Hello GSBC Here is a summary of our balloon missions from THOR3 NORWAY from team member and middle school student Alexander Brandal. We are really looking forward to next year! Thanks for a great program!- Science teacher Per Veraas
On Tuesday, February 9, 2016, I signed in to the Global Balloon Space Challenge (GSBC) and created our new team by the name of Thor III with my science teacher Per Olav Veraas. My first meeting with true science and the door that opened my interests in promoting STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) started with our first balloon launch at the age of eleven when Per Olav invited me to participate in a high altitude balloon project.
Our first launch to 33 kilometers in June 2011 was a milestone for our group, since it was the first successful launch and recovery of a high altitude balloon in Norway by a middle school. Our teacher has been inspired to share our balloon projects with other schools as an educational initiative where each year we recruit new team members from other schools.
A total of five launches have been successful to a minimum height of 23 km in the atmosphere, with a maximum height at about 33 km in the atmosphere. All five payloads to these launches were recovered. The first four launches recorded video from a go pro camera and the last included an arduino weather board with pressure, temperature, and 3 axis acceleration sensors.
We share our balloon missions in the annual outdoor Science Fair known as Kristiansand Forskningdagene.
Our last and sixth attempt in the Global Space Balloon Challenge for 2016 was successful to about 30 kilometers in the stratosphere. A miniature stuffed toy elk was sent along with an Arduino weather board measuring temperature, pressure, and acceleration.
We have included students from three local junior high schools, and members of our current Team includes our oldest team member, Alexander Knutsen, who is twenty years old.
What started out as a simple project turned out to be a gateway to science and real fascination with everything. It grew and spiralled into a way for me and others in my group to learn much more than we would have on a regular basis.
Our first project began when our teacher found some pretty interesting videos on the internet about High Altitude Ballooning which in turn made us think through how we could turn this into a science project. We researched this theme and soon discovered that it would be possible to send a balloon filled with helium to the close proximity of space. Later we calculated how far it could theoretically go by including numbers such as payload weight, looking at weather patterns, learning what others have done and what kind of capsule would be needed to send everything to space. We would include a camera, and GPS device. An important consideration was the fact that the weight must all be under 1000 grams and the budget of the project had to be kept to a minimum. We were operating on a shoe string budget!
Our balloon launches are the result of many months of work inside and outside the classroom
All this happened in fifth grade, and now that I am fifteen years old I can reflect back on how meaningful it has been.
After our first successful launch we decided we would advance our explorations further and wrote various science reports. In addition we invited students from other schools to join us in the international balloon event known as The Global Space Balloon Challenge. We also participated in various contests, including the Teddynaut challenge, the International Odysseus contest and of course the Norwegian Unge Forskere (Young Scientist) Competition. Though I was not a participant in all the contests our teacher shared what was discovered in the projects in the classroom.
For example when discussing Charles and Boyles gas laws in our science class he could use the fact that, in our Teddynaut project, we used the expansion of a small balloon at 23 kilometers in the stratosphere to mathematically determine the air pressure, based upon the fact that the volume of the balloon expanded.
Our most interesting mission involved sending a miniature violin to near space and determining the altitude of the polar jet streams using the vibrations of the tiny violin strings.
Thanks to the Global Space Balloon Challenge for a fantastic program!