The NASA balloon program has for decades been a testing ground for novel experiments and hardware, often paving the way for space missions. Balloons have not caught on as a testing ground for the ultraviolet. However, once the Hubble Space Telescope eventually decommissions, our UV eyes on the universe will be dim. The ultraviolet gives us insight into galaxies, stars, planets, and cosmology. Here I present the groundwork for a proposed modular balloon platform to allow focus on qualifying technology (such as detectors and optical coatings) for future space missions especially in the ultraviolet. I’ll talk about FIREBall and other UV balloon and rocket missions, and the detector technology waiting in the wings for development and testing.
Watch a video of the talk.