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NASA, Institute of Sound and Vibration Research and NewMAD Carbon Fiber Mandolins Announce Partnership

By Mandolin Cafe
April 1, 2007 - 7:30 am

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National Aeronautics and Space Administration

National Aeronautics and Space Administration

Washington, D.C. — The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has announced a partnership with the Institute of Sound and Vibration Research (ISVR) of Southampton, England and New Millennium Acoustic Design (NewMAD) Carbon Fiber Mandolins of Burlington, Vermont.

NASA Administrator Michael Griffin, ISVR lead researchers and NewMAD president and owner Peter Mix made the announcement by satellite link, explaining an experiment involving the first mandolin to be placed into orbit for scientific use.

"Although a tone producing carbon fiber musical instrument is not a new phenomenon—violins and cellos have been available for some time—this is first true plucked instrument and is of the size and construction that is an effective fit for a shuttle mission," stated ISVR lead researcher D.L. Hanson. "The construction inherent in wooden instruments proves problematic when applied within the weightless environment. A carbon fiber plucked instrument, which until recently did not exist, provides the perfect scientific solution for this study."

Mead elaborated further on the specific experiment in which astronauts will attempt to measure and understand the theory of a continuous damped vibration absorber to reduce broad-band wave propagation in plucked sound beams. Changes in waveform morphology thought to reflect increases in neural synchrony as well as strengthening neural connections associated with improved auditory results will be evaluated.

A follow-up announcement is expected to include a traditional Flight Readiness Review, and a thorough assessment of preparations for the mission. A May 19 meeting is intended to produce a number of key decisions about the mission, M7-221, including selection of an official launch date.

Additional information:
National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Institute of Sound and Vibration Research

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