Jan. 23, 2012
While the Air Force wrestling team strives for success on the mat, the accomplishments of its members off the mat is a point of pride as well. Junior Brandon Mueller, a physics and math major from Greenleaf, Wis., is one Falcon who has taken advantage of the unique educational opportunities afforded to him at the Air Force Academy.
Last semester, Mueller travelled to San Francisco, Calif., to make a presentation at a meeting of the American Geophysical Union (AGU). The AGU is an organization with about 50,000 members from 130 countries. Among the members are talented physicists from renowned organizations such as NASA, the Air Force Research Lab and universities like MIT.
Mueller gave his presentation on an instrument called Canary, which was taken up to the International Space Station by the shuttle Endeavor. Canary is an ion spectrometer designed to measure the effects of space vehicles on the space environment. Positively charged ions are deflected by a charged metal plate energy selector to measure ion density and temperature.
Mueller is part of the Air Force Academy team that helps with the experiment by analyzing and unscrambling the collected data, as well as working with the day-to-day operations, which involves working and coordinating with NASA and DoD to send commands to the station.