Tuesday, November 29, 2016


The acronym I've chosen for our HASP experiment is the Greenhouse, Ozone and Atmospheric Trace gas (GOAT) project. 

I've chosen this acronym for two reasons.

1. To bother Jimmy who likes acronyms about as much as he enjoys intern videos.

2. As a nod to a friend we made while in Fort Sumner. A friend I regret not hanging out with for longer.

Food was pretty scarce on our trip because we made bad decisions at the grocery store in the middle of the night. However, we had one standout meal at the Iron Mill Coffee shop . This little gem is so cute! They sell antiques and hand made items as well as delicious food and the best coffee in Fort Sumner.

We arrived there one day, totally famished, and ate apples as we ordered our food. I noticed that the yard across the street had goats and we decided to feed our apple cores to the goats after we got our lunch. I had picked out a goat that I liked because he had very parallel horns. When we left with our sandwiches and coffee I ran across the street to feed the goats while Jimmy indulged my whim but stayed with the car and took this photo. 



That goat. The one with the parallel horns? Also known as my second favorite goat of all time?


~The End~

OK, it's not really the end but come on. That's the best story you've heard today. I haven't told that story to anyone who did not immediately have follow up questions and you know what? I can't answer those questions but I had but a brief moment in time with this splendid beast and Jimmy did not let me go back. 

So. We HAVE to go back to visit this goat. 

This goat is tUR's spirit animal/mascot. Let's examine the evidence:
1. Goat. Goat's are the coolest.
2. PVC pipe
3. Duct tape

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

This Just GOAT Serious

The Unacceptable Risks, comprised of students from UNC, NC State, NC Central and Durham Tech, convened on Sunday night via Google Hangouts to discuss research findings and decide what payload we want to submit for consideration to be included on NASA’s 2017 High Altitude Student Platform (HASP).

We reached a consensus to continue pursuing an atmospheric study, with sulfur dioxide (SO2) being the focal point of the research. We will be examining the results of a variety of SO2 collection methods, including using hydrogen peroxide (H2O2), an Arduino sensor and two Ogawa samplers.  

Additionally, data on temperature, pressure, humidity and ozone (O3) would also be collected during our flight. Our submission will be called the Greenhouse, Ozone and Trace gas project, or, not so humbly, GOAT for short.

Upon the conclusion of the meeting, team members were given additional research assignments to complete before going on holiday. We intend to meet again on the Sunday following Thanksgiving for further discussions and to relay any new and pertinent information that may have been researched over the week.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

More North Carolina Space Grant Student Team Awards

If we are accepted to HASP we'll be able to fund supplies and travel because tUR was granted $5,000 through the NC Space Grant Student Team fund. What a relief!

North Carolina Space Grant Student Team Awards

Congratulations to the Durham Tech Programmabulls for being awarded the Student Team grant. This will help send students to Kennedy Space Center in April!

Monday, November 14, 2016

Darling, it's incredible that someone so unacceptable, thinks that I am unacceptable too.

We have new members. We are growing as wildly as Jimmy's hair.

And there's even more today!

Why would we mess with an unbeatable formula? Well. Let me back up. 

The last time I wrote, Jimmy and I had just returned from New Mexico. Soon after that, we had a presentation to give in Greensboro about our experiences with ballooning.

That talk went so well that we decided to add Dan to it and give another talk at the State of North Carolina Undergraduate Research and Creativity Symposium. 

But in between all of this talking, we've also been writing, writing, writing. We applied for $5,000 from NC Space Grant.

Why did we do that? Well, let me back up.

The entire time we were in New Mexico I kept saying to Jimmy, "I feel like we'll be back here." I don't remember him contradicting me and that could either be because he didn't disagree with me, or he did and I was too tired to listen, or because I didn't want to hear it and chose not to. Regardless, I had a spooky feeling the entire time we were at CSBF that we'd be back!

The week I got back from New Mexico was hectic and I had a lot to do to get back up to speed. One day Jimmy and I had a serious conversation where we agreed not to take on any new projects until the projects we were currently working on were completed. We shook hands. It was at that moment that an email landed in my inbox with an opportunity to launch our own PIPER scale balloon from CSBF in New Mexico. I almost didn't tell anyone about it, and by that, I mean I had told Jimmy about it within the hour. 

We told the team and they were on board, too. We agreed to shelve tUR-3 until the Spring and focus all of our balloon energy on this application. 

This challenge is going to be huge! This payload will be more advanced than tUR-1 or tUR-2. In order to complete the application we'll need to plan the entire project from wiring to diagrams. The proposal will be about as long as our PLAR. We'll need to call on help from all of our contacts and reach out to new people. Luckily, we've been meeting some talented individuals from all of our schools and other projects and some of them are crazy enough to want to join us.

We've already spent hours and hours of work just getting ready to apply and it is a national competition with only 12 spots, so we know that our odds of acceptance are slim. 

Last night we had our second all hands meeting and managed to get most of the team in the same room.

 We were focused.

We were a little worried.

We were at times overwhelmed by the challenge we've chosen.

But we're also eager to get to work!