Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Our Thin Atmosphere

While the politicos down in Richmond battle over how to tax people to pay for transportation, and I sit here thinking about the price of gas, a friend from college was working on his hobby in Texas. One of his hobbies over the last few years has been to build a photo/video payload lofted with weather balloons to 100k feet, high enough in the atmosphere to capture the curvature of the earth, and the darkness of space.

I would not have considered the two related, but today he posted videos from his third attempt. Part of the posting included this comment "It’s hard to believe that our atmosphere is so thin and extremely fragile".

Earl's High Altitude Photographic Balloon project launch #3 page contains several videos of the launch, the edge of space, then landing and recovery. The recovery was a bit harrowing as the payload came down in a large lake, but luckily it was near the edge and they were able to enlist a boater to assist in the rescue.

That thin fragile atmosphere is all we've got.

(not exactly a Fredericksburg story, but hey, creative license on the application to global environmental issues)

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