Earlier this month, a large, white object carrying a string of pink boxes was seen floating through the sky not far from Roswell, New Mexico, but no one is blaming aliens, as was the case during the community’s 1947 UFO incident.
Rather than being an alien endeavor, this setup was developed by Miners — or students from Missouri S&T.
Missouri S&T’s team for the Nationwide Eclipse Ballooning Project traveled to Roswell to launch a weather balloon during the Oct. 14 annular eclipse.
According to Dr. Jill Schmidt, an S&T associate teaching professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering and the team’s advisor, a balloon carrying atmospheric sensors, tracking devices and a video streaming system was launched from Hondo Valley School in Hondo, New Mexico, and the team received live video through a ground station set up in Roswell.
“The balloon burst at around 95,000 feet altitude — just a few minutes after the moon passed in front of the sun — and all experiments were recovered northeast of Roswell,” she says. “The launch was a great success, and team members will be refining their designs and launch procedure before a launch from Perryville, Missouri, for the total solar eclipse on April 8, 2024.”
The Nationwide Eclipse Ballooning Project was launched in 2014 at Montana State University. NASA’s Science Activation program and Space Grant College and Fellowship program support the project.
Members of the S&T team who traveled to New Mexico include:
Other faculty mentors for the team include Dr. Yezad Anklesaria, assistant teaching professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering; Dr. Alex Douglas, assistant teaching professor of mining and explosives engineering; Dr. Catherine Johnson, Robert H. Quenon Associate Professor of mining and explosives engineering; and Dr. Hank Pernicka, Curators’ Distinguished Teaching Professor of aerospace engineering.
Missouri University of Science and Technology (Missouri S&T) is a STEM-focused research university of over 7,000 students located in Rolla, Missouri. Part of the four-campus University of Missouri System, Missouri S&T offers over 100 degrees in 40 areas of study and is among the nation’s top public universities for salary impact, according to the Wall Street Journal. For more information about Missouri S&T, visit www.mst.edu.