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Local Students Get a Taste of Space 

Catherine Pegram

University of Maine students, along with some from Bangor High School, got a taste of space Saturday. They took part in a high-altitude balloon launch in Hermon. The project is funded by the Maine Space Grant Consortium, with support from NASA.This is the sixth launch since the program started more than a year ago. The balloon also carried an experiment put together by the high school team. It was designed to measure temperature, pressure and gas concentrations. The head of the program at UMaine, Associate Professor Rick Eason, says this is an easy way for students to get to space. “What they say is that the environment up at about 100,000 feet, which is about how high we’ll go, is similar to that of Mars. So the temperature and the pressure are similar to mars. So if you want to investigate that kind of thing, it’s a lot cheaper than going to Mars.”The balloon flew for about 2-and-a-half hours and the students recovered it north of Burlington. It reached 98,000 feet before coming back down to earth.