The Astronomy and Rocketry Society at the University of Leicester (AstRoSoc) are undertaking Project Aether, a research project into the correlation between the vertical profile of pollutants and weather patterns using a series of high altitude balloon flights (60,000-120,000ft). The team of 20 students involved with the project will not only build and develop the launch vehicle and recovery mechanisms but also design, build and run the onboard experiments and data transmission with the aim of a student-led research paper being published at the end of the project.
Making pollution measurements is a relatively common project for students, however not at the altitudes Project Aether are attempting to reach. Despite the difficulties this creates, it also provides opportunity to expand the project, for example by obtaining the correlation between pollutants and electrostatic potentials, as well as the possibility of photographing the curvature of the earth.
Although the number of launches is very much funding dependent, with a minimum of three launches already funded this provides a fantastic research opportunity for all those involved.
It is also possible to follow the progress of the project at https://projectaether.
Article submitted by Aleisha Hogan