The recently discovered comet ISON will be making its first earth flyby later this September, and with any luck, it will whip around the sun for a very close and spectacular visual approach in December 2013. Tentative hopes are for this to be the comet of the century!
More on ISON here.
Its approach presents a huge opportunity to study these relatively unknown celestial bodies, and is the driving force behind the BRRISON mission. Hopefully, we will learn more about the comet’s makeup, behavior as it rounds the sun, an maybe learn more about the Oort Cloud. Pretty cool! The short timeline between discovery and when the observing needs to happen makes this a perfect opportunity to employ a high altitude balloon. Eliot Young is the Principle Investigator for this project, and its been his goal for years now to prove high altitude balloons as viable, cheaper alternatives to space-like planetary observations normally only available from satellites. This is the first planetary observation mission from a balloon in almost 50 years, and DayStar is stoked to be a part of the team! More details are to come shortly