By Adrienne Fawcett
An interesting request came to GazeboNews earlier this week from a student at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee who needed help locating a GPS and other measuring instruments that fell into Lake Michigan after being launched in a high altitude balloon for a research project. Fortunately, the problem has been been resolved—so there’s no need to rush out onto the lake to help out! But it’s an interesting issue and worth a read. The note is from a student in the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences:
My name is Peng Yang. I am a student at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and am part of a student organization called Students for the Exploration and Development of Space (SEDS). On Sept. 23 we launched a high altitude balloon for a research project and it fell into Lake Michigan. It carried a foam box that contained measuring instruments including a GPS which was how we knew it was in the lake. Since then, the
GPS died and I have been keeping track of its position based on the water currents. From what I have observed, the balloon is making its way into the Waukegan/North Chicago/Lake Forest area. It probably is within 1-6 miles off shore.
I am contacting you because I was wondering if you can help us in spreading the message of our lost project to boaters and sailors. The box is made of foam and has black and yellow duck tape all over it. It is approximately 1 cubic feet in size. Attached is a lost flyer if you don’t mind distribute it. I would also greatly appreciate it if you can let me if there is anybody else that can help us.
Thank you for your time,
Peng Yang, Undergraduate Student of Mechanical Engineering, College of Engineering and Applied Science,
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
On Oct. 4, a day after GazeboNews received the note, I emailed Peng Yang to verify that this wasn’t a hoax or from a bot. It is indeed a real issue, and fortunately it has been resolved, as someone found the box in Pleasant Prairie, WI. Peng said everything seems to be in good shape even though it was floating out in the lake for almost two weeks.
“YAY!” said Peng. “The search can be cancelled. Thanks for replying though. I really am happy to know that you guys were willing to help us.”