Newsmakers 2019: High Altitude Balloon team

Balloon Team

Today, Western News presents its 10th annual Newsmakers of the Year – a celebration of some of the people, places and things that shaped the year at this institution. Before we start looking ahead to 2020, join us as we take one last look at 2019. Visit the entire list.

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Supported by Western’s Institute for Earth and Space Exploration, the High Altitude Balloon (HAB) team brings together students from a dozen departments in five faculties across campusnot related to any coursework, simply for the love of science.

Conducted in collaboration with the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) and Students for the Exploration and Development of Space Canada, this year’s endeavor launched a vehicle from the CSA’s Stratospheric Balloon Base in Timmins, Ont., to collect microbial particles from different levels of the atmosphere.

The idea was to look at the species variations of different kinds of bacteria at different levels of the atmosphere, using it as a way to study the spread of allergens and diseases. The team was able to obtain four samples at 10 km intervals during the 12-hour flight this past August.