A view from the other side of the hill

Taken from http://astroengine.com/2012/01/29/put-the-weather-balloon-back-in-the-box/

Posted by Ian O’Neill on January 29, 2012

What the hell is going on with this weather balloon craze? It seems that everything from beer to sushiis being sent “into space” these days. There’s only one problem… weather balloons don’t go into space!

Launching random crap into the stratosphere may be fun and give some companies a fleeting marketing opportunity, but please, quit it. Weather balloons should be used for… um, I dunno… high altitude research. And for high school/university students’ learning opportunities/science outreach. Oh, and Roswell conspiracy theoriesBut that’s it.

Just because you have a small camera with a gazillion megapixels, a credit card and a GPS tracker, the logic of buying a huge balloon and filling it with helium, strapping your camera to it and then running across the countryside to retrieve the wreckage seems silly. Sure, you get some nice video of cloud tops from an altitude of 20 miles, but you’re not the first to do this!

Having said all that, if you do feel compelled to create yet another YouTube video of a weather balloon launch, knock yourself out. But please, please, please don’t include the word “space” in the title, even the BBC gets confused (apparently, that weather balloon-launched Lego man went “into orbit”!). Space starts above 62 miles (known as the Kármán line). Weather balloons can make it to around 25 miles before popping. By no stretch of the imagination can balloons make it into “space.”

Also, weather balloons don’t take stuff on a “suborbital flight.” That’s about as “suborbital” as me taking a flight to Vegas.

Gripe over.



1 thought on “A view from the other side of the hill

  1. I don’t think it is a coincidence. That video with the Dogcam started a revolution showing to the world that the picture out there is different than NASA’s so others started similar projects to find out what’s going on. I think that in order to confuse and ridiculize the movement many shills are uploading computer manipulated weather balloon videos and perhaps real ones with unacceptable objects like live animals, meat, obscene objects. Instead YouTube is censoring those videos that show amazing things with night launches, non fish-eye lense cameras, eclipses and of course offers you hundred stupid ones before on your right menu, com’on. That’s why Dogcam suddenly disappeared and instead you have GoPro’s everywhere to show the false curvature. The Government is ordering those stupid videos to put more restrictions and laws for these projects, I’m sure.
    Fantastic pictures by the way, lovely article. Should go around the world. Pity I am not into social nets.

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