13.04.2018 change 13.04.2018

Students will analyse UV radiation in the LUSTRO project

Photo: Fotolia Photo: Fotolia

Warsaw University of Technology students will use the LUSTRO experiment of their own design to study the distribution of UV radiation in different layers of the atmosphere with unprecedented accuracy. They will carry out their project within the framework of the international REXUS/BEXUS program co-organized by ESA.

The German-Swedish student program REXUS/BEXUS, co-organized by the European Space Agency (ESA), is addressed to European students who want to develop technologies and research using stratospheric balloons and rockets.

As part of this program, Warsaw University of Technology students are working on a system of sensors and rotating mirrors. According to their plan, the finished system called LUSTRO will be lifted on a stratospheric balloon to an altitude of about 25-33 km and remain there for several hours.

During the flight, two periscopes will collect data on the intensity of UV radiation. "The data will be saved into a memory card and transmitted in part via radio to a ground station to be analysed for modifications during the flight through the atmosphere. We want to look at what happens, e.g., when the atmosphere density changes or clouds occur. We are especially interested in clouds and their impact on radiation intensity" - explains project coordinator Aleksander Masłowski, quoted in the release.

Studies of the stratosphere that concern the intensity of UV radiation are carried out primarily from space, using satellites - and from Earth, using sensors. There are also distribution models of this radiation, based on years of measurements and experiments. Using a stratospheric balloon to check the intensity of ultraviolet radiation is not a novel approach, but students plan to expand the scope of this research.

"We are driven by curiosity and desire to complement the existing scientific models. We want to know if they give a true picture of what it is really like. We want to find out if the radiation processes in the atmosphere are actually much more exciting than we think" - says Aleksander Masłowski .

Thanks to the project, students can learn more about the distribution of UV radiation, and thus - gain very accurate and useful knowledge of the conditions, in which being in the sun is particularly dangerous for people.

LUSTRO (Light-and Ultraviolet Strato-and Tropospheric Radiation Observer) is the fourth REXUS/BEXUS project implemented by members of the Balloon Section of the Warsaw University of Technology Students` Space Association operating at the Faculty of Power and Aeronautical Engineering.

The team from Warsaw University of Technology has successfully completed the Preliminary Design Review. Students are now preparing to present the project to the REXUS/BEXUS experts. The team has completed two away stages: qualifier during the Selection Workshop at ESTEC in Noordwijk in the Netherlands and a training week combined with the project analysis by the ESA specialists in Sweden. "We are now getting ready to build a prototype and are looking for sponsors interested in supporting what we do" - says team member Justyna Wiśniewska.

Balloon flight with the LUSTRO experiment (as well as experiments of other teams) is planned for the autumn of 2018. The stage of analyses will follow. "Our first big success will be to set up the structure and find out it works properly, and the flight will be another, and the ultimate success for us will be to sit down once the research is done, cool down and think we have made it and it was really fun" - says Justyna Wiśniewska.

Detailed information about the project is available at: https://www.pw.edu.pl/engpw/Research/Business-Innovations-Technology-BIT-of-WUT/Gaining-better-understanding-of-UV-radiation-LUSTRO-project

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