12 July 2007
When CNES kicked off the Calisph’Air/Science Travellers science project, there was something utopian about the undertaking: getting pupils in primary, middle and high schools around the world working together to gain a closer understanding of global warming issues.
In the end, the project proved not only a wonderful educational experience but also a huge scientific success.
As its name suggests, the Calisph’Air/Science Travellers initiative in fact combines 2 educational programmes that CNES is supporting.
Calisph’Air is part of a broader programme to study the atmosphere involving 15,000 classes across the globe, while Science Travellers recently returned from the Moroccan desert, where French explorer Stéphane Lévin took a group of high-school pupils on an expedition to a region of the world where the effects of climate change are being keenly felt.
Working hand in hand with satellites
The aim of Calisph’Air/Science Travellers was to get participants in both programmes working together and then to compare their measurements—temperature, pressure, humidity, wind, ozone and aerosol readings—with satellite data. The satellites in the A-Train atmosphere and climate-observing constellation—Aqua, Aura, Parasol and Calipso among them—were tasked to acquire data for the operation.
The programme was in full stride from 26 March to 27 April. While pupils from 17 classes in France and across the globe were gathering atmospheric data, the Science Travellers were performing the same measurements in the Moroccan desert.
At the same time, other schools were releasing sounding balloons or devising their own science experiments designed to validate collected data.