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The troposphere is the layer of the atmosphere closest to the surface, with a temperature gradient that cools with altitude.

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Adventures of LegoMan
Teacher Contributed

The Adventures of Lego Man!

Why It Matters

Lego Man explores space!!—or maybe just the stratosphere?

In January of 2012, two Canadian high school students decided to see if they could launch a Lego Man into space using a weather balloon, a cell-phone, and a few other minor materials. Did they succeed?

To read further about this adventure: http://phys.org/news/2012-01-toronto-teens-lego-space-video.html

In the 96 minute journey, how far up do you think Lego Man made it? Did he make it out of Earth’s atmosphere? How do you know? Where do you think that he landed? What data would you need to figure that out?

Explore More

  1. After seeing Lego Man make it up so high in a simple weather balloon, let’s explore what these weather balloons are and what type of data they collect! Here is some information on NOAA’s website: http://www.noaa.gov/features/02_monitoring/balloon.html What type of data do they collect? Other than helping to launch Legos into space and helping us learn about the weather, what else could they do? Are there other methods to collect similar data?
  2. In order to help with perspective, take a look at this site ( http://www.bbc.com/future/bespoke/space_infographic) showing distances from the surface of Earth out into space.
    1. Which layer of the atmosphere do most airplanes fly in?
    2. What is the predicted distance that Lego Man went? What layer of the atmosphere?
    3. At what level of the atmosphere is the Hubble Telescope?
    4. What is the farthest distance ever traveled by a human?
    5. How far has a man-made object traveled from Earth’s surface?
  3. Using this scale model of the solar system as an example, design your own model to show the distances between the layers of the atmosphere and the solar system.
  4. What could be done to extend the distance traveled by Lego Man on future missions? Could his next vacation be to Mars or Pluto? Identify the limitations in the current design and suggest improvements.

Resources Cited

Mathew Ho. You Tube. http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=MQwLmGR6bPA

Phys.org. http://phys.org/news/2012-01-toronto-teens-lego-space-video.html

NOAA. http://www.noaa.gov/features/02_monitoring/balloon.html

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