,H6332??6C2?5,6IE6?565A2=6EE64@=@CD2?5E@A@C 3@EE@>G2C:2E:@?D,D6E96,C652?53=F64@=@CAC:?E32??6CD:7J@FH2?E24@>A=6E6E:6:?E@E96>2:? 3C2?50@F42?FD6AC:?E32??6CH:E9 0  4@=@CAF3=:42E:@?D+96J42?365@H?=@2565@?E96)65 2C27SF?56CE96 @8@D@?ED@=@CDE236=@H2C6276H6I2>A=6D

...helping professionals create deals and grow businesses.!

For information about our monthly meetings visit www.acg.org/arizona or call (602) 712-9822.

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The Network

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Meet HiRISE UofA investigators call the shots for camera over Mars

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credit: NASA/JPL/UNiverSity of ArizoNA/bALL AeroSPAce

hiriSe iS PrePAred for itS MiSSioN.

TECHCONNECTmag.COm

THE spaCE issuE

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ou’ve likely seen its work as pictures of the Martian surface have made their way back to Earth in recent years. Now it’s time to meet this most special “photographer.” HiRISE, short for High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment, is a key instrument aboard the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, which currently is conducting different investigations of the Red Planet in its ongoing science mission.

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The spacecraft is orbiting Mars about 13 times an Earth day. The Primary Science Phase (the main “mapping” phase of the mission) officially lasted for two years start starting Nov. 8, 2006. The Extended Science Phases are expected to continue as long as the spacecraft and camera remain healthy. HiRISE is run from the Lunar and Planetary Laboratory’s Operations Center on The University of Arizona campus. Planetary Sciences Professor Alfred McEwen is its principal investigator. It has photographed hundreds of targeted swaths of Mars’ surface in unprecedented detail. In turn, HiRISE has revealed small-scale objects in the debris blankets of mysterious gullies and details of the geologic structures of canyons, craters, and layered deposits, in addition to characterizing possible future landing sites. Similar to the human eye, the camera operates in visible wavelengths but with a telescopic lens that produces images at resolutions never before seen in planetary exploration missions. These high-resolution images enable scientists to distinguish

It has photographed hundreds of targeted swaths of Mars’ surface in unprecedented detail. objects about 3 feet in size on Mars and to study the surface structure in a much more comprehensive manner than ever before. HiRISE also makes observations at nearinfrared wavelengths to obtain information on the mineral groups present. From an altitude that varies from about 125 to 250 miles above Mars, it acquires surface images containing individual, basketball-size pixel elements, allowing surface features 4 to 8 feet across to be resolved. Areas for close-up HiRISE imaging are selected on the basis of data returned from Mars Global Surveyor, Mars Odyssey, and regional surveys conducted by the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter’s own instruments. + GET CONNECTED hirise.lpl.arizona.edu


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Tech Connect-Space Issue 2009  

TechConnect explores the region’s leading companies, under-the-radar change agents and the latest industry trends and issues propelling the...

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