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Quartzsite, Arizona

Thursday, February 16, 2012

AWC science students to chase weather balloons from Yuma

Science Class Will Launch Their Own Balloon 
and Gather Information

Yuma, AZ - Professor of Geosciences at Arizona Western College (AWC), Christian Benker, Ph.D. and his Physical Geography class have been invited to participate in a project coordinated by the Near Space Research Organization. The team from Near Space Research Organization has prepared the launch for Saturday, February 18th at the Yuma County Fairgrounds. However, during the week leading up to launch the AWC students will be learning about the project and creating their own weather balloon data collection unit to launch.

The Near Space Research Organization will be conducting their weather balloon launch at the Yuma County Fairgrounds. Embry Riddle Aeronautical University has an instrument panel going up with that balloon. "They offered AWC the opportunity to send another one up at no cost," commented Christian Benker, Ph.D, Professor of Geosciences at Arizona Western College. "Only thing the students will have to do is put in a couple of hours to rebuild the data collection unit from a previous crash under."

Under the direction of one of their supervisors' weather balloon data collection unit will be re-assembled. The students will then be able to send their own data collection unit with the Near Space Research Organization balloon; collecting atmospheric data from it as it drifts. The students will also watch launch and even "chase" after the balloon.

The Physical Geography classes schedule of events:

Friday, Feb 17th from 10:30am-12:30pm- in AS 108-- Build team will view presentation by Jack Crabtree and Bob Shipton from the Near Space Research Organization and under their supervision build the data collection unit for the weather balloon

Saturday, Feb 18th @ 8:30am--chase team will arrive at Yuma Co Fairground for pre-launch check followed by launch and balloon chase.

**The balloon could drift as much as 100 mile radius and we will be tracking it from ground and attempting to locate data collection unit (or "payload") upon crash.**

Wednesday, February 29th @ 1:40pm in AS 108--The post-data team will interpret data collected. Students will present what data we gathered and its interpretations in class.


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