Photos, Video and DATA from the Eclipse Balloon Project

Total Eclipse 2017, Camas ID, USA, by Dr. Jeffrey LaCombe

I’ve been back for awhile from our Eclipse Balloon Project launches. We’re still processing data we recorded from cameras and data loggers from 3 HAB balloon launches outside of Twin Falls, Idaho, (really from Camas, Idaho), but wanted to share some of the incredible visuals. Click on any photo to see enlarged.

This is the shadow of the Moon from about 23,000 meters (75,000 feet)

Video of the shadow moving across the Earth’s surface :

More video – Click Here

More photos from Dr. LaCombe:

Total Eclipse 2017, Camas ID, USA, by Dr. Jeffrey LaCombe – Peekaboo

Total Eclipse 2017, Camas ID, USA, by Dr. Jeffrey LaCombe – Full Disk

Total Eclipse 2017, Camas ID, USA, by Dr. Jeffrey LaCombe – Prominences

 

 

 

 

 

The track of our flight. Starts at the top near Camas, Idaho.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The prediction was very accurate – this is actually 10 predictions on one screenshot – yellow dots are predicted burst and blue predicted landing spot:

ASTRA flight prediction

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I did send up a small solar panel attached to a voltage data logger. We usually do this to record data on what happens to the voltage as the panel gets higher and much colder. But this is interesting for obvious reasons:

 

Note the voltage goes up as the altitude rises over time … then “something happens” that causes the voltage to drop to almost zero.

This balloon came down within sight of a temporary command center of sheriffs and other emergency personnel that had been set-up to help with the crowds and any issues that may have arisen. You’ll note that at the end of the data it seems to have gotten dark again. The sheriff investigated what had landed  nearby and picked up our payload and placed it in their command vehicle until we showed up. Once we had described it they briefly handcuffed Dr. Wang and I for endangering the public … then had a good laugh and took the handcuffs off.

Dr. Eric Wang and I handcuffed with our payloads in hand.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nothing too surprising about our temperature readings – at 28,000 meters (92,000 feet) it was about -42C :

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I have other data as well I might post later.

We successfully launched 3 balloons – one got to over 110,000 feet, but we also had 2 balloons pop on the ground during and just after inflation – one seemed defective, the other probably got stressed in the relatively high winds at the launch site and popped just as we were connecting payloads. Fortunately we had enough gas to fill 2 more balloons.

Learning is messy!!

NASA Pathway to Space – Drone Edition

Rockets and High Altitude Ballooning Yet To Come

PathwaystoSpace2015_Inservice_pdf I announced the NASA Pathway to Space class for teachers about a month ago:

“Starting next week a team of educators (including me) will be providing a class for local teachers of grades 3rd – 12th which will include hands-on training in building and flying drones, rockets, planes and designing payloads which we will then launch on a high altitude balloon to somewhere between 65,000 to 100,000 feet.”

I mentioned at the time how, along with the training, teachers would receive a drone (UAV) and build and keep another as part of the class. The first 4 classes focused on drones. Not just building and flying them, but on the laws and ethics that teachers and students must take into account in using them.

Below: Kirk Ellern from “AboveNV” explains some of the rules and laws around drone or UAV use. DSCF0289

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Above: Participants getting the hang of flying their new drones (cost just less than $50 including remote). 

Learning to fly the little drones is actually more difficult than the larger ones which is why Kirk Ellern and Rob Dunbar from AboveNV suggested using them. “If you can control one of these little fairly indestructible guys, piloting the larger ones is relatively easy.”
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Next, each participant built a “chuck” plane from a kit – so named because you throw or “chuck” it to make it airborne. However, these planes are designed to have a motor, remote control and more added to them if one wishes to do so.

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Teachers building their planes, YouTube videos demonstrate each step of the building process.
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Above: A first flight

So they’d be ready to fly larger drones they were given time with flight simulator software.
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We designed this class so that we meet on 2 to 3 Tuesday evenings to learn about and build drones, rockets, balloon payloads and then on a Saturday to fly what we’ve learned about and built. We were ready now for our “Drone Saturday” – so we met on a soccer field at a local high school and thanks to “AboveNV” and friends bringing multiple drones of all sizes we learned about and flew drones for hours. This included flying some while wearing goggles that see through a camera on the drone, so you are flying the drone like you are onboard.

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We really lucked out in that there was not a puff of wind all morning which made it easy to fly all the different sizes and types of UAV’s (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle) we had available. Here’s a link to all the photos from our “Drone Saturday.”

Up next is rockets!

Learning is messy!

NASA Pathway to Space Class

PathwaystoSpace2015_Inservice_pdf

Starting next week a team of educators (including me) will be providing a class for local teachers of grades 3 – 12 which will include hands-on training in building and flying drones, rockets, planes and designing payloads which we will then launch on a high altitude balloon to somewhere between 65,000 to 100,000 feet. The class filled in one day.

This is the second NASA Pathway to Space class we have offered, but the first to include drones. Last year’s class included rockets, planes, tissue balloons and a high altitude balloon experience as well.

We love providing Professional Development like this where we not only train teachers in the building and flying of the various “vehicles” – but also provide them with the materials and support to make it happen with their students as well. Teachers will either get their own drone as part of the class, or be able to check one out depending on our funding, but also planes, rockets and a balloon launch their students can utilize to send payloads they design up to near space.

Funding for the class came from a NASA Space Grant that includes funding for a second class next fall – so local educators watch for the announcement for that class, probably in late summer. Lots of hands-on messy learning for both teachers and students … my kind of class! 🙂

Learning is messy!

Yes, the High Hopes Project will rise again!

Photo taken from near space, June 2015, from the High Hopes Project balloon.

Photo taken from near space (26,200 meters / 86,000 feet), June 2015, from the High Hopes Project balloon.

I’ve been asked a number of times since the new school year started if the High Hopes Project will happen again this year, and the answer is yes! We met yesterday with a group of dedicated local middle school teachers that requested to have major roles in the project for their classrooms this year and discussed their participation as well as how the rest of the world can be involved. There will be some differences this year, but the return of some of the most popular aspects of the project as well. This Edutopia article about last year’s project will give you some notion of the project and the links on the project wiki page will further inform you about how you can be involved as well as links to photos and videos. We have to resurrect / restore the project blog and web pages, but the Flickr, YouTube and Twitter accounts are still up and running.

We will be bringing back, with a bit of a twist, an elementary bio-engineering project where students (yes, your students can  participate!) do a long term experiment to find a type of paper that will biodegrade quickly, or a substance that can be put on paper to induce it to biodegrade as quickly as possible. The paper has to be able to run through a printer or copy machine BTW …. and we will explain more about the project fairly soon. So be looking for updates here and on the project blog.

Learning is messy!

DeLaMare Science and Engineering Library

Maker and Collaboration Space

Last week I was part of a small group that was given a tour of the award winning DeLaMare Science & Engineering Library on the campus of the University of Nevada, Reno.

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Todd Colegrove,  head of the DeLaMare Library, took the time to show us around.

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We saw laser cutters, 3-D printers, large format printers, Lego Robotics, Arduinos and many more resources which they will not only allow teachers and students to use, they have people ready to help you learn about and use them. Since they are a no-profit they will also print your 3-D designs for cost.

They also have collaboration rooms, many that have walls made of whiteboard material, tables, chairs, computers and more, that can be checked out and used. They also support classroom field trips to the facility that be everything from a tour of the facility and resources available, to using the facility to plan and “make” using the library’s resources.

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Here’s a YouTube video that shows the resources and maker spaces they have available:

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We took advantage of the opportunity to print out in large poster size one of our favorite photos from the “High Hopes Project.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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We printed on a nice matt paper in 42 x 54 inch size and it cost less than $30.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m planning on making a trip to learn about and use the DeLaMare Library as part of classes and trainings we offer to encourage teachers and the community to take advantage of this incredible resource.

Learning is messy!

Edutopia Post About the High Hopes Project!

A few weeks ago I was asked to submit a post for Edutopia (Supported by the George Lucas Educational Foundation) about our “High Hopes Project.” It was a challenge based on my schedule right now, but on the other hand it forced me to be more thoughtful in explaining what is a multi-layered project. I was restricted, thank goodness, to 800 words or I might still be writing. You can check out the post here. It does the best job so far (according to my biased opinion) of explaining the project.

 

 

Learning is messy!!!