August 29, 2014
Off to Fort Sumner
On Friday, Aug. 29, the Balloon Observation Platform for Planetary Science (BOPPS) gondola, telescope and flight equipment left the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Md. and were packed into two trucks, bound for a drive of more than 1,700 miles to Fort Sumner, New Mexico.
There, at the NASA Columbia Scientific Balloon Facility, BOPPS is scheduled to ascend roughly 130,000 feet above Earth on a mission to study comets PANSTARRS (C/2012 K1) and Siding Spring (C/2013 A1), in addition to other planned targets (depending on launch date) including asteroids, Earth’s moon, and Neptune and Uranus.