Featured Event

On the Drift: Exploring the Tropical Gateway to the Stratosphere with Super Pressure Balloons

Event Date: Wednesday, Feb 12, 2020

High-altitude balloons have been important research platforms for real-time investigation of the Earth’s stratosphere and as testbeds for satellite sensors and telescopes since the 1950s. Recently, there has been a surge of interest in ballooning for telecommunications and even space tourism due to technological advances (e.g. projects like the Google Loon and World View Voyager). Capitalizing on such advances, the France/USA collaborative Stratéole 2 project seeks to study the tropical tropopause layer (TTL), or “gateway to stratosphere”, with a series of drifting superpressure balloons. These balloons will circumnavigate the globe over the course of 90 days. The drifting balloons will make high-frequency measurements of meteorological variables, water vapor, ozone, clouds and aerosols and will advance our knowledge of cloud formation, transport processes, and equatorial waves in the TTL. The first of three flight windows began in November 2019 with the launch of eight payloads from the Seychelles.

In this presentation, LASP research scientist, Doug Goetz, will discuss the current state of stratospheric ballooning, give an overview of the Stratéole 2 project, provide first hand insight into the LASP developed Stratéole 2 instruments, and give some preliminary results from the ongoing flight campaign.

This February LASP Public Lecture will be held the second Wednesday, February 12 (rather than the first Wednesday, February 5).

LASP Public Lectures have been moved from the LASP Technology Building (LSTB) building to the Space Science (SPSC) building at 3665 Discovery Drive. (Behind LSTB, link to map above.)

Features & News

Brilliant Martian aurora sheds light on Mars’ changing climate

December 12

A type of Martian aurora first identified by NASA’s MAVEN spacecraft in 2016 is actually the most common form of aurora occurring on the Red Planet, according to new results from the mission. The aurora is known as a proton aurora and can help scientists track water loss from Mars’ atmosphere and sheds light on Mars’ changing climate.

Parker Solar Probe gets its first look at the Sun with help from LASP scientists

December 5

Over the past year, NASA’s Parker Solar Probe came closer to the sun than any other object designed and developed by humans—and CU Boulder scientists have been along for the ride. David Malaspina, a LASP Space plasma researcher, is part of a team of CU Boulder scientists who contributed to those early insights. The group designed a signal processing electronics board that is integral to the FIELDS experiment, one of four suites of instruments onboard Parker Solar Probe.

An India-Pakistan nuclear war could plunge the entire planet into an Ice Age

October 2

A new study conducted by researchers from CU Boulder and Rutgers University examines how such a hypothetical future conflict would have consequences that could ripple across the globe. LASP atmospheric scientist Brian Toon, who led the research published this work in the journal Science Advances.