THARSIS Launch Announced!

THARSIS Experiment Tray
School experiments loaded onto the THARSIS tray

The first MARSBalloon launch of 2014 is planned to take place on Thursday 19th June, from Beckington, Frome.

The flight has been named Tharsis, after the volcanic plain of Mars that is home to Olympus Mons; the largest volcano in the solar system.

The team have received 70 experiments from 41 Schools across the UK for launch on Tharsis. These will test the effects of Mars-like conditions on a large number of items, including:

  • Food such as chocolate, marshmallows, popcorn, Jelly babies and peanuts.
  • Reactions of vitamin C, glucose, water, sodium hydrogen carbonate, copper sulphate, ethanol and methanol.
  • Everyday items including matches, tea, coffee, coke, toothpaste and bubble wrap.
  • Non-organics such as plastics, inks and metals.
  • Electronics such as batteries, sim cards, memory sticks and microcontrollers.
  • Radiation sensors.
  • Various organics including Algae, yeast, seeds, plants and a sheep’s eye ball!

The experiments will ascend via a massive helium filled balloon 30km up into the atmosphere (where conditions are similar to the surface of Mars) at which altitude the balloon will burst and the experiments will drop via parachute for a soft landing. We are expecting the ground winds and jetstream to carry Tharsis approximately 50km south for a landing near Yeovil with a total flight time of around two hours. The MARSBalloon team will follow Tharsis in a chase car to ensure swift recovery after landing. The experiments will then be returned to the schools that produced them.

live updates of the launch and flight will be available on the @marsballoon twitter account.



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