Physics professor Ed Cackett contributes to historic NASA research
Wayne State astronomy professor Ed Cackett was one of only 60 researchers chosen to serve on the science team for NASA's NICER project. NICER (Neutron star Interior Composition Explorer) will measure neutron stars and test — for the first time in space — technology that uses pulsars as navigation beacons. Cackett was invited to Cape Canaveral, Florida to watch the launch of CRS-11 — the commercial resupply mission shuttle travelling to the International Space Station. CRS-11 was the 100th launch from Launch Pad 39A, the same launch pad where the Apollo missions took off from. Cackett was in attendance for presentations from NASA's Acting Administrator Robert Lightfoot as well as the Director of Kennedy Space Center (and former astronaut) Robert Cabana. Buzz Aldrin was also in attendance for the launch.
NASA’s Neutron star Interior Composition ExploreR (NICER) provides high-precision measurements of neutron stars, objects containing ultra-dense matter at the threshold of collapse into black holes. NICER will also test, for the first time in space, technology that uses pulsars as navigation beacons.