North Medford High School students work with NASA

Medford, Ore., — Some of North Medford High School’s brightest stars are learning the sky isn’t the limit when it comes to science.

Nbc5’s Nicole Stein spoke with some of those students who are currently working with NASA on a project that will capture the total solar eclipse next summer.

These 10 students are getting the chance of lifetime to be a part of five other high schools across the country to work on this project.

But they are also going to be a part of something that hasn’t happened in nearly 40 years.

“It’s one of the biggest events of our lifetime.”

Astronomy teacher Robert Black and his students at North Medford High will reach new heights, working on a high altitude project with NASA.

“I heard about it on a physics teacher chat room.” said Black.

North Medford is one of 5 schools across the country working side by side with the space agency for two years.

“It makes me feel really important.” said one student, Sarah Tang.

“It is quite a bit of fun, but very challenging at some points.” said another, Reyna Kerschel.

The project will send a helium balloon into space next August, to take pictures and videos of the total solar eclipse over Australia.

“About 10 o’clock its gonna go dark and a thin band from Oregon…” said Black.

If all goes right, the balloon will also be able to live stream the whole thing.

“Clouds can get in the way and block these big events, well it’s always clear at 100,000 feet!” said Black.

The last total eclipse like this one hasn’t happened since 1979, so for the students, it’s something new.

“I thought this will be a cool opportunity to watch the solar eclipse, because as a kid I never got to watch a solar eclipse.” said Tang.

The group of 10 students and 5 adults have already sent four test balloons since they started in March of last year.

But Black says they still have lots of work to do.
The project will cost about $12,000 dollars by the time they are done on August 21st of 2017.

But the actual launch of the balloon won’t be here in the Rogue Valley, it will be near Dayville, Oregon.

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