Students at the University of Colorado at Boulder will soon be constructing a tiny spacecraft to observe space weather in the near-Earth orbit. The project is funded by a $840k grant from the National Science Foundation and is just the latest project in a long line of student-built spacecraft over the last 50 years for LASP, Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics.
This device will be about the size of a loaf of bread and weighing in at 5 lbs and will be designed to to measure energetic particles that have been known to damage spacecraft’s instruments. The data collected from this spacecraft will be combined with findings from other missions with the hope of better understanding electrons trapped in the Earth’s magnetosphere. See, who says you can’t do anything fun and educational at college these days? Building spacethings is damn fun in my book.