The Student Nitric Oxide Explorer, or SNOE, was a small scientific spacecraft designed to measure nitric oxide in Earth’s upper atmosphere. Nitric oxide plays a significant role in the formation of the ionosphere, the part of Earth’s atmosphere where particles separate into ions and electrons. Changes in the ionosphere can result in significant disruptions in our communications, such as radio and GPS. SNOE investigated how energy flows among the sun, Earth’s magnetic system, and the upper atmosphere to influence the abundance of nitric oxide and the ionosphere’s structure.
SNOE was designed, built, and operated by the Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics, or LASP, at the University of Colorado at Boulder. SNOE was part of the Student Explorer Demonstration Initiative, or STEDI, program. STEDI was funded by NASA and managed by the Universities Space Research Association.