Weather Balloon Launch
Sunday, October 26 was the launch of the meteorology class’s weather balloon. The class has done three other launches over the span of two years, but this year, there was a new addition to the experiment. Mrs. Dreissen’s biology class conducted their own experiment by sending a variety of organisms into space with the weather balloon.
“The goal was to get the students directly involved in a hands-on experience,” said meteorology teacher Mr. MacArthur, “And to connect the sciences, to show how they are used in the real world. We were testing whether organisms could survive in this extreme environment; that’s bringing in biology. That makes us wonder if they could live on other planets, connecting to astrology.”
The biology class launched an aquatic plant (elodea), water bears, and halobacteria. Water bears (Tardigrades) and halobacteria are both extremophiles; water bears can withstand extreme temperatures and high levels of radiation and halobacteria have survived the journey into space before. “Our goal this time was to see if anything lives,” said Dreissen.
The organisms were put into sealed tubes and zip-tied to the frame of the weather balloon. The goal was to allow the organisms to withstand the conditions without protecting them too much, so the class could observe the effects.
This was the path the balloon travelled, starting at Red Rocks. Photo Co: MacArthur
The balloon made it into the stratosphere and almost into the ozone layer of the atmosphere, so the organisms would have to survive temperatures of 93 degrees to -36 degrees Fahrenheit. They also have to survive getting to a maximum altitude of 99,711 feet and varying air pressure.
Unfortunately, the samples dehydrated before they could be examined, so the results are unclear. “Best case scenario, we improve on this design and send up something else for the next launch,” said Dreissen.
“The experiment was successful in that the balloon was launched and we were able to collect sufficient data from it. Even the things that some may call failures, like the fact that the battery died part of the way through and the biology samples dehydrating, are just ways we can improve and be successful in our next launch,” said MacArthur.
“I’ve been looking forward to this for a long time. It’s such an excellent opportunity,” said senior Anna Mate, student in both the AP Biology and meteorology class.
There will be two other launches this year, one on November 15 and one sometime in spring. The results from the next launch will dictate the actions the classes will need to take to improve or change the experiment.
Mikayla Rust, Editor in Chief
After Prom Fundraiser - California Pizza Kitchen
Join us at California Pizza Kitchen at the Park Meadows mall - 8343 South Park Meadows Drive- all day on Thursday, December 4th for an After Prom fundraiser. 20% of your check will go back to After Prom 2015. Purchases include dine in, take out, catering orders and beverages. California Pizza Kitchen is very generous by giving us 20% of the profits, please dine out on December 4th for lunch or dinner and support HRHS!
HRHS Parent Homeroom Survey
All parents please click the link below to complete a survey about homeroom and academic assistance. Click here to take survey
Ecuador and Galapagos Islands Student Trip
We are coming up on the registration deadline for the summer trip to Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands. I will be closing registration for the trip on Sunday, November 30th. If your student wants to participate on this trip they need to get registered online with EF Tours.
Preserving Ecuador from the Galapagos to the Andes
11-Day Trip between June 4th to June 14th, 2015 (might shift a few days based on flights)
Cost: est. $3900
Registration Fee: $100 (applied to trip balance)
Registration website: http://www.eftours.com/1542411RS
This trip is open to all 9th through 12th grade students currently enrolled at Highlands Ranch High School. A service component is something that is important for me to have in a trip. I want the students to have an experience that helps with cultural sustainability. On this trip students will have the potential to earn up to 12 hours of community service.
Here are some examples of service we might do:
-Build and help refurbish schools so local students have a safe place to learn.
-Construct hand washing stations and dig trenches to help provide clean water.
-Help plant trees and construct community gardens.
Do not let your student miss out on this once in a lifetime opportunity! This is the only time I will be offering this trip for our students at HRHS.
Please email me with any questions you might have.
Earth Science, Geology, Astronomy, and Meteorology
Video About Trip