"The REXUS/BEXUS programme allows students from universities and higher education colleges across Europe to carry out scientific and technological experiments on research rockets and balloons. Each year, two rockets and two balloons are launched, carrying up to 20 experiments designed and built by student teams."
The aim of the IRIS project is to study the albedo of the polar region of Earth. By using Infrared and VIS sensors, we try to determine the albedo of different surfaces in the polar region.
We want to study the incoming and outgoing radiation, mostly in the infrared and visible spectrum. However, if the funding allows, we would also investigate the UV spectrum. We will try to find if snow and/or vegetation affects the albedo. We are expecting to find differences between the albedo of snow and cold white clouds.
The “red edge” is a spectral signature characteristic of terrestrial vegetation. This is due to the strong absorption by chlorophyll in the red region, in contrast with a strong reflectance in the near-infrared. We will use this to observe vegetation and distinguish between living and dead plants in order to detect and describe the anomalies in the terrestrial albedo.
As the albedo reflection indirectly affects vegetation, and therefore the climate circle of the next year, we would like to combine our data with albedo measurements of previous years and see its connection and effects of climate change in the arctic.
The decrease of ice and snow in the Arctic contributes to global warming, driven by the decrease of the albedo which causes fundamental changes in the Arctic ecosystem (and therefore to the whole planet). Our hope is that the IRIS project will provide enough data to help scientists across the world study this effect in greater detail.
The REXUS/BEXUS programme is realised under a bilateral Agency Agreement between the German Aerospace Center (DLR) and the Swedish National Space Board (SNSB). The Swedish share of the payload has been made available to students from other European countries through the collaboration with the European Space Agency (ESA).
Experts from DLR, SSC, ZARM and ESA provide technical support to the student teams throughout the project. EuroLaunch, the cooperation between the Esrange Space Center of SSC and the Mobile Rocket Base (MORABA) of DLR, is responsible for the campaign management and operations of the launch vehicles.