Weather balloon takes long way from Carson to Minden |

Weather balloon takes long way from Carson to Minden

Staff Reports
Western Nevada College students prepare a high altitude balloon for its launch on Dec. 4 at Jack C. Davis Observatory.
Western Nevada College

A weather balloon launched by Western Nevada College students from Carson City floated 17 miles into the stratosphere on Dec. 4 before returning to Earth in a field outside Minden.

College students Mandy McLaughlin, Alondra Rodriguez-Patino, Sy’Johnniqa Moore, Tyler Logan, Eduardo Lopez and Ciana Rollings participated in the Community of Practice high altitude balloon project.

The project was funded through a grant that WNC Biology and Chemistry Professor Dr. Elizabeth Tattersall received through the NASA Nevada Space Consortium. 

“The reason this is called a Community of Practice is having students work together, not alone, building companionship in science and bouncing ideas off of each other,” Tattersall previously said.

Physics Professor Dr. Thomas Herring and Geosciences Professor Dr. Winnie Kortemeier also participated in the research project, which began in August 2018. The instrumentation and sensors in the payload allowed the students to record temperature, pressure, radioactivity and altitude.

The balloon reached 88,872 feet before bursting and sending the payload to a rapid descent to farmland in Minden.

“We were able to visually track the balloon all the way up due to our clear Nevada skies and the sharp eyes of Dr. Tattersall,” Dr. Herring said.

Students who participate in the research project receive up to a $1,000 scholarship per semester.