Students safely drop a Geiger counter from 105,000 feet up - without a parachute
Posted by David Brooks | Wednesday, July 25, 2012
High school students in a UNH summer science program sent a Geiger counter and a few other instruments up to the edge of space on a weather balloon, making it to 105,000 feet before the balloon burst. That's cool but hardly unprecedented: camera-carrying, edge-of-space flights are a common high-end amateur science project.
What's very cool is that they returned the equipment to Earth on a parachute-less vehicle, a four-pound chunk of styrofoam that drifted down to Massachusetts. This method of re-entry may be unique. (The Bad Astronomy blog noted it, too)
Here is part of the UNH report:
The four-pound re-entry vehicle drifted 40 miles southeast and landed thirty minutes later in rural Templeton, Mass. with the payload fully intact. The payload also contained an altimeter, two temperature sensors, and the three cameras, two of which were the size of a pack of gum. During the flight, the students successfully obtained real-time measurements of changing levels of cosmic rays and changes in atmospheric temperature and pressure.