America’s Most Visited Museum Opens Exhibit Featuring Lockheed Martin’s Solar Science Work In Palo Alto

Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum Unveils High-Def Video Feed of the Sun

Palo Alto, Calif., March 18, 2015 – A group of Lockheed Martin [NYSE: LMT] scientists can now showcase their work at the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C. Installed today, a giant video wall now shows the sun in super high-definition using the Atmospheric Imaging Assembly (AIA), which was designed and built by experts in Palo Alto’s Advanced Technology Center together with colleagues from the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory. AIA is an instrument on NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory, to which the exhibit is dedicated.

“We’re honored that our work in Silicon Valley is part of the nation’s leading aerospace museum,” said Karel Schrijver, NASA’s principal investigator for AIA and Lockheed Martin Senior Fellow. “Our systems use precise optical technologies to analyze a star that’s nearly 93 million miles away, and we use tremendous computing power to visualize the data, to understand the Sun’s ever-changing magnetism and the solar storms that it powers. That’s important because the sun’s behavior can disrupt and damage satellites and power grids.”

Palo Alto’s connection to solar science is strong. NASA’s principal investigators for several sun-staring telescopes call Lockheed Martin’s Advanced Technology Center home. Over the years, Lockheed Martin’s scientists have supported each major solar science mission the U.S. has produced, as well as cooperative projects with Europe, Japan, and a close collaboration with scientists at Stanford University.

The Smithsonian’s Dynamic Sun Video Wall combines six 50-inch monitors to create a 7 by 6 ft. display. AIA’s images of the full sun’s atmospheric layers have an image size of 4096 x 4096 pixels. By comparison, a high-definition TV can only display 1920 x 1080 pixels. The museum’s video wall will demonstrate to visitors why images at this resolution are needed to study and predict solar behavior.  

Five years after its launch, AIA’s powerful set of four parallel telescopes, with 10 different channels, has delivered far more data than any previous space-based solar observatory. In fact, the instrument recently delivered its 100 millionth image.

Headquartered in Bethesda, Maryland, Lockheed Martin is a global security and aerospace company that employs approximately 112,000 people worldwide and is principally engaged in the research, design, development, manufacture, integration and sustainment of advanced technology systems, products and services. The Corporation’s net sales for 2014 were $45.6 billion.

SDO Wall The new Dynamic Sun Video Wall at the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum displays the sun’s mighty energy in dazzling high definition. The images come from the Atmospheric Imaging Assembly, which was built at Lockheed Martin’s Advanced Technology Center in Palo Alto, California. (Photo: Air and Space Museum)