NORTH BAY -- Students at West Ferris Secondary School in North Bay had the opportunity to chat with a renowned NASA scientist about climate change.

This is part of the school’s upcoming weather balloon launch. The scientist they conference called today is Dr. Ben Poulter with the Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland, U.S..

For the science students, calling the NASA scientist is nothing short of mind-blowing.

“It’s very exciting for me because it’s something I’d never thought I’d be doing,” said Grade 11 Student Aarya Patel. 

“There’s this big climate change problem. You don’t know really know how big it really is right. This whole presentation put it into perspective,” Grade 11 student Kristopher Smith said.

Dr. Poulter monitors the earth’s carbon dioxide inventory through satellite technology. His presentation to the students is based on the carbon budget and the role of remote sensing in monitoring global carbon inventory.

A group of students are preparing to launch a stratospheric weather balloon this spring to monitor atmospheric carbon dioxide to compare it with NASA’s measurements.

“Everything is all ready, like the calibration part. We just need to get the main code in,” said Patel.

The idea for this mission came when West Ferris teacher Kelly Shulman met Dr. Poulter at a NASA presentation and he offered his support.

“Dr. Poulter just approached me and suggested this idea of doing simultaneous measurements from our balloon of CO2 and their satellite of CO2,” said Shulman.

The school has launched two similar balloons in the past. The goal of this endeavour is to get students involved with the science of climate change and the role of carbon dioxide in global warming. 

“Our mission isn’t just about students learning but NASA learning whether their model is accurate,” said Shulman.

Shulman says it’s an important science lesson that she hopes will hit home for the next batch of future scientists.