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Purdue science balloon, thought lost, makes dramatic return to campus
by Staff Writers
West Lafayette IN (UPI) Dec 03, 2013

disclaimer: image is for illustration purposes only

A science balloon launched by Purdue University students was returned to the campus after encountering tornado-creating storms and crash-landing in Ohio.

The balloon, launched by the students from the Indiana school the day before dangerous storms lashed the Midwest, lost telemetry high above Peru, Ind., and while calculations show it reached almost 100,000 feet there was no way to know where 200 mph jet streams had taken it, the university reported Wednesday.

The Purdue Earth and Atmospheric Sciences Department received a call Nov. 22 from a farmer in Ottawa in northwestern Ohio who found the balloon in his field.

Although severe weather had removed the contact information from the gondola, farmer Joseph Recker was able to retrieve a chip from the balloon's video camera and view its footage.

In the video, he noticed a student wearing a Purdue cap preparing the balloon, with other students in the background also wearing Purdue garb.

Recker did a quick search of the Purdue website and found the department most likely to have launched such a science experiment.

After a couple of phone calls and a recovery road trip, the balloon was safely back on the Purdue campus.


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