Mexican Polytechnic Institute Embarks on First Suborbital Mission to Study Microplastics in Stratosphere with NASA and US National Science Foundation

IPN to Join NASA Mission with Experimental Ship in Stratosphere

In December and January, the National Polytechnic Institute (IPN) will embark on its first suborbital mission to the stratosphere with the Emidds-6 (Experimental Module for the Iterative Design of Satellite Subsystems version 6). The mission will be carried out in collaboration with NASA and the United States National Science Foundation, with the flight departing from Antarctica.

Led by Mario Alberto Mendoza Bárcenas, a researcher at the Aerospace Development Center (CDA) of the IPN, the Emidss-6 module will be on a special mission FY25 trajectory aboard super-pressure balloons (SPB). This trajectory will allow for the identification of contaminants, specifically microplastics in the stratosphere, through image capture and environmental data collection during the balloon’s flight to its maximum floating point.

The presence of a persistent high-pressure system known as the polar vortex over Antarctica will enable the Emidds-6 module to maintain a constant altitude for an extended period, allowing for valuable data collection. The module will record environmental variables using sensors to measure humidity, temperature, relative humidity, and ultraviolet radiation.

In July, experts from IPN and other institutions underwent technical and electromagnetic compatibility evaluations by NASA experts to ensure compliance with standards. The mission involved experts from IPN’s Institutes of Applied Sciences and Technology and Engineering at the National Autonomous University of Mexico, Western Institute of Technology and Higher Studies in Mexico City, Mexico City University’s Molina Center for Energy and Environment in Mexico City.

Overall, this mission represents an important step forward in characterizing low latitude stratospheric environments using Mexican aerospace technology. It positions IPN as a key player in cutting-edge research and scientific exploration while also contributing valuable data to global efforts to understand our planet’s atmosphere.

Leave a Reply