In Print: Balloon Returns Home, Earthshaking Stadium
Dec16

In Print: Balloon Returns Home, Earthshaking Stadium

The Newscripts blog would like to be closer Internet buddies with our glossy print Newscripts column, so here we highlight what’s going on in this week’s issue of C&EN. Purdue University's Association of Mechanical & Electrical Technologists (AMET)--a hands-on STEM-oriented student organization that works on everything from robots to Rube Goldberg devices to rockets--expected the weather balloon that it launched on Nov. 16 to return to Purdue's West Lafayette, Ind., campus. As this week's Newscripts column describes, however, the trek back home was anything but predictable. Takeoff of the balloon started easily enough, as this video from the balloon shows: When the balloon reached an altitude of 40,000 feet, however, AMET lost all contact. As a result, the organization didn't know the kinds of spectacular views their balloon was enjoying as it ascended to a height of 95,000 feet above Earth. That ascension is captured in the following videos: Because everything that goes up must come down, the balloon soon plummeted back to Earth: And it wound up in the soybean fields of Joseph Recker, who lives near the town of Kalida in northwestern Ohio, 170 miles from Purdue's campus. The crash landing can be seen at the 16 minute, 10 second, mark of the following video: But that's only the start of the weather balloon's incredible journey. After finding the balloon in his fields, Recker noticed it had a variety of expensive-looking devices on it, including a radiation monitor, GPS unit, pressure sensors, temperature sensors, and accelerometers. Correctly presuming that the balloon's owners would want their expensive device returned to them, Recker tried playing the balloon's video camera for clues about who had launched the device. Unfortunately, Recker didn't have the equipment needed to watch the video at home, so he took the camera to a nearby fertilizer facility. There, Recker was able to play the video, which, at its beginning, had captured a number of students setting up the balloon for launch. Noticing that many of these students were wearing Purdue apparel, Recker put two and two together and contacted the university. “None of us believed that we’d ever see the balloon again," says Dahlon P. Lyles, AMET project manager and a Purdue student researcher. "And so all of us were just amazed that it survived and how much effort the farmer went through to actually find it and get it returned.” Lyles tells Newscripts that, since returning back home, the balloon has been signed by all AMET members and placed in the organization's workroom alongside other burst balloons. And the balloon doesn't just serve as a cool trophy for the organization. The balloon has also provided AMET with...

Read More
This Week on CENtral Science: Military Biofuels, Preserve it Like Beckham, and more
May31

This Week on CENtral Science: Military Biofuels, Preserve it Like Beckham, and more

Tweet of the Week: @carmendrahl @smbaxtersd I mean really, judging by the numbers, an alternative career today would be one where you get a faculty position.— Ryan G. Coleman (@rgcjk) May 31, 2013 To the network: Artful Science: How long should conservators protect David Beckham’s football? Cleantech Chemistry: It’s Actually Happening: Military biofuels grants Grand CENtral: Sarah Everts talks Artful Science at conservation meeting, Jyllian Kemsley moderated #chemsafety panel Newscripts: In Print: Mission to Mars, Molecular Fashion and Amusing News Aliquots The Watch Glass: Big Data, 1972-style and Bhopal Revisited and Chemical Genetics and Oil in the...

Read More