Greensburg Daily News, Greensburg, IN

July 3, 2012

Moon pies & beyond

Tess Rowing
Greensburg Daily News

Greensburg — "Space popcorn is better than movie popcorn!"

This seemed to be the consensus reached by participants in a recent balloon launch who tried out their space-traveling wares Monday.

Last month, 20 children sent a hydrogen-filled balloon 84,000 feet into the air, packed with a payload of Moon Pies, popcorn, pennies, pet rocks and a Buzz Lightyear toy. The balloon popped not long after launch and crash-landed on an unsuspecting corn farmer's property, also damaging the camera that had been attached to the balloon. The payload was gathered Wednesday and returned to the Greensburg-Decatur County Library for a taste test Monday.

Monday's excitement at the Greensburg-Decatur County Library was sugar-fueled as the children compared pennies and debated if their Moon Pies tasted any differently.

The consensus came to about 50/50, those involved agreeing to disagree as to whether or not the Moon Pies tasted "out of this world."

The whole room agreed, including Lori Durbin, marketing and teen services coordinator for the Greensburg-Decatur County Library, that the popcorn tasted better with an atmospheric kick. The popcorn had also required an extra two minutes to cook, but the wait appeared to be worth it.

Durbin was pleased with the success of the balloon launch, saying the kids learned a lot from their hands-on experience, "This is the kind of learning I think we're losing in schools right now," she said, "Project-based learning."

The children admitted to having learned from the project, though when asked why others should partake in the experiment, participant Tristan Ingmire emphatically declared, "free food!" He later added the experience "was cool."

Student Nathan Emsweller was one of a couple of kids who sent their prized "pet rocks" into near space. Nathan wryly stated his pet rock likely missed him during its journey.

Contact: Tess Rowing 812-663-3111 x7004