This experiment was prompted by a recent NASA report concerning the effects of space weather on aviation. Like astronauts, ordinary air travelers can be exposed to significant doses of radiation when the sun is active. The Oct. 27th flight showed that it is possible to count x-rays, gamma-rays, alpha particles and beta particles using relatively inexpensive equipment. Such data can be used to check and improve research models of radiation percolating through Earth's atmosphere.
Another balloon flight could be in the offing. Solar activity is high, and a new fusillade of X-flares could trigger a radiation storm around Earth. If so, the student scientists plan to send their sensors back to the stratosphere for another look. www.spaceweather.com