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Olathe, KS, United States

MidAmerica Nazarene University is a Christian liberal arts college in Olathe, Kansas, United States. It was established in 1966 by the Church of the Nazarene. Wikipedia.

Thomas B.C.,Washburn University | Engler E.E.,Washburn University | Kachelriess M.,Norwegian University of Science and Technology | Melott A.L.,University of Kansas | And 3 more authors.
Astrophysical Journal Letters | Year: 2016

Recent results have strongly confirmed that multiple supernovae happened at distances of ∼100 pc, consisting of two main events: one at 1.7-3.2 million years ago, and the other at 6.5-8.7 million years ago. These events are said to be responsible for excavating the Local Bubble in the interstellar medium and depositing 60Fe on Earth and the Moon. Other events are indicated by effects in the local cosmic ray (CR) spectrum. Given this updated and refined picture, we ask whether such supernovae are expected to have had substantial effects on the terrestrial atmosphere and biota. In a first look at the most probable cases, combining photon and CR effects, we find that a supernova at 100 pc can have only a small effect on terrestrial organisms from visible light and that chemical changes such as ozone depletion are weak. However, tropospheric ionization right down to the ground, due to the penetration of ≥TeV CRs, will increase by nearly an order of magnitude for thousands of years, and irradiation by muons on the ground and in the upper ocean will increase twentyfold, which will approximately triple the overall radiation load on terrestrial organisms. Such irradiation has been linked to possible changes in climate and increased cancer and mutation rates. This may be related to a minor mass extinction around the Pliocene-Pleistocene boundary, and further research on the effects is needed. © 2016. The American Astronomical Society. All rights reserved.

Overholt A.C.,MidAmerica Nazarene University | Melott A.L.,University of Kansas | Atri D.,Blue Marble Space Institute of Science
Journal of Geophysical Research A: Space Physics | Year: 2015

Cosmic rays are known to cause biological effects directly and through ionizing radiation produced by their secondaries. These effects have been detected in airline crews and other specific cases where members of the population are exposed to above average secondary fluxes. Recent work has found a correlation between solar particle events and congenital malformations. In this work we use the results of computational simulations to approximate the ionizing radiation from such events as well as longer-term increases in cosmic ray flux. We find that the amounts of ionizing radiation produced by these events are insufficient to produce congenital malformations under the current paradigm regarding muon ionizing radiation. We believe that further work is needed to determine the correct ionizing radiation contribution of cosmogenic muons. We suggest that more extensive measurements of muon radiation effects may show a larger contribution to ionizing radiation dose than currently assumed. Key Points Solar events produce measurable amounts of ionizing radiation at ground level The ionizing radiation is insufficient to explain the observed phenomena Future work regarding the effects of muons is required ©2015. American Geophysical Union. All Rights Reserved.

Overholt A.C.,University of Kansas | Overholt A.C.,MidAmerica Nazarene University | Melott A.L.,University of Kansas
Earth and Planetary Science Letters | Year: 2013

We explore the idea that detectable excursions in 26Al may arise from direct deposition by any bolide, and excursions in 14C and 10Be abundances in the atmosphere may result from long-period comet impacts. This is very different from the usual processes of production by cosmic rays within Earth's atmosphere. Long-period comets experience greatly increased cosmic ray flux beyond the protection of the sun's magnetic field. We report the computed amount of 14C, 10Be, and 26Al present on long-period comets as a function of comet mass. We find that the amount of nuclide mass on large long-period comets entering the Earth's atmosphere may be sufficient for creating anomalies in the records of 14C and 10Be from past impacts. In particular, the estimated mass of the proposed Younger Dryas comet is consistent with its having deposited sufficient isotopes to account for recorded 14C and 10Be increases at that time. The 26Al/10Be ratio is much larger in extraterrestrial objects than in the atmosphere, and so, we note that measuring this ratio in ice cores is a suitable definitive test for the Younger Dryas impact hypothesis, even if the hypothetical bolide is not a long-period comet and/or did not contribute to the 14C and 10Be increases. © 2013 Elsevier B.V.

Overholt A.C.,University of Kansas | Overholt A.C.,MidAmerica Nazarene University | Melott A.L.,University of Kansas | Atri D.,Tata Institute of Fundamental Research | Atri D.,Blue Marble Space Institute of Science
Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics | Year: 2013

Neutrons contribute a significant radiation dose at commercial passenger airplane altitudes. With cosmic ray energies > 1 GeV, these effects could, in principle, be propagated to ground level. Under current conditions, the cosmic ray spectrum incident on the Earth is dominated by particles with energies < 1 GeV. Astrophysical shocks from events such as supernovae accelerate high-energy cosmic rays (HECRs) well above this range. The Earth is likely episodically exposed to a greatly increased HECR flux from such events. Solar events of smaller energies are much more common and short lived but still remain a topic of interest due to the ground level enhancements they produce. The air showers produced by cosmic rays (CRs) ionize the atmosphere and produce harmful secondary particles such as muons and neutrons. Although the secondary spectra from current day terrestrial cosmic ray flux are well known, this is not true for spectra produced by many astrophysical events. This work shows the results of Monte Carlo simulations quantifying the neutron flux due to CRs at various primary energies and altitudes. We provide here look-up tables that can be used to determine neutron fluxes from proton primaries with kinetic energies of 1 MeV-1 PeV. By convolution, one can compute the neutron flux for any arbitrary CR spectrum. This contrasts with all other similar works, which are spectrum dependent. Our results demonstrate the difficulty in deducing the nature of primaries from the spectrum of ground level neutron enhancements. Key Points Astrophysical events increase cosmic ray flux on the Earth. Our tables which simulate the neutron flux of a variety of astrophysical events This is the first spectrum independent table ©2013. American Geophysical Union. All Rights Reserved.

Sattley W.M.,MidAmerica Nazarene University | Blankenship R.E.,Washington University in St. Louis
Photosynthesis Research | Year: 2010

The complete annotated genome sequence of Heliobacterium modesticaldum strain Ice1 provides our first glimpse into the genetic potential of the Heliobacteriaceae, a unique family of anoxygenic phototrophic bacteria. H. modesticaldum str. Ice1 is the first completely sequenced phototrophic representative of the Firmicutes, and heliobacteria are the only phototrophic members of this large bacterial phylum. The H. modesticaldum genome consists of a single 3.1-Mb circular chromosome with no plasmids. Of special interest are genomic features that lend insight to the physiology and ecology of heliobacteria, including the genetic inventory of the photosynthesis gene cluster. Genes involved in transport, photosynthesis, and central intermediary metabolism are described and catalogued. The obligately heterotrophic metabolism of heliobacteria is a key feature of the physiology and evolution of these phototrophs. The conspicuous absence of recognizable genes encoding the enzyme ATP-citrate lyase prevents autotrophic growth via the reverse citric acid cycle in heliobacteria, thus being a distinguishing differential characteristic between heliobacteria and green sulfur bacteria. The identities of electron carriers that enable energy conservation by cyclic light-driven electron transfer remain in question. © 2010 Springer Science+Business Media B.V.

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