The High Altitude Research Team has been preparing to launch another balloon into the atmosphere.
This team of BYU-Idaho students will take a balloon, attach a “payload” to the end and release it into the sky. The payload consists of several cameras, trackers and other devices that, in most cases, students have helped build.
These instruments track the balloon’s speed, height, location, temperature and amount of ozone gas where the balloon is at.
Adam Worden, a senior studying physics, created a device that measures the pressure and temperature of the ozone gas so he can discover the correlation between the two in preparation for his senior thesis class that he is taking this semester
“It is a place to come and play and explore what you are interested in,” said Emily Smith, a sophomore studying physics. “That is one of my favorite things about this, you do not have to know anything, and you can just come and jump in and learn whatever you want.”
This club was originally created after several people, both from campus and professors from different schools, encouraged students to participate in research with the eclipse that passed over Idaho in the summer of 2017. Because of the success and the opportunities that it provides for students, the physics department now sponsors the balloon team.
Since then, the team has not only captured the eclipse, but they have also flown a copy of the Book of Mormon to the highest of heights.
Any major, from engineering to communication or business, to chemistry and even people involved in ROTC, can find a home in this group, Smith said. The group is growing and welcomes anyone to bring their own unique talents and project ideas to the group.
Ryan Nielson, a physics professor heading the club, said that one of the main reasons for the club is to give students opportunities for research projects and experience, helping them receive internships.
Currently, the club has four categories: payload, communication, tracking and the balloon launch team. The payload section gets all of the devices that are going to be attached to the balloon packaged and ready so that they will safely make the flight.
The communication group handles the radio communication and makes sure that information gets passed between students launching the balloons. They also receive information from the devices attached to the balloon.
The tracking group makes sure that the balloon can be found again once it hits the ground. They are also the ones receiving all of the data being transmitted from the devices.
The balloon team is in charge of launching the balloon and making sure that the weight of the payload is good. Students can be in whatever group they want, or be a part of multiple groups.
The team is also hoping to add a group to help manage their social media and a group to help sinks cameras and manage the many photographs and videos taken by the cameras attached to the balloon.
“You can be your own boss in this team in that you can create things that others have not created before,” Worden said.