Astronomy NASA Collaboration
September 17, 2018
ARC students, led by Astronomy Professor Paulo Afonso, worked on-location at NASA's Columbia Scientific Balloon Facility (CSBF) to collaborate on an astrophysics project. The four-person student team constructed a payload capable of surviving near-space conditions in addition to collecting data that will help us to better understand the polarization of gamma- and x-ray background radiation, since this in turn may help us to better understand the many sources of such radiation, including gamma ray bursts, pulsars, and active galactic nuclei.
The ARC team wrote a 47-page proposal and applied to the High Altitude Student Program (HASP) in December 2017, and was then accepted as a piggyback payload in February 2018. The team has been working on the project together for more than 16 months. HASP is hosted by NASA's Columbia Scientific Balloon Facility; payload integration occurred at the Palestine, Texas CSBF location, and launch took place Sept. 4 in Ft. Sumner, New Mexico. The payload equipment was returned to the facility and the data was then analyzed.