June 6, 2018: For the past two years, Spaceweather.com and the students of Earth to Sky Calculus have been traveling around the world, launching cosmic ray balloons to map our planet’s radiation environment. We’ve sampled deep space radiation over Sweden, Mexico, Norway, Chile and almost a dozen US states. This month we’re adding New Zealand to the list. On June 18th, a team of 11 Earth to Sky students and two mentors will fly from California to the north island of New Zealand, where we will launch 3 research balloons in only 10 days.
Our hosts are Terry and Linda Coles of Enternet Online Limited (EOL), a leading New Zealand internet service provider based in Tauranga. EOL has been a supporter of Earth to Sky Calculus for many years. They sponsored one of our earliest balloon launches in 2013 when we flew their mascot, EVA the Cow, to the stratosphere. While we are in New Zealand, they will be donating all of our lodging and transportation. Thanks again, EOL!
Not only will we be measuring cosmic rays, but also we will train New Zealand students to launch balloons, hopefully kickstarting a STEM balloon program in the southern hemisphere. Five schools are participating: 1. Mount Maunganui College; 2. Otumoetai College; 3. Tauranga Girls College; 4. Tauranga Boys College; and 5 Bethlehem College. Some of those schools will be sending their own experiments to the stratosphere alongside Earth to Sky radiation sensors.
We can’t wait to get to New Zealand and share our adventure. Stay tuned for more information about what we hope to learn about cosmic rays by visiting the 8th continent.