Weather Balloon at Alexander Highschool
"This is within the realm of pure science. Let's see what happens when we do this and let's see what we can learn."
Not a place most men will boldly go within their lifetime, but see that's a different story.
Alexander's AP Physics class has set out tobe out of space through their final project, in attempt, one year after their predecessors, to launch a weather balloon with an attached ice chest into the sky to between eighty and 100-thousand feet.
"We want to bring back data from the atmosphere, what is the temperature, pressure, pictures, weather, all that kind of stuff." Eugine Yi, a student, says, "We're actually sending two ice chests this year while the other will stream video."
Project Pegasus will carry a camera that will snap photos at 15 second intervals.
Meanwhile, Project Zephyrus will simultaneously stream back live video as it rises, but the students face two dilemmas.
"Now we're getting into the testing phase of the experiment where they test the different components."
Rebecca Guerra, student, "Last year the condensation on the lens got in the way so you only saw a ring around the picture."
Carolina Gonzalez says, "We have to figure out a place to put the camera holes for the camera to come in."
Colder changes in temperature as the balloon rises create that condensation, so insulation is key.
And of course, what goes up, must come down.
The students worked for months on calculations on how the ice chest's terminal velocity with different variables attached like a parachute and streamers would affect whether or not it would survive the eventual fall back to the surface of the earth.
"We're actually testing from a helicopter to see which ice chest reduces the amount of drag," says Yi.
That same helicopter along with a GPS system embedded within will help the students recover the ice chest, which is expected to float to the east of Laredo as upper level winds push the balloon along.
All this work, a 6month task, to make the grade, and influence future generations
"We're trying to raise the bar so as the years, we get better and better and better data."