2022-2023 Science Planning Summary
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2022-2023 USAP Field Season
Project Detail

Project Title

Balloon Observations Of Microburst Scales (BOOMS)

Photo by Elaine Hood. Image courtesy of NSF/USAP Photo Library.
A-144-M Research Location(s): McMurdo LDB Site


Event Number:

Program Director:
Dr. Vladimir Papitashvili

ASC POC/Implementer:
John Rand / Kaija Webster / Chad Naughton

Principal Investigator(s)

Dr. John Glen Sample
Montana State University Bozeman


Supporting Stations: McMurdo Station
Research Locations: McMurdo LDB Site


Balloon Observations Of Microburst Scales (BOOMS) is a high-altitude balloon-borne x-ray imaging mission designed to take the first ever images of energetic electron microbursts. Electron microbursts are an important loss process from the Earth's radiation belts that appear as brief 0.1s bursts of electrons scattered out of the belts and into the atmosphere. Despite 50+ years of study from balloon and spacecraft missions, the size of these bursts has never been directly measured, nor has their distribution across the sky been observed. BOOMS will take these first images with a sensitive collection of large field of view x-ray pinhole cameras.

Field Season Overview

BOOMS will principally operate out of the Long Duration Balloon site. Space is required for 5-6 team members during a three week integration of the payload, and a remaining crew of two for launch operations/prelaunch checkout. Cargo support is required for 8 x 150lb (3'x3'x3') crates plus four smaller crates (TBR). BOOMS requires a recovery of its data drives from the payload in order to achieve its science goals. Recovery of the entire payload is preferred but not immediately required.

Deploying Team Members

  • Kelly Cantwell
  • Brady Griffith
  • Michael McCarthy
  • Rubin Meuchel
  • John Sample (PI)
  • Wyatt Wetzel