UNF launches ozone sensor

By Deanna Bettineschi

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A University of North Florida physics professor and his student team launched an ozone sensing device to the edge of space.

According to the professor, it flew to the edge of space to a record-breaking height of 102,200 ft.

This February, with the help of a commercial balloon space flight company and United Parachute,  it was launched from Arizona into the earth’s stratosphere to detect the ozone.

Student Ken Emanuel said detecting the ozone layer is important.

“The depletion of the ozone layer is a phenomenon related to different gases that come from us as humans. So keeping an eye on the ozone layer is an important entity,” said Emanuel.

Physics professor Dr. Nirmal Patel said the payload took about a six hour flight, and then landed in the New Mexico desert.

The data from the sensors were collected and then downloaded for the team to study.

“We’d compare, and hopefully, see what’s going on with the ozone, whether it’s being depleted. Right now, there’s no instance of holes, but in the future comparison of the data will tell us,” said team member Brittany Nassau.

Patel said depletion of the ozone layer would mean there would be more possibilities of harmful ultraviolet light passing through the stratosphere and hitting the earth.

The team said they will continue to study the data over time and send more payloads to the edge of space.

They hope to send another payload up in September 2015.

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