BARREL (Balloon Array for Radiation belt Relativistic Electron Losses) is a multiple-balloon investigation that will study Earth's Radiation Belts.
Atmospheric losses of relativistic electrons play an important role in radiation belt dynamics; precipitation into the atmosphere may even completely deplete the radiation belts in some cases.
BARREL is the first NASA Living With a Star Geospace Mission of Opportunity, and will support NASA's RBSP (Radiation Belt Storm Probes) mission.
I hope you are all having a good Sunday. We've had a busy weekend. The SANAE team launched another payload yesterday (1U at 1625 UT on Jan 26). We also terminated payload 1C yesterday (terminated at 0340 UT on Jan 26 at 76.1S 79.5W). Early this morning 1G and 1S were also terminated. 1G was up for 13 days and was over the Ross Ice Shelf so we were coordinating with McMurdo over the last couple of days to determine the best time to cut it down. It is still transmitting from its location at 84.33S 143.4W. 1S was unfortunately a leaker so was only up for 3 days. Payload II is only a few hundred miles from south pole station right now and seems to be headed back to Halley! We anticipate cutting it down soon as well.
News from Halley: Payload 1A is basically flight ready except for taping up a few seams. It looks like we'll have an opportunity on Monday or Tuesday.
News from SANAE: Payload 1V is going through final testing today. Currently, the winds are too high for a launch but they could have a chance in the next few days.
Geomagnetic activity also picked up again over the last day due to a high speed solar wind stream. This means we've had both kinds of storms during this campaign! The first activity we saw was driven by a Coronal Mass Ejection (CME) and this latest storm was driven by the high speed solar wind coming from a coronal hole.
Finally, Friday night was Burn's night (to celebrate the birthday of Scottish poet Robert Burns), but we celebrated it here on Saturday since everyone has Sunday off (except us). While we were outside enjoying the Halley Highlands games, someone spotted a balloon overhead. It was Super-TIGER - one of the balloons launched by CSBF from McMurdo earlier this season! It has been up for 49 days! Check out their project facebook page which has links to a few articles: www.facebook.com/thesupertiger. It was a thrill to see one of the "big balloons" over Halley!
All for now Robyn The SuperTiger mission was also mentioned in the news on MSNBC My dad [Alexa's dad] pointed me to the article in an e-mail titled "One Balloon to Rule them all eh?" He's the comedian in the family. When people ask how I'm doing, he likes to tell them that I have my head in the clouds. I keep trying to explain that we're flying above the clouds, so perhaps my shoulders are in the cloud, but not my head... When will parents learn.