Space Physics at Dartmouth -- LaBelle Group | Dartmouth Balloon Group | Theoretical Group















FAST Investigator

Laboratory Study


Personnel and Students





Real Time Space Weather


Parker in Africa

Home > Rockets > RENU

RENU: Rocket Experiment for Neutral Upwelling

Click here to view the most current updates.

Further information regarding the RENU mission, launch, and updates can be found below:


UNH graduate student Allison Jaynes' blog

Dr. Marc Lessard's blog: contains more introductory material

Photos/Updates/Blog from the rocket range

UNIS news article on RENU

Robyn Millan's blog from Antarctica

RENU article in "The Dartmouth"

RENU (Rocket Experiment for Neutral Upwelling) is a sounding rocket mission that will transit the cusp region during a neutral upwelling event. The launch window is 11/28/2010 to 12/12/2010, from 4 AM to 10 AM local time. For more information on the actual launch, please see the launch page.

Recent CHAMP satellite observations show evidence for atmospheric upwelling in the ionospheric cusp region (Luhr et al., 2004). These thermospheric density peaks are most prominent in the dayside cusp, typically last several hours, and exhibit a one-to-one correspondence with fine-scale field aligned currents. The proposed mechanism of Joule heating does not appear to be adequate to describe the small-scale structures. RENU will be equipped with a suite of instruments that will build on previous observations of this phenomenon, as well as acquire new types of data to provide a fresh perspective on this problem.

Specific objectives of the RENU mission are:

A) To measure neutral gas, ion and electron temperature enhancements, which will provide an initial assessment of the upwelling process.

B) To measure large- and small-scale Joule heating in the cusp during the RENU overflight. Large- scale data will be acquired by EISCAT; small-scale data (perhaps associated with Alfven waves) will be acquired using onboard electric field measurements.

C) To measure the precipitating electron energy input.

D) To use measured quantities as inputs to thermodynamic and electrodynamic models for comparison to the observed upwelling.

Dr. Marc Lessard of the University of New Hampshire is the principal investigator. Dartmouth College will provide top-hat particle detectors for measurements of ion and electron quantities crucial to satisfying the science goals. These measurements include ion temperatures, which will provide an initial assessment of the upwelling process, and precipitating electron energy input, which both theory and observations suggest may contribute to neutral upwelling. More information regarding the suite of instruments can be found on the instrumentation page.

Luhr, H., M. Rother, W. Kohler, P. Ritter, and L. Grunwalkdt (2004), Thermospheric up-welling in the cusp region: Evidence from CHAMP observations, Geophys. Res. Lett., 31, L06805, doi:10.1029/2003GL019314.