Mars Balloon Project

Mars Balloon Project

This week, Mr. Green launched a real-life, cutting-edge science competition to our students. Co-op Academy Walkden has managed to secure a spot on a fantastic experiment designed to replicate the conditions on Mars. This experiment, run by the Thales Group, will see a balloon travel into space, carrying over 100 student experiments from schools across the Uk.

Experiments will go up in a weather balloon to an altitude of 30km, which is more than twice the height of a commercial airplane. They will be above 99% of the Earth’s atmosphere. Along the way, they will experience conditions that are very similar to the conditions on Mars. These include temperatures of -50 degrees Celcius, pressures of 1/100th that of sea level, and increased radiation doses. By sending the experiments up into space, students will be able to test the response of electronics, materials, plants, and even food to the conditions outside of a future Mars base to help future explorers prepare for this strange and hostile environment.

The whole flight will last approximately four hours, and the MARSBalloon team will chase after the balloon to recover the experiments after landing, allowing them to be returned to the students for analysis.

Mr Green has asked our students to decide with their class/club on an experiment that fits the rules given by the Thales Group. These include fitting the theme of humans/robots work on Mars and being a maximum weight of 20g. It also needs to fit in a Kinder Egg prize box!

There are a number of awards that the Thales Group is offering to students and schools. In the secondary category, they are offering an award for the most innovative experiment, along with an Engineer’s Choice Award and a VIP’s Choice Award.

Students will need to submit their ideas to Mr Green and the Science team before they break up for half term on the 28th May 2021, as their experiments need to reach the MARSBalloon headquarters for the 7th June 2021.

Good luck to all of our students, and we can’t wait to report on the results of our experiments!