2014 test run of E-MIST hardware. Credit: NASA

2014 test run of E-MIST hardware.
Credit: NASA

 

UPDATE:  “Sunday scrubbed. Looking towards Monday now – weather is the issue” – David Smith

The Exposing Microorganisms in the Stratosphere (E-MIST) 2015 Flight Mission has a good chance of a balloon liftoff on Sunday, September 27.

That payload will be onboard the Long-Duration Balloon (LDB) Test Flight II, departing Ft. Sumner, New Mexico.

E-MIST mounted to the balloon gondola on Sept. 13, 2015 at the Columbia Scientific Balloon Facility in Ft. Sumner, New Mexico. The big red arrow is pointing to E-MIST. Credit: NASA

E-MIST mounted to the balloon gondola on Sept. 13, 2015 at the Columbia Scientific Balloon Facility in Ft. Sumner, New Mexico. The big red arrow is pointing to E-MIST.
Credit: NASA

E-MIST 2015 is an experiment that will study the survival of spore-forming bacteria carried to 125,000 feet above the New Mexico desert on a high altitude NASA scientific balloon.

The payload will transport known quantities of Bacillus pumilus SAFR-032, a highly-resilient bacterial strain originally isolated from a spacecraft assembly facility, to the stratosphere for up to 24 hours.

E-MIST Principal Investigator, David J. Smith at NASA’s Ames Research Center told Inside Outer Space that things look good for Sunday, weather depending.

Mars-like conditions

Earth’s stratosphere mimics key surface conditions on Mars. The air is thin, cold, dry, and irradiated.

On the E-MIST science flight, researchers will monitor bacterial survival in the Mars analog environment to help NASA predict — and prevent — microbial contamination of the Red Planet by exploring spacecraft.

Pre-launch photo looks down on the E-MIST payload from the top of the balloon gondola at Ft. Sumner, New Mexico. Several instruments/sensors and four sample-holding canisters can be seen on the front face of the payload. Credit: NASA

Pre-launch photo looks down on the E-MIST payload from the top of the balloon gondola at Ft. Sumner, New Mexico. Several instruments/sensors and four sample-holding canisters can be seen on the front face of the payload.
Credit: NASA

The E-MIST hardware system was developed at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The E-MIST hardware was successfully flight tested in 2014.

The upcoming sendoff into the stratosphere will mark the second flight of the E-MIST hardware — the first full science mission using the system — is from NASA’s Columbia Scientific Balloon Facility in Fort Sumner, New Mexico.

How to watch the flight online!

During the experiment, the public can watch the progress of the flight unfold by following the links to Fort Sumner Operations from NASA’s Columbia Scientific Balloon Facility website at:

http://towerfts.csbf.nasa.gov/

For video on the launch day: click “Near Real Time Video” under “Fort Sumner Operations.” Then click on “Fort Sumner UStream Video Feed.”

For real-time payload position information on the launch day: click “CSBF Test Flight II” listed under the section “Fall 2015 Flights Below.”

Electron micrograph of spores of the bacterium Bacillus pumilus on the E-MIST hardware. Credit: NASA

Electron micrograph of spores of the bacterium Bacillus pumilus on the E-MIST hardware.
Credit: NASA

Busy launch center

The balloon launching center has been busy!

On Friday, September 25, 2015, NASA’s Radiation Dosimetry Experiment, or RaD-X, was launched and landed today, ending its mission.

RaD-X is designed to provide first-time indications of how cosmic rays deposit energy at the top of atmosphere – an activity that produces showers of additional particles that increase the energy deposited where commercial airlines fly.

This experiment is crafted to improve NASA’s Nowcast of Atmospheric Ionizing Radiation for Aviation Safety (NAIRAS) model, which is currently used by public and private entities for informed decision-making about radiation exposure safety for flight crews, the general public, and commercial space operations.

Leave a Reply

Griffith Observatory Event