Montana State University Students Participate in NASA Experiment

Montana State University students are getting firsthand experience of working on the edge of space with a NASA experiment. The members of the Montana space grant consortium and students of the University gathered on a plateau over the Yellowstone River east of Livingston on Thursday for an experiment.

The experiment involved launching cardboard and Styrofoam boxes with a giant latex balloon filled with helium up to 100,000 feet. The summer project is part of a hands-on approach that Montana University students are engaging in. It is an opportunity for them to perform real world science and also get something to put on their resumes.

The project is called the Balloon Outreach, Research, Exploration and Landscape Imaging System. It involves sending temperature and pressure sensors, still and video cameras and a control center in a parachute up to specific GPS coordinates in the sky.

Berk Knighton, BOREALIS flight director, the nine undergraduate interns, three from Tribal Colleges, and one high school student, from across Montana, spent 10 weeks designing and building experiments for several balloon flights.

Randy Larimer, deputy director of the MSU Borealis team said that it was a experience that prepared the students for a future in the STEM disciplines i.e. science, technology, engineering and math.

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