Why: 

Public engagement. Total eclipses are rare and very impactful events. For those who have witnessed them, it is a memory they keep forever. The NASA Space Grant network is in a unique position to engage the public in an awe-inspiring and educational way and for surprisingly small cost.

Workforce development. While the cost of conducting stratospheric ballooning flights is relatively low, there are  interesting challenges presented by this highly collaborative effort. These challenges are broad – technical, political, administrative – and present an amazing hands-on learning opportunity for the students who participate.

Partnerships. Several potentially long lasting partnerships with other federal agencies and with industry will develop. Several partnerships, including with MathWorks and World View, are already in progress.

Experiments: 

  • Engineering - In addition to the common camera payloads that will provide near real time footage of the moon’s shadow on Earth and the darkened sun and gps devices to detect eclipse-induced stratospheric gravity waves, teams will fly a secondary payload of their choice. Links to information and pictures about each team’s secondary payload will be included online. It is not necessary to fly the common camera payload to participate in the project as long as teams conform to our FAA and NASA safety requirements.
  • Atmospheric Science - Teams will be provided Graw radiosonde systems (DFM-17 and GSU) as well as surface meterological stations that meet World Meteorlogical Organization measurement requirements to collect basic parameters of the atmospheric such as temperature, pressure, wind speed, wind direction, relative humidity, and solar irradiance.

Project White Paper Fact Sheet - Coming Soon!

For general questions, please email angela.desjardins [at] montana.edu