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Location: UFOUpDatesList.Com > 2007 > Dec > Dec 6

NASA To Use Balloon Flotilla

From: Don Ledger <dledger.nul>
Date: Wed, 05 Dec 2007 19:37:26 -0400
Archived: Thu, 06 Dec 2007 07:24:20 -0500
Subject: NASA To Use Balloon Flotilla

Hi All,

This should generate a few sightings. Forewarned!



From: NASA News <hqnews.nul>
To: NASA News <hqnews.nul>
Date: Wed 05 Dec 2007 14:50:00 EST
Subject: NASA to Use Balloon Flotilla to Study Radiation That
         Affects Earth

Dec. 5, 2007

Dwayne Brown
Headquarters, Washington

RELEASE: 07-265

Nasa To Use Balloon Flotilla To Study Radiation That Affects

WASHINGTON - A new NASA project will use more than 40 high
altitude balloons to return new scientific insights about
Earth's Van Allen Belts. The type of radiation in the belts can
be hazardous to astronauts, orbiting satellites and aircraft
flying in high altitude polar routes.

NASA's Science Mission Directorate, Washington, has awarded $9.3
million to Dartmouth College of Hanover, N.H., for the study.
Research using the balloons can be carried out at a fraction of
the cost of using an orbiting satellite.

The new mission is called the Balloon Array for Radiation-belt
Relativistic Electron Losses, or BARREL. The mission's principal
investigator is Robyn Millan of Dartmouth. BARREL will fly in
2013 and 2014, and will provide answers to how and where the Van
Allen Belts, discovered in 1958, periodically drain into Earth's
upper atmosphere. BARREL will fly in conjunction with NASA's
Radiation Belt Storm Probes satellites, due to launch in 2011.

"The study of near-Earth radiation is very important," said John
Mather, Nobel Prize recipient and chief scientist of NASA's
Science Mission Directorate. "This research will provide
information to mitigate problems here on our planet as well as
permit better design and operations of new technology in space
and safer passage for space explorers."

The Van Allen Belts are a ring of energetic charged particles
that encircle Earth and are constrained by Earth's magnetic
field. Outbursts from the sun can pump additional energy and
particles into the radiation belts, allowing them to drain again
in a matter of days or weeks.

The balloons will be launched from Antarctica. They will expand
to roughly the size of a large blimp when they reach the near-
space research altitude. A single balloon of this type will
hover at an altitude of approximately 21 miles for as long as
two weeks. By carefully timing the launch of a series of
balloons, about one per day, Millan and her group of young
scientists in training can form a ring of balloons encircling
the South Pole to study the total influx of radiation from the
belts into Earth's atmosphere.

"This experiment will be the first of its kind in establishing a
web of balloon-borne sensors working hand-in-hand with a
satellite mission," said Dick Fisher, director of NASA's
Heliophysics Division, Washington. "In addition to the
groundbreaking science that BARREL will provide, this kind of
use of NASA's suborbital program is vital for training the next
generation of scientists in a wide range of areas."

The Radiation Belt Storm Probes satellites are part of NASA's
Living with a Star Program that is designed to understand how
and why the sun varies, how planetary systems respond and how
human activities are affected. NASA's Goddard Space Flight
Center, Greenbelt, Md., manages the program for the Science
Mission Directorate.

For more information on NASA's Living with a Star Program,


For more information about NASA and agency programs, visit:



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