Brett Anderson and Leslie Woodger, Dartmouth College
Title: "Mission Accomplished: A Summary of BARREL"
Abstract: The Balloon Array for Radiation-belt Relativistic Electron Losses (BARREL) project is a NASA funded multi-year collaborative mission that has now launched a total of 40 identical payloads into the stratosphere using long duration balloons. These launches occurred concurrently from two Antarctic research stations, one British the other South African, during the most recent two austral summers. The balloons carry the ~40 pound experiments up to an altitude of 38km and remain afloat for an average of two weeks, drifting over the continent of Antarctica following the circumpolar winds. The main objective of BARREL is to investigate electron losses from the radiation belts by measuring bremsstrahlung x-rays incident from precipitating electrons colliding with neutrals in Earth’s atmosphere. Each payload carries a NaI scintillator that detects x-rays from 20 keV to 10 MeV. Loss processes play an important role in radiation belt dynamics. BARREL provides a unique and novel set of Earth-based measurements that complement data from satellites, most notably the recently launched Van Allen Probes. This talk will provide an overview of both completed field campaigns, including a discussion on balloon launching logistics. We will also present interesting science topics that can be investigated using BARREL data. Dartmouth College is the PI institution for BARREL; collaborating institutions are the University of Washington, UC Berkeley, and UC Santa Cruz. Logistical support for BARREL in Antarctica is provided by the US National Science Foundation, the South African National Antarctic Programme, and the British Antarctica Survey.
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