Former CU-Boulder students Erica Rodgers and Stan Straight put the finishing touches on SNOE just prior to launch in early 1998. Photo courtesy of the University of Colorado
A $5 million University of Colorado at Boulder satellite dubbed the "Little Satellite That Did" now is expected to re-enter the atmosphere and burn up in early December following a successful six-year mission.
The Student Nitric Oxide Explorer, or SNOE, is carrying instruments that have measured nitric oxide in the upper atmosphere that affects Earth’s ozone layer, the intensity of X-rays from the sun and ultraviolet light from Earth’s aurora. Developed at CU-Boulder’s Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics by students, engineers and faculty, the mission has been controlled from LASP’s CU Research Park facility 24 hours a day by students and faculty since early 1998.
"The SNOE satellite has been determining the influence of the sun on Earth’s upper atmosphere by measuring the amount of nitric oxide in the atmosphere," said Charles Barth, former LASP director and principal investigator of SNOE. Produced when solar X-rays are absorbed into the atmosphere, nitric oxide destroys naturally produced ozone when injected into the stratosphere 30 to 50 miles above Earth.
Charles Barth | EurekAlert!
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