January 1, 2014.
The BLAST (Balloon-borne Large Aperture Submillimeter Telescope) experiment surveys the galaxy from altitudes of 100,000 ft in order to answer important cosmological questions, such as how stars are formed. This experiment is conducted above Antarctica to minimize unwanted noise. Two star cameras are used in the navigation systems to identify known stars. The cameras take pictures and match stars in the image to known star positions from a catalog stored in the star camera's computer. This is done using code written in C++, a computer programming language. In order to modernize the system, the code needs to be updated. A camera that has flown multiple missions was switched from a legacy codebase that was used in past missions, to the star tracking and attitude reconstruction (STARS) code, designed for the E and B Experiment (EBEX), a similar, balloon-borne experiment. This switch required cataloging the parts of the camera, testing the camera with the legacy code, and adapting the new code for this particular camera. The result is that the camera takes pictures and identifies stars using the new code. The next step is to suggest physical changes to the camera's hardware to improve performance using the new code.
Astrophysics and Astronomy | Computer Sciences | Engineering
Dr. Seth Hillbrand
California State University, Sacramento (Sac State)
This material is based upon work supported by the S.D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation and by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. 0952013. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the S.D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation or the National Science Foundation. This project has also been made possible with support of the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation. The STAR program is administered by the Cal Poly Center for Excellence in Science and Mathematics Education (CESaME) on behalf of the California State University (CSU).