What Does the MIGHTI Instrument Do?

What is an interferometer? What will MIGHTI be investigating in Earth's upper atmosphere?

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ICON carries four different instruments to explore Earth's upper atmosphere. The MIGHTI instrument, an example of an interferometer, looks at winds and temperatures in the ionosphere. In this video,  Drs. John Harlander and Chris Englert explain what an interferometer is and what MIGHTI will be investigating.

"The atmosphere naturally just glows at those altitudes, more during the day and less during the night...and by just looking at the color of this airglow, we can find out about the wind and the temperature. So the atmosphere... is helping us to understand how it is behaving by sending out this airglow. If we build the right instruments to look at particular aspects of the color of the airglow, we can get information that we want."
—  Dr. Chris Englert, MIGHTI instrument lead

What does the Mission Operations Center do?

The MOC team prepare for the upcoming launch

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Dr. Manfred Bester, Manager of Mission Operations Center at the Space Sciences Lab of UC Berkeley, explains what he and his team do to prepare for the upcoming ICON launch.

"The most intense part is the immediate time before launch."

ICON at Cal Day, UC Berkeley's Open House

Life-size payload model popular with public

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On April 22, 2017, members of the ICON team showed off a life-size 3D-printed ICON payload mock-up—built by Space Dynamics Lab—at Lawrence Hall of Science (LHS) for Cal Day, UC Berkeley’s all-day Open House. PI Thomas Immel was on hand to answer questions. Nearly 1500 visitors, primarily families, made the extra trip up the hill from campus (where most activities were happening) to LHS and through the main hall, where the life-size model and other ICON outreach activities were featured.

ICON on cover of Applied Optics magazine

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The magazine Applied Optics featured an article about ICON's MIGHTI instrument in its March 10, 2017 issue, and chose a photograph from the article for its cover page. This is ICON's first print magazine cover. In a mostly-digital publishing age, it's an honor to be chosen for a prominent place in this highly regarded industry publication from The Optical Society.




Another step closer to launch

ICON passes pre-environmental review

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After passing its "Pre-Environmental Review” last week, the ICON spacecraft/observatory is now in environmental testing at Orbital ATK in Gilbert, AZ. We will run a number of tests -- such as vibration and acoustical tests -- over the following weeks that will simulate the launch and space environments that ICON will be exposed to. All the instruments continue to check out well, and we’re getting a lot of time on the observatory. All this testing and reviewing shows us that ICON is in great shape and will be ready to go when launch day arrives this summer. It’s all coming together!

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ICON skin is based on Greytness by Adammer
Background image, courtesy of NASA, is a derivitave of photograph taken by D. Pettit from the ISS, used under Creative Commons license