Thu. Dec 7th, 2023
    The Circuit Breakers Robotics Club Sends Balloon to the Edge of Space

    A group of elementary school children and their families gathered with excitement at the Laramie County Fire Authority headquarters in Cheyenne for a unique experiment conducted by the Circuit Breakers robotics club. The project involved launching a balloon carrying three containers filled with objects that the children had selected.

    The balloon ascended approximately 20 miles into the sky until it reached the planetary boundary layer, where the Earth’s surface atmosphere meets a less-pressurized layer. With the guidance of University of Wyoming researcher Phil Bergmaier, the children eagerly observed as the balloon was prepared for launch.

    Attached to the balloon were three small boxes containing items such as eggs, trinkets, plants, and other objects specifically chosen by the children. As gusts of wind pushed the balloon, Bergmaier maneuvered it carefully. The students counted down together, and when the moment arrived, the balloon was released.

    With cheers of excitement, the children watched as the balloon soared higher and higher, eventually disappearing from view. Hours later, equipped with a digital tracker, the Circuit Breakers program members set off to locate the point of the balloon’s bursting and recover the boxes and their contents. The journey took them to western Nebraska, near Kimball.

    The main objective of this project, according to Hannah Fields, who runs the Circuit Breakers program with her husband, was to demonstrate to the students the impact of different temperatures, atmospheric pressure, and direct exposure to the sun on various objects. Each box carried an experiment that the children designed, raising their curiosity about the outcomes.

    In addition to the experimental packages, a camera was also sent up with the balloon, capturing footage that would be used for a virtual reality program the students were developing for a competition in Casper.

    The Circuit Breakers program has experienced tremendous growth, with two teams achieving global recognition and the anticipation of further success at the state level. This expansion is part of a broader initiative to engage rural communities in Wyoming with technology at an early age. Matthew Fields, CEO of a local tech company and co-coach of the program, emphasized the importance of exposing children to various tech fields and building a network of peers with different areas of expertise.

    The Circuit Breakers program, through projects like the high-altitude balloon launch, aims to enhance the knowledge base and opportunities for Wyoming’s youth. By combining STEM education with real-world applications, students are encouraged to understand and explore the possibilities that await them in the ever-evolving world of technology.


    Q: What is the Circuit Breakers robotics club?
    A: The Circuit Breakers robotics club is an organization that engages elementary school children in STEM education through robotics and technology-related projects.

    Q: What was the purpose of the balloon launch?
    A: The balloon launch served as an educational experiment to demonstrate the effects of different atmospheric conditions on objects chosen by the children.

    Q: Where did the balloon reach?
    A: The balloon reached the planetary boundary layer, while ascending roughly 20 miles into the sky.

    Q: What did the project involve?
    A: The project involved attaching three small boxes filled with items selected by the children to the balloon and launching it into the sky.

    Q: What was the broader project associated with the Circuit Breakers program?
    A: The Circuit Breakers program aims to increase technology awareness and knowledge in rural communities in Wyoming, with plans to develop small data centers to aid internet access.