Adventures of a Modern Day, Middle-Aged Hero, on the Glory Road(to family security)


Look at that!

Wow...I actually remembered my password.  It's been like two weeks...sorry.  There just hasn't been anything to post about that has been more important than other stuff I had to do. 

Last weekend, we got to do some fun science related stuff.  My older daughter has been taking a STEAM workshop, and all semester they have been working towards a big project...launching a weather balloon. As part of that, they have been designing and shock proofing 'instrument packages'.  Some kids had cameras, some kids had thermometers to track temperature gradients, and some had barometers. 

The time had come to launch them, which meant being on site at 7AM in a mystery location.  It was a mystery location because the PhD that was selflessly volunteering his time to lead the project had to use a couple of neat atmospheric prediction websites to plot the path we wanted to balloon to take.  It had to be reverse engineered...we were much worried about where it came down than where it went up.  We had to do our best to avoid it coming down in an area criss-crossed by power lines, or into a wind farm.  So...we basically had to wake up Saturday morning and wait for a phone call about where we were going.  Luckily, it was only about a 45 minute drive west of the house, which was going to allow the balloons to hopefully end up East North East of the Tri-Cities, in  some poor farmers field.

I was pretty impressed by the scale and scope of everything.  I had no idea that these balloons were supposed to go up to 85,000 feet plus before they finally popped and started coming down. Likewise, I had no idea that it takes almost 40 minutes for an instrument package on a parachute to fall to earth from 85,000 feet, and that we would have to chase said balloon over 70 miles.  It kind of felt like the movie Twister...running around on back dirt roads trying to find the best path to where the GPS unit was telling us that the balloons were coming down.

Finally, I didn't realize that 85,000 feet was high enough to get a picture like this out of a Go Pro Camera.

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