NASA Awards Grant to OSU Radiation Physics Lab to Study Radiation in the Atmosphere

 OSU Physics Professor Eric Benton’s proposal “Measuring and Modeling Solar and Galactic Cosmic Radiation in the Atmosphere for Space Weather Applications” was selected for funding as part of NASA’s Space Weather Operations-to-Research Program (SWROR22). This NASA grant will fund the newly established Atmospheric Ionizing Radiation Environment (AIRE) Institute at OSU to complete development and testing of radiation detectors for measuring radiation in the atmosphere in real time and then to identify, investigate and pursue flight opportunities on suitable airborne platforms for long-term, widespread deployment of this radiation measurement instrumentation. Candidate platforms include commercial, business, military and government aircraft, high altitude balloons, high altitude UAVs, and suborbital rockets. The research group’s AirTED radiation dosimeter is currently flying on a NASA WB-57 high altitude research aircraft (pictured). The grant will also support work in developing a computer model that predicts the radiation environment in the atmosphere as a function of altitude, geographic location and time. The grant is for $500K over two years and will largely be used to support the research being carried out by graduate and undergraduate students working in Dr. Benton’s laboratory and with OSU Physics adjunct professors, Dr. Kyle Copeland and Dr. Brad Gersey.