Project takes to a sky for obscure study

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A high-flying investigate group led by Nebraska’s Michael Sibbernsen is partial of a NASA-funded plan that will investigate a arriving sum solar eclipse.

Through his work as special projects coordinator for a NASA Nebraska Space Grant program, a production and astronomy techer during a University of Nebraska–Lincoln is partial of a inhabitant plan that, during a Aug. 21 eclipse, will launch high-altitude balloons to collect information and tide live video from along a trail of totality.

Kendra and Michael Sibbernsen ready a parachute for a high-altitude balloon release. The Sibbernsens are co-leaders of NASA Nebraska’s High Altitude Balloon Program. Image credit: Troy Fedderson | University Communication

The Nebraska apportionment of a plan will launch balloons from a drift of a Stuhr Museum in Grand Island. The initial balloon, that will be expelled around noon, will lift tracking inclination and a specially-designed cargo that will collect environmental information and photographs while streaming live video of a obscure path. A second balloon will lift student-developed experiments, including an Iowa State University astrobiology plan that is investigate a survivability of germ during opposite altitudes.

“The obscure plan is a brainchild of a Montana Space Grant program, that came adult with a thought to launch mixed balloons nationwide, any pity a same cargo and broadcasting live video for people to watch,” Sibbernsen said. “We’re flattering vehement to be a partial of this history-making project, that will yield a singular obscure knowledge to a whole world.”

The work is an overdo of NASA Nebraska’s High Altitude Balloon Program, that Sibbernsen co-leads with his wife, Kendra Sibbernsen, a clergyman of production and astronomy and Metropolitan Community College in Omaha. As plan leaders in a final 5 years, a Sibbernsens have worked with students from facile propagandize to college levels to successfully launch some-more than 60 high-altitude balloons carrying a operation of scholarship experiments.

“These launches are an entry-level and facile approach to deliver students of all levels to a concepts of conducting space — or, in a case, nearby space — research,” Sibbernsen said. “The turn of a experiments depends on a age of a students involved, though any launch offers a identical knowledge — the fad of a launch, follow and recovery, followed by going by a systematic routine and converting a information collected.”

For reserve reasons, any balloon cargo is singular to a sum of 12 pounds — including a weight of a balloon and a parachute to delayed a contingent descent. The balloons soar between 75,000 to 110,000 feet, that is in a near-space segment of a atmosphere and above altitudes busy by airplanes.

Experiments operation from a elementary, investigate a effects of altitude on tough candy and/or marshmallows (which enhance due to decreased atmosphere pressure), to a some-more advanced, including NASA payloads like a Iowa State investigate and experiments that magnitude vast radiation. A new launch from Metropolitan Community College — which was a exam run for a second launch on a day of a obscure — enclosed undergraduate projects examining solar panels, CO dioxide monitoring and a specialized camera system.

After launch, a balloons are tracked around dual methods — a module that streams positioning information online and a fill-in complement that broadcasts around normal ham radio frequencies. Details about any of a NASA Nebraska’ balloon launches, following a events from pre-launch to recovery, are done accessible online.

“One of a best partial of a Nebraska High-Altitude Balloon plan is joining students to tangible scholarship and charity an sparkling ‘gee-whiz’ knowledge that we unequivocally can’t get anywhere else,” Sibbernsen said. “It is a singular approach to knowledge a systematic routine in action. And, we know for a fact that it has gotten a series of kids to demeanour toward aerospace engineering as a probable career path.”

Source: University of Nebraska-Lincoln

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