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Weber State students sending research into space

OGDEN, Utah (ABC 4 Utah) - Have you ever wondered what it would be like to go into space? ABC 4 Utah is going to show you. We’re partnering with Weber State University in a two part series to give you a first hand look at what it's like to leave the earth's atmosphere.
OGDEN, Utah (ABC 4 Utah) - Have you ever wondered what it would be like to go into space? ABC 4 Utah is going to show you. We’re partnering with Weber State University in a two part series to give you a first hand look at what it's like to leave the earth's atmosphere.

A group of roughly 15 Weber State students and several high school students are getting ready to go into space.

"Virtually everything we're doing here is from scratch," said Michael Petersen, electrical engineering student.

"I've been at this for two years," said Shane York, graduate student.

Under the direction of Weber State's High Altitude Reconnaissance Balloon for Outreach and Research (HARBOR) program these young scientists are looking to send up a data collecting weather balloon 20 miles above sea level. That's half way through the Stratosphere, nearly to the same height dare devil Felix Baumgartner space jumped last year.

"We're above 99% of earth's atmosphere, we're literally at the edge of space," said John Sohl, HARBOR Program Director.

Sohl tells ABC 4 Utah onboard the balloon will be cameras to capture the journey and cargo loads of sensitive equipment used to measure the air. Each device has a different purpose.

"We want to see where the carbon monoxide is being trapped, we want to see about ozone and where it's at at different layers of lower atmospheres," said Sohl. "What's being trapped where, we don't really know. If we knew what we were doing we wouldn't call it research right?"

One thing students hope to learn is where Utah's pollution comes from.

"We're trying to trace the origins back down to where they came from on the surface or possibly airline traffic whatever it may be," said York.

While the numbers may be important, Sohl said the mission is just as much about working together.

"My goal is to teach the next generation of scientists and engineers how to work together, how to work as a team, how to accomplish a mission in a NASA style environment," said Sohl.

If you ask the students, they're excited to be a part of it.

"I'm actually participating in the science community and be able to contribute to it," said York.

"This is a chance to get involved and do something, apply what I'm learning," said Petersen.

The exciting part is when those students send the balloon into space. ABC 4 Utah will show you that Friday night, as well as the space video the balloon brought back.

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Follow Brian Carlson on Twitter: @tv_briancarlson

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