In July, UKSEDS branch, Bristol SEDS launched it’s first ever project from a field near Cambridge. The high altitude balloon (HAB) contained a payload of important scientific experiments weighing 1.6kg. The HAB carried them to a height of 20.6km and over a lateral distance of 93km for almost 2hours before returning to the ground in a field near Norwich (see map). The payload included DUST, an aerosol collector for trapping samples of ice nucleation particles, a variety of sensors to test the standard atmosphere model and a camera for some tourist snaps. The project was funded by Nexus, the aerosol society and the Royal Meteorological society and supported by MBed.
A full report on the findings can be found here but to summarise – Almost nine hundred photographs were recovered, along with data from the sensors and the carbon pads bearing aerosols. Temperature and pressure data corresponded well with the standard atmosphere model, as shown below. The collected aerosols were examined in the laboratory using scanning electron microscopy and energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDX). It was unfortunately not possible to obtain quantitative results in the available time but a successful initial investigation showed that it was possible to identify the chemical composition of microscopic particles collected on the carbon pads.