The goal of the Alaskan Ice Buoy project is to develop a buoy that collects environmental data from the Arctic and transmits that data back to Vermont. The project is also being used to gain experience with CubeSat Kit hardware, in hopes of using the CubeSat Kit platform to launch a satellite into space as a subsequent project.
The project was conceived in collaboration with the University of Vermont, which has been studying and mathematically modeling arctic sea ice. The ice forms in the colder months in the arctic regions, and melts in the spring and summer months. Unlike terra firma, this ice is constantly moving and shifting in relation to many variables, such as temperature, wind speed, and wind direction. One of the problems that the researchers at the University of Vermont have encountered is that they do not have enough data about the sea ice to model it completely. In order to better model the mechanics of sea ice, they need data to be collected from on the ice itself, which is the goal of the buoy.