Aim high: Students compete in Near Space Challenge | KOB 4

Aim high: Students compete in Near Space Challenge

Joseph Lynch
October 09, 2017 05:21 PM

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- Twenty-six local middle and high schools are competing at West Mesa High School from Monday through Wednesday in the second annual Near Space Challenge, one that organizers hope helps students shoot for the stars.


The mission: launch a balloon with a payload of four Grade A large eggs 85,000 feet into the air and recover the eggs unharmed. Strapped on each balloon is a GoPro to document the flight, a GPS tracking device and a sound beacon so it can be recovered. Teams chose different ways to launch their eggs into near space.

This project isn’t just about competition, according to Tony Hillerman Middle School seventh-grader Megan Christophersen.

"Everyone has been close and has gotten to know each other a lot better because of this project," she said. "It was a lot of fun making because everyone had different ideas and everyone actually figured everything out."

The greater goal is to fuse science, technology, engineering and math with competition and fun. Those teams will also be experimenting with rockets and drones.

Matthew Garcia said he was glad to bring his students from John Adams Middle School to the competition.

"We've been launching balloons for the last three years at our school," he said. "We do this for fun. We send science projects up. We sent these balloons up with the solar eclipse that happened a few months ago just to get footage of the eclipse at altitude. This is just what we do for fun at schools."

On Tuesday, the teams will compete in a landing accuracy challenge, and on Wednesday a high altitude challenge that could take their rockets as high as 120,000 feet above sea level.


Joseph Lynch

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