NUI Galway leads Irish high altitude balloon mission to edge of space

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Galway Bay fm newsroom – Researchers from NUI Galway are leading an Irish high alltitude balloon mission to the edge of space.

The NUIG lead Science Foundation Ireland Discover programme team with partners from University of Limerick, Met Éireann and Lero, the SFI Research Centre for Software, will deliver school children’s projects high into the stratosphere to examine the effects of near space through experiments.

Earlier this year the ‘Spaceship Earth’ project delivered two space themed workshops to primary school children from Scoil Mhuire in Oranmore, as well as pupils from Limerick city and Tralee in county Kerry.

In these workshops children were taught about the importance of Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics and Medicine, how to ask interesting scientific questions, and then develop experiments to find the answers.

Tomorrow the space project will launch five high altitude weather balloons from Met Éireann’s observatory in Valentia in Co. Kerry.

The researchers expect these will reach more than 30Km and will expose the payload experiments to the extreme environment of low pressure, low temperature and cosmic radiation.

After maximum ascent the space balloon bursts, and then a parachute will deploy which ensures a safe landing back to earth.

Project lead and NUI Galway Professor Derek O’Keeffe says the mission aims to inspire and empower students to think big, beyond the horizon and show them that involvement in Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics and Medicine is for everyone.

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