Balloon science

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zarnic

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Discovery channel showed a parachute replacing a tether belonging to a giagantic balloon when lowering a testing unit back to earth. Question - whatever happened to the balloon? I think we have enough 'junk' floating around up there without adding balloons to the mix. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p><em>Wisdom doesn't automatically come with old age. Nothing does - except wrinkles.</em> A. Van Buren, 1978<br />* <em>An unbreakable toy is useful for breaking other toys.</em>  -- according to Van Roy</p> </div>
 
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3488

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The balloon would have descended & landed somewhere, when it deflated.<br /><br />A balloon is not in orbit.<br /><br />Andrew Brown. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p><font color="#000080">"I suddenly noticed an anomaly to the left of Io, just off the rim of that world. It was extremely large with respect to the overall size of Io and crescent shaped. It seemed unbelievable that something that big had not been visible before".</font> <em><strong><font color="#000000">Linda Morabito </font></strong><font color="#800000">on discovering that the Jupiter moon Io was volcanically active. Friday 9th March 1979.</font></em></p><p><font size="1" color="#000080">http://www.launchphotography.com/</font><br /><br /><font size="1" color="#000080">http://anthmartian.googlepages.com/thisislandearth</font></p><p><font size="1" color="#000080">http://web.me.com/meridianijournal</font></p> </div>
 
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heyscottie

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A balloon could not attain orbit -- remember, a balloon floats only because it is less dense than surrounding medium. But it can't get less dense than space! Balloons can get into the upper atmosphere, but no further.
 
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zarnic

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Apparently because it is more economical than using the shuttle and can stay around in the upper atmosphere for long periods of time a balloon is preferred. If the payload is no longer attached the change in weight should allow some rise in the ballon, which has its' diameter increasing when the outside pressure decreases. IF this balloon comes down, then where? Do we all run out and buy hard hats? First! <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p><em>Wisdom doesn't automatically come with old age. Nothing does - except wrinkles.</em> A. Van Buren, 1978<br />* <em>An unbreakable toy is useful for breaking other toys.</em>  -- according to Van Roy</p> </div>
 
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docm

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Actually the larger research balloons are first separated from their payload (instrument packs, telescopes etc.) by explosive bolts, landed by parachute then the envelope itself is split open by another charge. It generally falls a few kilometers from where the payload lands.<br /><br />The area they can land in is preplanned and controlled by the local aviation agency; FAA in the US etc. For this reason flights follow known air currents that will take them over low population areas where they can be safely brought down.<br /><br />A good example is the BLAST. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> </div>
 
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wurf

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I saw a documentary once describing an experiment done by a U.S. Air Force test pilot in the 1950's. They put him in a basket under a large helium balloon and his job was simply to go as high as he possibly could and see what happens. He had a parachute and an oxygen mask. The only detail I remember is that at some point he began to nod off so he bailed out. I don't remember what else he reported about the ride. Could a person ride a balloon high enough to see the curvature of the earth, or the blackness of space? If he had oxygen, why would he have started to lose consciousness? Hypothermia?
 
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nexium

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Hi Wurf: If the balloon reach 120,000 feet, the pilot was not getting enouph oxygen even with an oxygen mask. If he was using one of those contraptions that force large volumes of oxygen in and out of his lungs, he would be very tired after one or two hours. It may have taken more than 24 hours to reach the bailout altitude, so he was sleep deprived. Low body temperature was likely a minor problem, but several minor problems such as bloating, ear pain etc may have combined to trigger the bailout decision. If he bailed out about sunset the balloon likely would not move higher until mid morning the next day, unless he bailed out, thus reducing the weight. Neil
 
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3488

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How's this?<br /><br />Sable 3.<br /><br />Andrew Brown.<br /><br /> <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p><font color="#000080">"I suddenly noticed an anomaly to the left of Io, just off the rim of that world. It was extremely large with respect to the overall size of Io and crescent shaped. It seemed unbelievable that something that big had not been visible before".</font> <em><strong><font color="#000000">Linda Morabito </font></strong><font color="#800000">on discovering that the Jupiter moon Io was volcanically active. Friday 9th March 1979.</font></em></p><p><font size="1" color="#000080">http://www.launchphotography.com/</font><br /><br /><font size="1" color="#000080">http://anthmartian.googlepages.com/thisislandearth</font></p><p><font size="1" color="#000080">http://web.me.com/meridianijournal</font></p> </div>
 
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zarnic

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<i>Blast</i> used a similar balloon. Darn, DocM, another hard hat for the shelf. Tks to you all. Z <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p><em>Wisdom doesn't automatically come with old age. Nothing does - except wrinkles.</em> A. Van Buren, 1978<br />* <em>An unbreakable toy is useful for breaking other toys.</em>  -- according to Van Roy</p> </div>
 
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nexium

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Very nice pictures. They might have gone a bit higher if they had a bit less helium in the balloon, but the accent would have been slower. I suppose it is best to launch a few hours before sunrise. The clouds below likely helped warm the balloon. Neil
 
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