Thursday, November 19, 2009


Welcome to the BARREL 2009/2010 Antarctic balloon campaign!!

BARREL is a balloon experiment to study Earth's radiation belts. The project is supported by the NASA Living With a Star Program. Read more about the BARREL science objectives.
     The BARREL science team consists of personnel from Dartmouth College, University of Washington, U. C. Berkeley, and U. C. Santa Cruz. The project is managed by the NASA Balloon Program Office.
     This season, we are launching five prototype balloon payloads from McMurdo, Antarctica. Campaign operations are supported by the  Columbia Scientific Balloon Facility and the National Science Foundation.

Each BARREL payload is 2' X 2' X 2' and weighs about 50 lbs.  A 300,000 cubic foot helium-filled balloon will carry each payload to about 30 km altitude.
    The primary instrument is a sodium iodide scintillator to detect X-rays produced by radiation belt electrons as they enter Earth's atmosphere. Each payload also carries a magnetometer, GPS receiver, and an Iridium satellite model used for telemetering data to our ground station at U. C. Santa Cruz. Power is provided by solar panels, taking advantage of the 24 hour Antarctic sun!