In the News

  • KSL Sunday, Feb. 19, 2023

    USU lab studies impact of solar flares on satellites

    LOGAN — Your credit card stops working, then your radio kicks out. What's happening?

    It could be a solar flare causing glitches in a satellite. That's why employees at the Space Dynamics Lab at Utah State University in Logan are investigating. They want to know how the sun messes with satellites and if the Earth's atmosphere plays a part.

    "Solar wind, coronal mass ejections, high energy particles coming from the sun, that is space weather," said Space Dynamics Laboratory Payload Manager Eric Syrstad.

    "And that is what impacts that region of space where we have, you know, really expensive satellites flying around. We rely on those for communication and GPS and that type of thing."

  • KSL Wednesday, Feb. 15, 2023

    Utah State University to help develop battery-powered train

    SALT LAKE CITY — Utah State University and the ASPIRE Engineering Research Center in partnership with Stadler, a Swiss-based brand, will develop and test a battery-powered train. 

    FLIRT (Fast Light Intercity and Regional Train) will be the first of its kind in the United States. The FLIRT train was originally developed for the Swiss Federal Railways and was first delivered in 2004.

    A model of the lightweight train is planned at Stadler’s facility in Salt Lake City.

    In a release from those collaborating, goal is to demonstrate the zero-emission train in real life. In the future, FLIRT is planned for routes without end-to-end electrification.

  • KSL Monday, Feb. 13, 2023

    USU instructors use horses to help veterans suffering with PTSD

    LOGAN — Some instructors at Utah State University are helping veterans through tough times with the help of horses.

    There are sometimes events in life that cause people to withdraw. At times it may take a careful touch that humans cannot replicate to rebuild trust.

    Those involved with the program say it's a great way to connect with horses.

  • Salt Lake Tribune Saturday, Feb. 11, 2023

    EV charging at freeway speeds? USU's ASPIRE puts it on the road map

    Don’t want to plug and play? Maybe you can get a load from the road.

    In the movement toward battery-powered vehicles, the limiting factor has been and continues to be keeping the batteries charged.It’s a power-to-weight problem.

    The farther a vehicle has to travel without a charge, the larger and heavier the battery must be. And the heavier the battery, the more power it takes to propel the vehicle and its heavy battery.

    For the trucking industry, it’s also a time-is-money problem. Time spent charging a big electric truck at a charging station is money lost in paying drivers and slower deliveries.

    The solution to both? Charge often and without stopping by embedding the chargers in roads.

    Induction charging, as it is known, is one of the key technologies under development at Utah State University’s Center for Advancing Sustainability through Powered Infrastructure for Roadway Electrification (ASPIRE). Under a bill the Utah Legislature is considering, ASPIRE would lead the planning for Utah’s charging network for cars, trucks, trains and even electric aircraft.

  • CNN Friday, Feb. 10, 2023

    Scientists fear a Great Toxic Dustbowl could soon emerge from the GSL

    On the shore of Great Salt Lake, Utah (CNN)Like the rest of the West, Utah has a water problem. But megadrought and overconsumption aren't just threats to wildlife, agriculture and industry here. A disappearing Great Salt Lake could poison the lungs of more than 2.5 million people.

    When lake levels hit historic lows in recent months, 800 square miles of lakebed were exposed -- soil that holds centuries of natural and manmade toxins like mercury, arsenic and selenium. As that mud turns to dust and swirls to join some of the worst winter air pollution in the nation, scientists warn that the massive body of water could evaporate into a system of lifeless finger lakes within five years, on its way to becoming the Great Toxic Dustbowl.

  • KSL Friday, Feb. 10, 2023

    USU researchers search for source of Wasatch Front air pollution

    SALT LAKE CITY — Researchers are taking a close look at some major contributors to our air pollution, and how to combat the problem better.

    This comes on the heels of another study that shows how a magnesium plant in Tooele County might be adding to the bad air in a much bigger way than previously thought.

    The Utah Division of Air Quality, along with researchers at Utah State University, is taking readings every week at air monitor stations.

    They're looking at some of the sources of our bad air, in hopes of finding what can be effectively targeted to better clear up the problem in the future.

    We're all painfully aware of the air pollution while it's here, but the elements that make it happen are always around, waiting to be trapped by the next inversion.

  • ABC4 News Monday, Feb. 06, 2023

    USU Space Lab is helping NASA study gravity waves in Earth's atmosphere

    LOGAN, Utah (ABC4) – Did you know outer space has “weather?” Not only does it, but Utah State University is helping NASA forecast what that “weather” might be.

    USU’s Space Dynamics Laboratory has announced the successful completion of tests for NASA‘s Atmospheric Waves Experiment (AWE), a mission that will help scientists understand and, ultimately, forecast the vast space weather system around our planet.

    AWE, planned for launch at the International Space Station, will study gravity waves in Earth’s atmosphere to “gain a deeper knowledge of the connections caused by climate systems throughout our atmosphere and between the atmosphere and space,” a press release states.

  • KSL Sunday, Feb. 05, 2023

    Utah air quality is continuing to get worse, says USU professor

    SALT LAKE CITY — Unhealthy air is still affecting Utah and its residents, and the recent snow storms and other factors are not helping much.

    According to Randy Martin, a Utah State University professor, there are several reasons why the air quality was terrible on Saturday.

    "For the last several years, we've been fortunate that we've had relatively mild winters," Martin explained while checking a reading station in the Salt Lake Valley.

    He said while we all need the snow for the water it brings, its thick layers on the ground add to our air problems.

  • The Herald Journal Thursday, Feb. 02, 2023

    USU announces monthlong events for Black History Month

    Utah State University will be hosting a variety of events this month to educate the community and celebrate the richness of Black history, according to an announcement made by the school on Wednesday.

    Black History Month, which was officially recognized by U.S. President Gerald Ford in 1976, honors the triumphs and struggles of African Americans throughout U.S. history, the announcement states. Although first recognized in 1976, it was celebrated many decades prior.

    Isaiah Jones, senior director for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at USU, said that Black History Month is a reminder that Black American history is also the history of the United States.

  • Cache Valley Daily Monday, Jan. 30, 2023

    USU's online bachelor's programs among nation's best again

    LOGAN – For the ninth straight year Utah State University’s online bachelor’s programs rank among the nation’s best.

    The U.S. News and World Report (USNWR) ranks the Aggies 11th on their 2023 list, an improvement of three spots over last year.

    The new rankings also put Utah State fifth in the nation for its bachelor’s programs for veterans and 10th for its master’s program in educational/instructional media design.

    USU offers 16 online bachelor’s degrees and 17 master’s degrees, as well as three associate degree options.

    This is the 28th year for USU online as it continues to fulfill the school’s land-grant mission by offering education outside of the traditional campus setting.

  • Science Mag Thursday, Jan. 26, 2023

    LiDAR technology could improve safety features in vehicles

    As of 2022, 17 car manufacturers have announced plans to use or are currently using LiDAR sensors across 21 different models. However, there are a few things that need to be solved before this technology can be used widespread.

    LiDAR, which stands for light detection and ranging, is the use of light photons to scan and record the distance and placement of objects around the sensor. LiDAR can differentiate between stagnant and moving objects and see in the dark, all in real-time. That means that a vehicle using LiDAR technology can see and keep drivers, occupants and other road users safe.

    Associate Professor Scott Budge and his student Chaz Cornwall argue in their research paper, published in Optical Engineering, that LiDAR improves the response time of commercial vehicles. Cars must be able to stop quickly and adapt to dynamic environments, which is difficult with current technology.

  • The Herald Journal Monday, Jan. 23, 2023

    Presidential Search Committee announces public meetings

    Utah State University is seeking input from the community regarding the school’s next president.

    On Friday, the university announced dates for six public meetings to be hosted by the USU Presidential Search Committee. The meetings, according to the announcement, will help the committee shape a position announcement — the primary advertisement for the position used in recruiting candidates.

    The 19-member committee includes USU trustees, faculty and staff, community members and the current student body president.

  • KSL Sunday, Jan. 22, 2023

    Utah State University lab develops nanotech fertilizer

    LOGAN — Imagine a fertilizer infused with nanotechnology that could cut greenhouse gas emissions and result in higher efficiency for farmers, who would use up to 75% less of traditional fertilizer.

    It might sound like something out of a science-fiction movie, but that's exactly what researchers at Utah State University have created.

    The research, conducted through the university's Utah Water Research Laboratory, was published in December in the journal Nature Food, according to information from the school. Yiming Su, an assistant professor in USU's Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, led the study.

  • NBC News Saturday, Jan. 21, 2023

    With Great Salt Lake at rock bottom, lawmakers aim for rescue

    For the Great Salt Lake, it might be now or never. 

    Utah lawmakers have mounted emergency rescue plans for the Great Salt Lake, which is on the verge of ecological collapse. Before the legislative session opened on Tuesday, scientists and conservationists issued the most dire warning yet over the lake’s future, saying “the lake as we know it is on track to disappear in five years” if losses continue at their recent pace. 

    The lake is shrinking, but even more urgent is its changing salinity. The lake has grown so salty that creatures at the base of its food web, such as brine flies, which have adapted to survive extreme conditions, are disappearing.

    Still, the recipe is right for a comeback as state lawmakers begin their 45-day legislative session. 

  • ABC4 News Friday, Jan. 20, 2023

    New council at USU works to combat food insecurity in Utah

    LOGAN, Utah (ABC4) — A new council based at the Utah State University aims to combat the ever-growing issue of food insecurity in the state.

    The Utah Food Security Council was created with the passage of Senate Bill 133 sponsored by Sen. Luz Escamilla in the 2022 legislative session. The council will help provide recommendations to lawmakers as they coordinate efforts to relieve food insecurity in Utah.

    Community members are welcome to join the council meetings held on the third Wednesday of each month at Utah State University Davis County Extension Room 133 and 135. There are currently 12 active members in the council — all experts in their own fields. The council plans to add another three members from the Utah Community Health Workers Association, Utah Farm Bureau and Utah Division of Indian Affairs in the future.

    “Food insecurity is one of the most pressing issues facing Utahns, and I am eager for the meaningful policy recommendations and initiatives that will come from the Food Security Council,” Escamilla said. “In the final days of the 2022 legislative session, my bill to codify and establish the council at Utah State University was one of my top priorities.”

  • Thursday, Jan. 19, 2023

    Researchers reach milestone in measurement of airborne mercury

    New research from the University of Nevada, Reno, is expected to play an important role in the global battle against airborne mercury pollution, a serious health threat to people and wildlife alike.

    The researchers have verified that new technologies, including some developed at the University, measure airborne mercury pollution far more accurately than the older systems that have been in widespread use for decades. In fact, the researchers found the older technology undermeasures mercury concentrations by as much as 80%.

    The work was led by two researchers in the University's College of Agriculture, Biotechnology & Natural Resources, Sarrah Dunham-Cheatham and Mae Gustin. Dunham-Cheatham is a research assistant professor and director of the Core Analytical Laboratory, a research facility at the University jointly operated by the College's Experiment Station unit and the USDA Agricultural Research Service. Gustin is a professor of environmental geochemistry in the College's Department of Natural Resources & Environmental Science. Both conduct research as part of the College's Experiment Station unit.

    Seth Lyman, a researcher and associate professor at Utah State University who completed his doctoral studies in environmental sciences at the University of Nevada, Reno, is the third author of the research published this month in the peer-reviewed journal Science of the Total Environment.

  • Salt Lake Tribune Monday, Jan. 09, 2023

    What Utah's recent snowstorms mean for the Colorado River

    The snow keeps falling across Utah, which will likely benefit beleaguered waters like the Great Salt Lake and Lake Powell. But it’s too soon to say how much of a difference it will make.

    Snowpack is well above average in watersheds across the state, according to the latest data from the U.S. Natural Resources Conservation Service’s Snow Survey. The Southeastern Utah basin is an astounding 190% above normal for this time of year, and other drainages that feed the Colorado River are close behind. All that snow has done little to lift Lake Powell’s elevation to date, which currently sits at about a quarter of its capacity and around 30 feet above the point where it will no longer be able to generate hydropower.

    Still, there are reasons to be optimistic.

  • Deseret News Sunday, Jan. 08, 2023

    USU biochemists' discovery lands them a spot in prestigious academic journal

    Ryan Jackson and Thomson Hallmark just accomplished a feat that every scientist strives for.

    Jackson, a Utah State University assistant professor in the department of chemistry and biochemistry, and Hallmark, a fellow USU biochemist, on Wednesday became published authors in the prestigious academic journal “Nature,” the world's leading multidisciplinary science journal.

    They joined other collaborators in publishing not one, but two papers in the renowned peer-reviewed journal.

  • CNN Friday, Jan. 06, 2023

    GSL will disappear in 5 years without massive 'emergency rescue,'

    The Great Salt Lake in Utah is facing “unprecedented danger,” experts say, as it has fallen to an alarmingly low level amid a climate change-fueled megadrought that’s tightening its grip in the West.

    Less than two weeks away from Utah’s 2023 legislative session, nearly three dozen scientists and conservationists released a dire report that calls on the state’s lawmakers to take “emergency measures” to save the Great Salt Lake before drains to nil.

    Without a “dramatic increase” in inflow by 2024, experts warn the lake is set to disappear in the next five years.

    “Its disappearance could cause immense damage to Utah’s public health, environment, and economy,” the authors wrote in the report. “The choices we make over the next few months will affect our state and ecosystems throughout the West for decades to come.”

  • ABC4 News Thursday, Jan. 05, 2023

    Cache County shaken by swarm minor earthquakes while entering 2023

    CACHE COUNTY, Utah (ABC4) — The new year is kicking off with a rumble in Cache County. Since New Year’s Day, more than one dozen earthquakes have hit the area, and one earthquake expert told ABC4 that this is called a “swarm” and is a gentle reminder that Utah has a lot of improvements to make to prepare for the “big one.” 

    According to the University of Utah Seismograph Stations, there have been 71 earthquakes within the Colorado Plateau since December 22, 2022. Of those, 14 occurred in Cache County within a three-day period with the largest occurring on Jan. 3.

  • The Herald Journal Monday, Dec. 26, 2022

    Search committee announced for next USU president

    he Utah Board of Higher Education announced Thursday the search committee that will help decide who the next Utah State University president.

    The 19-member committee will include members of the board of higher education; USU trustees, faculty and staff; and community members and the university’s current student body president, Clara Alder.

    The board’s policy is that the current chair is the only member authorized to speak to the media on matters concerning the board. Through a spokesperson, Chairwoman Lisa Michele Church said she was not available for an interview until next year. Additionally, The Herald Journal emailed Alder, who responded, “I am not making (a) comment on this at this time.”

  • The Herald Journal Monday, Dec. 26, 2022

    USU Digital Folklore Project names Digital Lore of the Year

    Utah State University’s Digital Folklore Project has chosen its Digital Lore of the Year to be hashtag #MahsaAmini, which began a significant grassroots protest of the Iranian government’s treatment of women, according to a statement from the university on Monday.

    Each year, Utah State University’s Digital Folklore Project releases findings regarding the most significant types of digital folklore for that year. This year, #MahsaAmini showed great significance as it emerged in September when Amini died after being accused by Iran’s “morality police” of improperly covering her hair, according to the statement.

    “#MahsaAmini captures everyday people’s grievances against the ruling system and speaks powerfully to the change they want to see,” said Jeannie Thomas, co-director of the project in the statement.

  • Cache Valley Daily Wednesday, Dec. 21, 2022

    Utah State students propose, debate a hypothetical new U.S. Constitution

    LOGAN — Students at Utah State University displayed more courage than caution when faced with the hypothetical challenge of drafting a new constitution for the United States of America this past semester.

    The new constitution proposed by USU students enrolled in Constitutional Design (Political Science 4800) and a Senior Research Seminar (Political Science 4990) would have far-reaching impacts, according to Associate Professor Robert Ross and Instructor Steve Sharp.

    Among the revolutionary changes the student proposed codifying were abortion rights; voting procedures; the two party system; environmental rights; congressional and Supreme Court term limits; plus, eliminating the Electoral College and the Senate filibuster.

  • ABC4 News Thursday, Dec. 01, 2022

    USU deep space radio makes history as it reaches moon's orbit

    LOGAN, Utah (ABC4) – A deep space radio built by Utah State University‘s Space Dynamics Laboratory (SDL) is now orbiting the moon as part of a first-of-its-kind program in human history.

    The radio is part of a NASA mission called the Cislunar Autonomous Positioning System Technology Operations and Navigation Experiment — or “CAPSTONE.” The USU-designed radio is onboard a class of small satellites called “CubeSat,” the first to orbit the moon in the history of humankind.NASA said CAPSTONE’s mission is to reduce risks for future spacecraft by validating new navigation technologies and gathering new knowledge about its own unique three-body orbit.

    The mission is part of NASA’s Artemis program, which aims to return humans to the moon, exploring more of the lunar surface than ever before. Humans last walked on the moon in 1972.

    USU’s deep space radio is now operating successfully onboard a NASA CubeSat technology demonstration mission to support Gateway, which is a vital component of Artemis. The Gateway Program is building a small, human-tended space station orbiting the Moon to provide support for Artemis.


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