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zippy
Veteran Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Unknown
 
2010-03-27, 11:23

This is really cool.

This obviously isn't my creative endeavor, but this seemed like the best place to put this little tidbit. The gist of it is a guy took an inexpensive point and shoot camera, made a case for it that was attached to a weather balloon, stuck a GPS device for retrieval tracking, and sent it aloft with the video capture running.

Do you know where children get all of their energy? - They suck it right out of their parents!
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turtle
Lord of the Rant.
Formerly turtle2472
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Tidewater Virginia
 
2010-03-27, 11:33

Wow, thanks for sharing that. It's pretty darn cool if you asked me. Man, I'd send my Rebel XT up there if I thought I could get the FAA to give me clearance here (not going to happen where I live) and if I thought I could get it out of the Atlantic once it dropped back to Earth.

The video didn't give a whole lot of info on where he's posting the pictures and video, do you have another link from that? I don't have the time right now to search it out.

Louis L'Amour, “To make democracy work, we must be a notion of participants, not simply observers. One who does not vote has no right to complain.”
MineCraft? mc.applenova.com | Visit us! | Maybe someday I'll proof read, until then deal with it.
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drewprops
Magnificent Basturd™
sagacious-d
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Atlanta
 
2010-03-27, 12:18

A friend of mine has been after me and some friends to do this with him this spring. He's purchased the camera, installed the alternate OS on it that allows you to program it to do additional tricks, and has been pricing weather balloons. He has figured out a way to stick a phone in the thing that will allow us to track it in real time via a Google app and we're down to talking about chase teams and recovery points. He's also built several wind models as KML files to try to predict the general zone of recovery... but the winds play SUCH a big part in things that it's become iffy as to our ability to accurately predict within more than a 100 mile zone.

I'm worried about the possibility of his balloon interfering with air traffic or road traffic, but he doesn't seem too concerned.

Will let you know if it happens

..

Steve Jobs ate my cat's watermelon.
Captain Drew on Twitter
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curiousuburb
Antimatter Man
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: that interweb thing
 
2010-03-27, 17:20

Quote:
Originally Posted by drewprops View Post
I'm worried about the possibility of his balloon interfering with air traffic or road traffic, but he doesn't seem too concerned.
If you watch the story, you'll know that FAA approval (if in the US) is something they're very concerned about.

At ground level the balloon will only be a meter or two across... up a few miles it will expand to potentially be a major flight hazard.

Differential pressure will cause it to continue to expand until > 30km up in the stratosphere, when it will burst and parachute down.

The chute and styrofoam box aren't big enough risks to much traffic (although if they land on a road the camera might get crunched), but potentially bringing down a jet with a balloon might get you tagged as a potential terrrrrrist.

The trick has been done a few times... sometimes by schoolkids. The science behind it was documented by MIT a while back... Details, including hardware lists at http://space.1337arts.com

All those who believe in telekinesis, raise my hand.
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El Gallo
Formerly “MumboJumbo”
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
 
2010-03-27, 17:24

I wonder what additional work could be done on the balloon. Many of these articles have noted that they end up popping due to the lack of atmospheric pressure on the outside and thus they expand from roughly one meter across to twenty meters across at those lofty heights. Clearly weather balloons can go that height but since they go high enough, no additional engineering has been done there. It would be interesting to see if there were some way of keeping the weather balloon from popping for longer. Perhaps a mesh netting covering the balloon but it would have to find some way to get out of the way of the parachute.
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curiousuburb
Antimatter Man
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: that interweb thing
 
2010-03-27, 17:42

Even if the balloon went higher due to gee-whiz materials not tried in the last 200+ years of ballooning experiments, you're already higher than Kittinger.
It has to be light enough to lift off with only one 1.8 cubic meter dose of helium... mylar has been tried... plus, if the payload is over 4 pounds, additional FAA regulations apply.
And 'tougher' materials might be a greater impact risk going up and coming down... either more space junk, or hardhats required.
Pressure differentials and expanding materials are pretty well studied physics... but even with an impossibly strong newfangled balloon, you'd then need a way to get the camera to bail out on its own.

Plus, part of the point seems to be keeping the costs down. $20 for a stratospheric balloon isn't a bad compromise.

All those who believe in telekinesis, raise my hand.

Last edited by curiousuburb : 2010-03-27 at 17:56.
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zippy
Veteran Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Unknown
 
2010-03-28, 00:11

Quote:
Originally Posted by turtle2472 View Post
Wow, thanks for sharing that. It's pretty darn cool if you asked me. Man, I'd send my Rebel XT up there if I thought I could get the FAA to give me clearance here (not going to happen where I live) and if I thought I could get it out of the Atlantic once it dropped back to Earth.

The video didn't give a whole lot of info on where he's posting the pictures and video, do you have another link from that? I don't have the time right now to search it out.
Sorry, but I don't have any other info. I just found that while cruisin' for some news, and I knew that a few of the photographers in here might appreciate it.

Drew - I hope it works for you. I'm looking forward to your shots if it does.

Do you know where children get all of their energy? - They suck it right out of their parents!
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drewprops
Magnificent Basturd™
sagacious-d
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Atlanta
 
2010-03-28, 00:16

LOL!!
I'm honestly nervous about my friend's endeavor, primarily due to the fact that I'm VERY interested in NOT being involved with anything which might violate FAA regulations. This friend isn't dumb, so he'll have researched it up and down, but still... I'm a pretty big pussy when it comes to breaking the rules. Cover Your Ass is the First Rule of Space Piracy.



...

Steve Jobs ate my cat's watermelon.
Captain Drew on Twitter
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GSpotter
Veteran Member
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: A small town near Wolfsburg, Germany
 
2010-03-28, 02:35

Quote:
Originally Posted by turtle2472 View Post
The video didn't give a whole lot of info on where he's posting the pictures and video, do you have another link from that? I don't have the time right now to search it out.
He puts his pictures on flickr. There's also a BBC report. The story is currently spreading around the world.
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Dorian Gray
Veteran Member
 
Join Date: May 2005
Location: Paris, France
 
2010-03-28, 04:38

Quote:
Originally Posted by MumboJumbo View Post
It would be interesting to see if there were some way of keeping the weather balloon from popping for longer. Perhaps a mesh netting covering the balloon but it would have to find some way to get out of the way of the parachute.
But the mesh netting would defeat the purpose of the balloon. The balloon rises because the gas inside it is less dense than the atmosphere, at a given atmospheric pressure. By preventing it from expanding you would pressurise the gas relative to the atmosphere, thus preventing the balloon from rising any further. In theory it would be an option for keeping the balloon drifting around at a certain altitude, rather than rising until it bursts; but in practice the weight of the mesh would be an insurmountable hurdle. A pressure differential of even 0.5 psi would require a tremendously strong netting, and that netting would need to cover 2 million square inches for a 20-metre diameter. We're probably talking about hundreds of pounds of weight.
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drewprops
Magnificent Basturd™
sagacious-d
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Atlanta
 
2010-03-28, 10:05

It's interesting that the story is spreading around the world, as there are other people who have been doing this for awhile - we've been talking about it for at least 18 months. Granted, I haven't read this particular version... maybe this team did something more than the people who've been doing it for awhile?


...

Steve Jobs ate my cat's watermelon.
Captain Drew on Twitter
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curiousuburb
Antimatter Man
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: that interweb thing
 
2010-03-28, 12:18

Everybody loves Space. The D.I.Y. angle is a bonus.
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turtle
Lord of the Rant.
Formerly turtle2472
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Tidewater Virginia
 
2010-03-28, 12:54

Yep, that is what it is. Just coolness all over it. I'd love to be a part of something like this. For now though, I'll just enjoy the images.

Louis L'Amour, “To make democracy work, we must be a notion of participants, not simply observers. One who does not vote has no right to complain.”
MineCraft? mc.applenova.com | Visit us! | Maybe someday I'll proof read, until then deal with it.
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