While most of us will be enjoying the warm summer weather in Hayward, Chris Kitting, professor of biological sciences, will have his eyes skyward over the desert of southern Australia in anticipation of a space capsule re-entry. Kitting will be part of the Hayabusa Re-entry MAC observation group with responsibility for the high-resolution imaging and spectroscopy.
This NASA mission will help evaluate the performance of thermal protection systems during fast Mars-like hypervelocity entries of spacecraft. The capsule he will be observing is on an asteroidal orbit and will hit Earth's atmosphere much like a small asteroid, creating a bright fireball in the sky. The project is also in close collaboration with the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) and the University of Southern Queensland.
In addition to teaching at CSUEB, Kitting is an active astronomer and veteran of NASA's ATV-1 "Jules Verne" MAC re-entry observations.
With tight budgets and limited funding, Kitting has indicated that donations towards his work may be made to the biology department via the College of Science Leadership fund.