Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

NASA’s BARREL mission launches 20 balloons

Date:
May 21, 2013
Source:
NASA
Summary:
In Antarctica in January, 2013 -- the summer at the South Pole -- scientists released 20 balloons, each eight stories tall, into the air to help answer an enduring space weather question: when the giant radiation belts surrounding Earth lose material, where do the extra particles actually go?

One of 20 balloon launches from Antarctica for the BARREL mission.
Credit: Image courtesy of NASA

In Antarctica in January, 2013 -- the summer at the South Pole -- scientists released 20 balloons, each eight stories tall, into the air to help answer an enduring space weather question: when the giant radiation belts surrounding Earth lose material, where do the extra particles actually go?

The NASA-funded mission is called BARREL for Balloon Array for Radiation-belt Relativistic Electron Losses and is led by physicist Robyn Millan of Dartmouth College in Hanover, N.H. During this month of bright, sunny days, the BARREL team launched a balloon every day or two into the circumpolar winds that circulate around the pole.

Each balloon floated for anywhere from three to 40 days, measuring X-rays produced by fast-moving electrons high up in the atmosphere. BARREL works hand in hand with another NASA mission called the Van Allen Probes, which travels directly through the Van Allen radiation belts. The belts wax and wane over time in response to incoming energy and material from the sun, sometimes intensifying the radiation through which satellites orbiting Earth must travel. Scientists need to understand this process better, and even provide forecasts of such space weather, in order to protect our spacecraft.

As the Van Allen Probes were observing what was happening in the belts, BARREL tracked electrons that precipitated out of the belts and hurtled down Earth's magnetic field lines toward the poles. By comparing data, scientists will be able to track how what's happening in the belts correlates to the loss of particles -- information that can help us understand this mysterious, dynamic region that can impact spacecraft. The BARREL and Van Allen Probes teams work together closely. They zeroed in on three specific dates in January 2013 with interesting geomagnetic activity to research initially, dates in which the data from the two missions overlaps and is particularly abundant.

Having launched balloons in early 2013, the BARREL team is back at home building the next set of payloads. They will launch 20 more balloons sometime in 2014.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by NASA. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

NASA. "NASA’s BARREL mission launches 20 balloons." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 21 May 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/05/130521134550.htm>.
NASA. (2013, May 21). NASA’s BARREL mission launches 20 balloons. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 1, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/05/130521134550.htm
NASA. "NASA’s BARREL mission launches 20 balloons." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/05/130521134550.htm (accessed October 1, 2014).

Share This



More Earth & Climate News

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Earth Has Lost Half Its Vertebrate Wildlife Since 1970: WWF

Earth Has Lost Half Its Vertebrate Wildlife Since 1970: WWF

Newsy (Sep. 30, 2014) A new study published by the World Wide Fund for Nature found that more than half of the world's wildlife population has declined since 1970. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Seismic Activity Halts Recovery at Japan Volcano

Seismic Activity Halts Recovery at Japan Volcano

AP (Sep. 30, 2014) Rescuers were forced to suspend plans to recover at least two dozen bodies from near the summit of Mount Ontake in central Japan on Tuesday after increased seismic activity raised concern about the possibility of another eruption. (Sept. 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Dolphins Might Use Earth's Magnetic Field As A GPS

Dolphins Might Use Earth's Magnetic Field As A GPS

Newsy (Sep. 30, 2014) A study released Monday suggests dolphins might be able to sense the Earth's magnetic field and possibly use it as a means of navigation. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
How To Battle Stink Bug Season

How To Battle Stink Bug Season

Newsy (Sep. 30, 2014) Homeowners in 33 states grapple with stink bugs moving indoors at this time of year. Here are a few tips to avoid stink bug infestations. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins