© 2024 KLCC

136 W 8th Ave
Eugene OR 97401

Contact Us

FCC Applications
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Springfield Native, Astrophysicist, And Thurston Shooting Survivor Has Part In Parker Solar Probe

NASA/Harvard-Smithsonian Ctr.

In the pre-dawn hours Sunday morning, the Parker Solar Probe blasted off from Cape Canaveral.  Among those watching was an astrophysicist who worked on the unique spacecraft…who’s also a Springfield native and survivor of the 1998 Thurston School Shooting. KLCC’s Brian Bull reports.

Tony Case is with the Harvard Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. He and other scientists designed an instrument called the solar probe cup.

“It’s an instrument that measures the particles flowing from the sun, that we call the solar wind," explains Case.

Credit Harvard Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics
Scientists collaborate on the design and technology incorporated into the Parker Solar Probe.

"Our instrument pokes around the heat shield, looks directly at the sun… it really is just a cup, and particles just kinda flow into it and we catch them, and count how many of them there are.”

Credit Harvard Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics
Conceptual rendering of the Parker Solar Probe nearing the sun.

Case watched the Parker Solar Probe take off from the Kennedy Space Center, and said past the nerve-wracking launch, the next defining moment will be in roughly 45 days when they try to bring all the spacecraft’s instruments online.

Case was among two dozen injured in the Thurston High School shooting. He says he doesn’t give the incident much thought, focusing instead on his work and bright spots of his life. 

WEB EXTRA: See the launch of the Parker Solar Probe on August 12, 2018.

WEB EXTRA: Hear an extended conversation between Harvard Smithsonian astrophysicist Tony Case and KLCC's Brian Bull about the Parker Solar Probe mission, his team's contribution to the project, and how he observed the 20th anniversary of the Thurston School Shooting.

Credit Esteban Bustillos, WGBH
Tony Case, outside his Massachusetts home, 2018.


Copyright 2018, KLCC.

Brian Bull is an assistant professor of journalism at the University of Oregon, and remains a contributor to the KLCC news department. He began working with KLCC in June 2016.   In his 27+ years as a public media journalist, he's worked at NPR, Twin Cities Public Television, South Dakota Public Broadcasting, Wisconsin Public Radio, and ideastream in Cleveland. His reporting has netted dozens of accolades, including four national Edward R. Murrow Awards (22 regional),  the Ohio Associated Press' Best Reporter Award, Best Radio Reporter from  the Native American Journalists Association, and the PRNDI/NEFE Award for Excellence in Consumer Finance Reporting.
Related Content