The community once again gathered at Red Clay Brewing Company to hear insight on a special project from a local physicist.
Michael Fogle Jr., an associate professor in the physics department of Auburn University, spoke at the Nov. 30 Science Pub in Opelika.
The topic was the CubeSat: “Space’s Tiniest Little Explorer.”
A CubeSat is a nanosatellite used for research. The standard CubeSat is called a "1U" and costs around $80,000 to manufacture.
Each one takes some time to design, develop and manufacture, but Fogle speaks of them as being the biggest tiny innovation in space technology.
Fogle said that the CubeSats are launched into space “basically as hitchhikers.”
The 3U model is the size of three put together lengthwise, about the size of a loaf of bread. The 6U model is the size of two cubes by four cubes, about the size of a shoebox.
In 2000, NASA started launching CubeSats in Auburn — one of the first areas to launch these tiny, but powerful, satellites.
Fogle is a grant proposal reviewer for the Department of Energy and for the National Science
He walked the attendees through a brief history of the national space program and quizzed them on their knowledge of the position of the International Space Station, giving listeners clues as to where it remained among the constellations.
“Their goal is to take a picture of the entire surface of the Earth
Auburn is in collaboration with the
He pointed out that there was a time when only governments could afford to go to space, and now there is an opportunity for private institutions to get involved.
Fogle said that much of the design and implementation is being done by undergraduate students of the universities.
“We have undergraduate students building satellites, and they do everything from making their own electronics to designing the boards,” he said.
“I feel that my role in teaching science is that of a mediator and facilitator,” Fogle said. “Students are not empty
Fogle earned a bachelor’s degree from East Carolina University in 1997 and completed his master’s in 2000 at the same institution. He went on to receive his Ph.D. in physics from Stockholm University in 2004.
Science Pubs and Cafes are free and open to the public, and all are encouraged to join in on the learning. They alternate between Science Pub, held on the fourth Thursday, and Science Cafe, held on the fourth Tuesday, each month.