Potential Aurigid Particle Captured During the September 2, 2007 High Altitude Student Platform Flight


Jason Nissen, Montana State University, Bozeman, MT
The Montana Space Grant Consortium's (MSGC) BOREALIS High Altitude Student Platform (HASP) project was built to capture cosmic dust while being borne by a low pressure balloon flown by Louisiana State University. This project, from initial concept development, through construction and flight, and into particle analysis has been an undergraduate endeavor produced by freshman, sophomores, and juniors from Montana State University. The goal was to collect and positively identify particles of extraterrestrial origin. The capture device floated at 124,000 feet above New Mexico collecting particles for eleven hours on September 2, 2007, approximately forty hours after peak Aurigid Meteor Shower activity. Analysis is currently ongoing using a Field Emission Scanning Electron Miroscope for imaging and chemial analysis. Analysis conducted to date has revealed several particles of potential Extraterrestrial Origin.