High altitude balloons (HABs) are an engaging platform for formal and informal STEM education. However, the logistics of launching, chasing and recovering a payload on a 1200 g or 1500 g balloon can be daunting for many novice school groups and citizen scientists, and the cost can be prohibitive. In addition, there are many interesting scientific applications that do not require reaching the stratosphere. In this poster presentation we discuss a novel approach based on small (30 g) balloons that are cheap and easy to handle, and low cost tracking devices that do not require a license. Our scientific goal is to measure air quality in the lower troposphere. Particulate matter (PM) is an air pollutant that varies on small spatial scales and has sources in rural areas like biomass burning and farming practices such as tilling. Our HAB platform incorporates an optical PM sensor, an integrated single board computer that records the PM sensor signal in addition to flight parameters (pressure, location and altitude), and a low cost tracking system. Our goal is for the entire platform to cost less than $500.
How to Cite:
Potosnak, M. J., Beck-Winchatz, B., Ritter, P. & Dawson, E., (2016) “Low cost HAB platform to measure particulate matter in the troposphere”, Academic High Altitude Conference 2016(1). doi: https://doi.org//ahac.9512