After-school program encourages STEM education

Credit: Starbase Indiana
Credit: Starbase Indiana

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – STARBASE 2.0 is an after-school program that encourages students to pursue education and careers in science, technology, engineering, and math – or STEM. On Wednesday students in 6th-8th grade launched experiments into the atmosphere using a high altitude balloon. Some groups put in food, hoping to see how it changed going up that high in the atmosphere, and one group put in water with food coloring.  All the experiments and the housing had to weigh less than 12 pounds.  The balloon they used is capable of going as high as 100,000 feet above the Earth before it bursts. 5 on-board cameras record the flight, and in previous flights, have captured pictures of the curvature of the Earth, showing how high these balloons can go. This is the fourth STARBASE balloon launch.

The students and chase team can track the balloons all the way up and back down, and local airports had to be alerted to the anticipated flight path of the balloon.  As the balloon falls back to Earth, it is slowed by a parachute.  It is expected to land about two hours away in Ohio.  The data and images collected by the cameras and through the experiments will be part of the students’ final presentation at their graduation in a few weeks.  One student told NewsChannel 15 this program provides a sense of adventure that you can’t get in a classroom.  She is now thinking about pursuing a career in a STEM field because of this program.

You can visit the STARBASE Indiana Facebook page to see pictures from previous flights and any uploaded after this flight.  The STARBASE Indiana website will explain how to get involved and more about the programs STARBASE offers. This link shows the flight the balloon took on Wednesday.