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Physics Club wins spaceplane payload!

Dawn Aerospace's MK-II Aurora spaceplane

Centaurus High School’s Physics Club submitted a proposal for Dawn Aerospace’s “Paint Your Plane” competition in 2020 and won a payload for the spaceplane. The Physics Club decided to focus their research on direct sampling and analyzing the mesosphere, an upper layer of the atmosphere with few observations due to the specialized aircraft and instrumentation needed to sample air at that altitude. Through their research, the Physics Club hopes to collect an air sample at an altitude between 60-80 km in order to calculate greenhouse gas abundances in the mesosphere, which could help to determine the mesospheric lifetimes (amount of time the gas resides in this layer) of these gases. To achieve this goal, Centaurus High School's Physics Club is partnering with local research scientists at NOAA's Global Monitoring and Chemical Sciences Laboratories in Boulder, CO to design a measurement system, analyze and interpret the collected air samples. With this goal in mind, they hope to not only inspire other students, but also to contribute to climate change research in an under-observed portion of the atmosphere.

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Learn more about Dawn Aerospace's spaceplane!