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.