ESS 205: Access to Space

Spring 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2022

Course description: Group development of student experiments to the outer rim of our atmosphere and the beginning of space; investigation of stratosphere, mesosphere, thermosphere, magnetosphere, development of exploration packages; basic electronic fabrication, global positioning, radio tracking, expectations at high altitudes. Open to all disciplines. No previous experience of electronics required.

The purpose of Access to Space is to take undergraduate students through the process of conducting a mission-based atmospheric/space science experiment. Over the course of the quarter, students formulate science questions, prepare and present proposals, design and fabricate electronic instrument payloads, launch the payloads on a sounding balloon, analyze their data, and present their findings in a final report. We cover science topics in atmospheric and space science in lecture, and provide an introduction to electronic circuits in lecture and lab.

During my experience as a TA for ESS 205 I have advised student groups working on a range of experiments, from relatively simple circuits measuring ambient air temperature and pressure, to UV photodiode circuits, cosmic ray counters using Geiger tubes, and many other kinds of sensors.