The National Polytechnic Institute ( IPN ) joins NASA on inaugural stratosphere mission.

The National Polytechnic Institute (IPN), in collaboration with the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), the Instituto Tecnológico y de Estudios Superiores de Occidente (Iteso), and the Molina Center for Energy and the Environment (MCE2), is embarking on an unprecedented suborbital mission to the stratosphere from Antarctica. This groundbreaking mission, known as the EMIDSS-6 mission, is made possible by an invitation from NASA and the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF).

Scheduled to take place between December 2024 and January 2025, the EMIDSS-6 mission will launch from the U.S. McMurdo Base in Antarctica, which is operated by the U.S. Antarctic Program. The mission will be led by Mario Alberto Mendoza Bárcenas from the IPN’s Center for Aerospace Development (CDA). The team will utilize superpressure balloons (SPB) for buoyancy, allowing the module to orbit the Earth once every 15 days.

One of the primary objectives of the EMIDSS-6 mission is to develop advanced instrumentation for detecting contaminants, specifically microplastics, in the stratosphere. By capturing images during the ascent to the maximum float point, the team aims to study the environment at various altitudes. This research will contribute to a better understanding of the impact of microplastics on the Earth’s atmosphere and ecosystems.

The unique atmospheric circulation pattern over Antarctica, known as the polar vortex, plays a crucial role in the success of the EMIDSS-6 mission. This pattern allows the module to maintain a constant altitude for an extended period, enabling the collection of valuable data. The team will utilize cutting-edge Mexican aerospace technology to analyze and characterize the stratospheric environment at low latitudes.

This historic collaboration between IPN, UNAM, Iteso, and MCE2 represents a significant milestone in Mexican aerospace research and development. The mission’s partnership with NASA and the NSF further highlights the international recognition and support for this groundbreaking endeavor. The EMIDSS-6 mission promises to contribute valuable insights into the stratospheric environment and advance scientific knowledge in the field of aerospace technology.

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