Forty-three students in grades 5 through 12 from around the state gathered to launch a weather balloon with payloads they built to take atmospheric readings and digital photos of Earth. (Watch the video online.)

The students were part of the Changes in Altitudes program, which is offered by the NAU/NASA Space Grant Program on behalf of the Arizona Space Grant Consortium and the Phoenix Mars 2007 mission.

“The students take the data and images they obtain back to their schools where teachers can talk about what they measured as part of a lesson on atmospheric science,” explained Barry Lutz, director of the NAU/NASA Space Grant Program and professor of physics and astronomy. “Our hope is that this experience will let students experience the excitement of real science and make science less formidable and more accessible, so that they consider science as a potential direction for their future education and a career opportunity.”