PoSSUM Airborne Campaign Vol. 2

After a week of back to back missions, a new PoSSUM crew takes over the PoSSUM den in High Level Alberta to get a chance to collect even more data. On the agenda: breath-taking NLC displays, raging T-storms and more aurorae. Jump in!

The first five days with Shawna, Casey, Armin and Anima was really successful but went by so fast. They all flew at least once and the next thing you know, they are already gone back to their respective lives. It was such an honor and a privilege to have met and worked with such amazing and intersting people, who came from totally different backgrounds but were all PoSSUM candidates. It was a way for them to put theory into practice and they have worked hard during the first part of the campaign to get valuable data. On day 6th, they left early in the morning, and later that day, a totally new set of people replaced them at the PoSSUM den in High Level, Alberta: Jeremiah, Amy, Heidi, Alyssa and Aaron. The best way to introduce them to you is probably with a short film, so urge you to watch the following VLOG:

As if it was a coincidence, team 'blue jets' (As opposed to 'red sprites' the week before) had the opportunity to watch NLC's and aurorae on the first day of their mission! The display was really amazing and even though the northern lights were a bit weaker than during the previous week, the noctilucent clouds were way brighter on the other hand! Take a look at some pictures from that night!

On July 4th, the most amazing display yet occurred in front of our eyes, although no one was prepared for it. We had called a no-go for both teams because of horrible weather conditions that would eventually clear up a bit, but with great uncertainty. At around 1:00 am, I one out on the deck to check (old habits die hard!) and I shouted Jason's name as I'm seeing the impossible: very bright bands peppering the sky in the clearing night sky! Jason and I woke the woke up the whole house to start collecting data! Bjorn came flying out of his interview to get the PMC-Turbo cameras ready, and everyone enjoyed what was the best show of the two weeks from the ground. Even I saw structures (lacunous holes and ripples) that I had never seen before. I even spotted a strange phenomenon that I pointed out to Jason: another NLC layer was moving behind the bright one and is clearly visible in the time-lapse that I put together from that night! Everyone were really astonished by the display, as if they were seeing the ocean in the sky, and so was I! Here are some of the pictures at 500mm from that night. Be prepared to be amazed, or at least confused: yes, these pictures are taken in the sky!

Here is the time-lapse I took:

On july 7th, As new crew member and Post-doc fellow (out of the University of Toronto) Aaron Persad joins the team’s last two expeditions, he explained in the next video how thrilled he is to be working on the project. Alyssa will be the mission specialist during the first sortie, and I was occupying the same position on the second flight. Chris Lundeen remained at the PoSSUM den and took care of ground imagery. Dr. Jason Reimuller, our pilot on the sorties, wrapped up the whole campaign in a final interview. He explains how we were able to get very valuable and potentially publishable data on NLC’s, while working as a team with excellent crew ressource management. This campaign has been a great success both from a science and human-ressource perspective, and it enabled us to also test the instrument in a pro-active way, so that we are able to make improvements and build on it for the next campaign opportunity.

The campaign enriched me in every way possible. I got to do what I like, got to meet with generous and interesting people from different backgrounds, most of them in the astronomy and space field. I have now been assigned with a position beyond the mission, which I am very grateful of: I am responsible for the Project's science commincation and education, as well as public outreach, not to mention that I will still be in charge of a lot of ground imagery and film!

Here is a small clip of NLC's taken from the plane:

The next step is testing the space suits in Ottawa in October, and also a NLC conference in Hamburg, Germany in September that I will be attending. To finish a tremendous journey, I want to share some beautiful pictures that I have been taking in the two weeks in High Level. Enjoy, and don't forget to check Project PoSSUM's website and social media: Website: www.projectpossum.org .

Facebook page: www.facebook.com/projectpossum/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/project_possum/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/PoSSUMAstronaut

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCRGCgTwQAlo1lgCh72aneWQ