Sandia Labs News Releases

Category Archives: Space / Astronomy

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Sandia establishes collaborative research facility for low-temperature plasmas

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. —  Sandia National Laboratories is setting up a collaborative facility to help researchers worldwide study low-temperature plasmas, the most pervasive state of matter in the universe. The 5-year, $5.5 million project, called the Sandia Low Temperature Plasma Research Facility, is sponsored by the Department of Energy’s Office of Science. Participants will be selected […]

STARCS photo

Armoring satellites to survive and operate through attacks

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Satellites do a lot of things — they help people navigate from one place to another, they deliver television programming, they search for new stars and exo-planets and they enable the U.S. nuclear deterrence strategy. But until recently, one thing they haven’t done — or needed to do — is defend themselves. […]

Michael Goldflam, Sandia National Laboratories

Seeing infrared: Sandia’s nanoantennas help detectors see more heat, less noise

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. —  Sandia National Laboratories researchers have developed tiny, gold antennas to help cameras and sensors that “see” heat deliver clearer pictures of thermal infrared radiation for everything from stars and galaxies to people, buildings and items requiring security. In a Laboratory Directed Research and Development project, a team of researchers developed a nanoantenna-enabled […]

Sandia experiments at temperature of sun offer solutions to solar model problems

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Experimenting at 4.1 million degrees Fahrenheit, physicists at Sandia National Laboratories’ Z machine have found that an astronomical model — used for 40 years to predict the sun’s behavior as well as the life and death of stars — underestimates the energy blockage caused by free-floating iron atoms, a major player in […]


HOT SHOT findings could save defense tech developers time and money

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — An early milestone for developing missile technologies is to show they can work in computer-simulations or large-scale field tests that shake and spin components without falling to pieces. “Screws can back out; things can break,” said Greg Tipton, a structural dynamics engineer at Sandia National Laboratories. Similar tests are performed in the […]

Danny Bowman holding a stryofoam box (left) Sarah Albert holding an infrasound sensor (right) with a bright blue sky as background

New Sandia balloon-borne infrasound sensor array detects explosions

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Sheets of plastic similar to that used for garbage bags, packing tape, some string, a little charcoal dust and a white shoebox-size box are more than odds and ends. These are the supplies Danny Bowman, a Sandia National Laboratories geophysicist, needs to build a solar-powered hot air balloon for detecting infrasound. Infrasound […]

Aerospace test at Sandia goes green with alternative to explosives

Hopkinson bar technology applied to gas gun shot to test rocket part ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Sandia National Laboratories has successfully demonstrated a new, more environmentally friendly method to test a rocket part to ensure its avionics can withstand the shock from stage separation during flight. The new method — called the Alternative Pyroshock Test — […]

Black hole models contradicted by hands-on tests at Sandia’s Z machine

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — A long-standing but unproven assumption about the X-ray spectra of black holes in space has been contradicted by hands-on experiments performed at Sandia National Laboratories’ Z machine. Z, the most energetic laboratory X-ray source on Earth, can duplicate the X-rays surrounding black holes that otherwise can be watched only from a great distance and then theorized […]

Dick Spalding

Origin of spooky meteor noises reappraised by Sandia researchers

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — When a meteor is about to conk your neighborhood and gives fair warning by emitting sizzling, rustling and hissing sounds as it descends, you might think that the universe is being sporting. But these auditory warnings, which do occur, seem contrary to the laws of physics if they are caused by the […]

AIAA Best Paper

Sandia researchers win ‘best paper’ award from AIAA

Paper focuses on scramjet engines used for supersonic flight LIVERMORE, Calif. — The American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) has recognized Sandia National Laboratories researchers Joe Oefelein and Guilhem Lacaze with a best paper award for their work on scramjet engine simulations. The paper, “A Priori Analysis of Flamelet-Based Modeling for a Dual-Mode Scramjet […]

Marcus Knudson

Sandia physicist accepts first joint faculty appointment with Washington State University

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Sandia National Laboratories physicist Marcus Knudson is the first joint faculty appointee to serve both Sandia and Washington State University (WSU). In the position, Knudson will enhance fundamental research into the compression of materials under extreme conditions, using Sandia’s unique Z machine. “The science of dynamic material compression is a core capability […]

True Saturn

Sandia’s Z machine helps solve Saturn’s 2-billion-year age gap

Research supports 80-year-old prediction ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Planets tend to cool as they get older, but Saturn is hotter than astrophysicists say it should be without some additional energy source. The unexplained heat has caused a two-billion-year discrepancy for computer models estimating Saturn’s age. “Models that correctly predict Jupiter to be 4.5 billion years old […]

Planet impact

Iron rain fell on early Earth, new Z machine data supports

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Researchers at Sandia National Laboratories’ Z machine have helped untangle a long-standing mystery of astrophysics: why iron is found spattered throughout Earth’s mantle, the roughly 2,000-mile thick region between Earth’s core and its crust. At first blush, it seemed more reasonable that iron arriving from collisions between Earth and  planetesimals — ranging […]

‘Iron Sun’ is not a rock band, but a key to how stars transmit energy

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M — Working at temperatures matching the interior of the sun, researchers at Sandia National Laboratories’ Z machine have been able to determine experimentally, for the first time in history, iron’s role in inhibiting energy transmission from the center of the sun to near the edge of its radiative band — the section of […]

3-D codes yield unprecedented physics, engineering insights

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — When the space shuttle Columbia disintegrated on re-entry in 2002, sophisticated computer models were key to determining what happened. A piece of foam flew off at launch and hit a tile, damaging the leading edge of the shuttle wing and exposing the underlying structure. Temperatures soared to thousands of degrees as Columbia […]

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