Title

Designing Biological Experimentation Systems for High Altitude Ballooning

Start Date

27-10-2017 11:15 AM

End Date

27-10-2017 11:30 AM

Abstract

The prevalence of bacteria in the atmosphere has been well-established in relevant literature, suggesting that airborne bacteria can influence atmospheric characteristics including the development of clouds. Studies have also demonstrated that the atmospheric biological profile is influenced by the underlying terrestrial biomes. An understanding of the complex interplay of factors that can influence the atmospheric biological profile, not to mention developing a biological census of the atmosphere, requires a cost-effective experimental system capable of generating reproducible results with reliable data. However, as a recent balloon payload launched by JAXA demonstrated, these payloads are both complex and cost prohibitive. This paper discusses the evolution of experimental payloads for high-altitude ballooning for biological experiments that are within the means of most student-run experimental programs. Two proof-of-concept payloads, PHANTOM (Probe for High Altitude Numeration and Tracking of Microorganisms, a payload for the capture of aerial microorganisms at multiple altitudes in order to characterize the biological composition of the upper atmosphere) and ATOMIC (Atmospheric Thindown Originating Mutagenesis Investigational Capsule, which seeks to evaluate bacterial mutagenesis due to radiation), have undergone flight trials. The goal of this project is to develop a self-contained payload capable of real-time telemetry/telecommand and the measurement of atmospheric parameters related to bacterial fluxes.

Keywords: high altitude ballooning, biological, cost effective, experimentation, environment, monitoring, microbiome, bacteria

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Oct 27th, 11:15 AM Oct 27th, 11:30 AM

Designing Biological Experimentation Systems for High Altitude Ballooning

The prevalence of bacteria in the atmosphere has been well-established in relevant literature, suggesting that airborne bacteria can influence atmospheric characteristics including the development of clouds. Studies have also demonstrated that the atmospheric biological profile is influenced by the underlying terrestrial biomes. An understanding of the complex interplay of factors that can influence the atmospheric biological profile, not to mention developing a biological census of the atmosphere, requires a cost-effective experimental system capable of generating reproducible results with reliable data. However, as a recent balloon payload launched by JAXA demonstrated, these payloads are both complex and cost prohibitive. This paper discusses the evolution of experimental payloads for high-altitude ballooning for biological experiments that are within the means of most student-run experimental programs. Two proof-of-concept payloads, PHANTOM (Probe for High Altitude Numeration and Tracking of Microorganisms, a payload for the capture of aerial microorganisms at multiple altitudes in order to characterize the biological composition of the upper atmosphere) and ATOMIC (Atmospheric Thindown Originating Mutagenesis Investigational Capsule, which seeks to evaluate bacterial mutagenesis due to radiation), have undergone flight trials. The goal of this project is to develop a self-contained payload capable of real-time telemetry/telecommand and the measurement of atmospheric parameters related to bacterial fluxes.

Keywords: high altitude ballooning, biological, cost effective, experimentation, environment, monitoring, microbiome, bacteria