Colloquium: Jed Hancock

    Thursday, March 23, 2017 - 3:30pm - 5:00pm
    Meinel 307

    Saving Planet Earth with the Near-Earth Object Camera (NEOCam) Radiometric Sensitivity Model


    Planet Earth is drifting through a cosmic shooting gallery of the relatively unchanged remnant debris from the solar system formation process. The Near-Earth Object Camera (NEOCam) is a 50-cm infrared (IR) space telescope orbiting the Sun-Earth L1 Lagrange point that will detect, track, and characterize millions of unknown asteroids and comets. Currently funded by the NASA Planetary Defense Coordination Office, NEOCam diagnoses the threat of potentially hazardous asteroids (PHAs) to Earth and unlocks vital clues about the chemical mixture from which the planets formed some 4.6 billion years ago.

    The NEOCam instrument, operating in wavelengths at which NEOs are bright (4–5 and 6–10 μm), is passively cooled by taking advantage of the cold, stable thermal environment at L1. The space payload design includes an all-aluminum three-mirror anastigmat (TMA), beam-splitters, filters, thermal shielding, high emissivity radiators, and low power focal planes. The NEOCam observatory radiometric sensitivity, in units of noise equivalent spectral irradiance (NESI), is expected to be 40 and 132 Jy in the two IR bands.

    The detailed NEOCam radiometric model includes the instrument responsivity, noise sources, and natural background. Measured and modeled quantities of the aperture area, spectral transmission, detector quantum efficiency (QE), integration time, image quality, read noise, self-emission, stray light, and zodiacal background create a high fidelity performance estimate with adequate margin against the mission objectives.

    Speaker Bio(s): 

    Jed Hancock was raised in West Weber, Utah, and attended Utah State University, where he graduated with Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees in Electrical Engineering. While at USU Jed met his wife Natalie, they reside in Wellsville, Utah and have six children.  Jed graduated, as class Valedictorian, with a PhD from the University of Arizona’s College of Optical Sciences in 2012. With his family, Jed enjoys the outdoors hiking, camping, and skiing. He coaches sports and is active in his community with scouts and other youth groups.

    Jed’s research interests include electro-optical system design, remote sensing, and calibration. Jed has worked at the Space Dynamics Laboratory since 2004, providing leadership in research and development of electro-optical instruments critical to the strategic objectives of NASA, NOAA, and the DoD.  Most recently, Jed is the instrument system engineer for the NASA NEOCam mission.  His division at SDL provides instruments and small satellites for several NASA missions including ICON, the Robotic Refueling Mission for the ISS, SOFIA, and deep space small satellite radios. Jed also led efforts to provide detector assemblies for the OCAMS instrument on the NASA OSIRIS-Rex mission to the Lunar Planetary Laboratory at the University of Arizona.