This last week, Michael helped UNO and PKI’s Project HALON (High Altitude Learning Over Nebraska) on July 30th, 2015 with the launch of a high altitude balloon containing experiments from students at the NorthStar program. Jim Taylor, from Project HALON, writes:
“For several weeks over the summer, students from the North Omaha area in the all-boys program have been covering fundamentals of science, technology, engineering, and math as they completed the process of proposing, designing, and creating near-space experiments.
Among the scientific questions being researched through this balloon launch, include:
* How will air pressure changes as the balloon rises affect the size of a ping pong ball, tennis ball, and racquetball?
* How will exposure to UV radiation, low air pressure, and cold temperatures affect the growth of bean seeds?
* Will a candy bar exposed to the low air pressure and cold temperatures of near space taste different than one that remained on the ground?
Students collected and will analyze the data from the flight and present it to their classmates, friends, and families at the end-of-the-summer celebration at NorthStar on August 6th, 2015.”
This was the prediction for the flight. Because the balloon was overfilled, it burst around 75,000 ft. and landed a bit closer than expected.
It landed in a soybean field less than 1/4 of a mile from the road. Even though the soybeans were very short compared to the corn fields, it is still deceptively difficult to find the equipment from very far away without precise GPS coordinates.
This was the NASA-Nebraska HAB program’s 46th successful launch and retrieval. Here are some highlights from the drone footage from launch and recovery in the soybean field.