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Home > Research > Current Projects > BARREL

BARREL (Balloon Array for RBSP Relativistic Electron Losses)

BARREL uses stratospheric balloons to study the loss of high energy electrons from Earth's Van Allen radiation belts. The electrons in this region of near-Earth space are relativistic, moving very close to the speed of light. BARREL balloons measure x-rays produced by these particles when they are scattered into Earth's atmosphere. The first BARREL balloon campaign was conducted in Antarctica in January-February 2013, during which 20 small (~20 kg) balloon payloads were launched to 38 km altitude. BARREL works closely with the Van Allen Probes, two of NASA's newest satellites, launched in August 2013 to study the radiation belts.