PILOT: a balloon-borne experiment to measure the polarized FIR emission of dust grains in the interstellar medium
Future cosmology space missions will concentrate on measuring the polarization of the Cosmic Microwave Background, which potentially carries invaluable information about the earliest phases of the evolution of our universe. Such ambitious projects will ultimately be limited by the sensitivity of the instrument and by the accuracy at which polarized foreground emission from our own Galaxy can be subtracted out. We present the PILOT balloon project which will aim at characterizing one of these foreground sources, the polarization of the dust continuum emission in the diffuse interstellar medium. The PILOT experiment will also constitute a test-bed for using multiplexed bolometer arrays for polarization measurements. We present the results of ground tests obtained just before the first flight of the instrument.