Space Center U Atmospheric Research program

Ever wonder what it’s like at the edge of space? How cold does it get? How much air pressure is at 100,000 feet? The upper layers of our atmosphere are generally unexplored. In the Space Center U Atmospheric Research program, participants join a high-altitude ballooning mission where they take on flight roles and become citizen scientists as they explore the troposphere and stratosphere.

Space Center University for Atmospheric Research offers a challenging science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education program inspired by space exploration and citizen science. Space Center U ® is the ultimate educational experience. The program is constantly adding exciting new programs that show the intersection of cutting-edge research and citizen science.

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Students ages 11 and older will perform hands-on activities and collect data using technology for real-world analysis. They’ll launch and track a high-altitude weather balloon with cameras and sensors to study the troposphere and stratosphere, which is 70,000-100,000 feet or 21,000-30,000 meters high.

The troposphere and stratosphere are the lowest two levels of the Earth’s atmosphere. Almost all weather takes place in the troposphere and about 95 percent of the atmosphere’s mass is contained in these two layers. The next three layers of atmosphere are known as the mesosphere, the thermosphere and the exosphere. Once it reaches the stratosphere, the weather balloon launched in this program pops, sending the payload crashing back down to Earth.

Here’s a video of what that journey looks like.

Learn more about this exciting new program here.