is it that hard to just mount a compressor, and compress helium instead of tossing it???? stupid people
Daniel Plata Baca
17th August, 2011 @ 11:26 p.m. (California Time)
I second Daniel!
18th August, 2011 @ 1:26 a.m. (California Time)
Daniel - how heavy will the pump be? What will power it? These are all massive considerations.
How much is the cost going to increase to? You may think these are \"stupid people\" but that comment just makes me think you have no idea about the practicalities and costs of making this sort of travel possible.
18th August, 2011 @ 2:47 a.m. (California Time)
A quiet ride up sounds great and relaxing, then the ride down sounds like a thrill ride. I\'d like a way down that is equally relaxing- could that be another option?
18th August, 2011 @ 5:08 a.m. (California Time)
If they\'re going to jettison the lifting gas, it seems hydrogen might be a better*/cheaper choice. Specially since they have a parachute in the unlikely event something happened to ignite the hydrogen. * better lifting capability and could be generated on site.
18th August, 2011 @ 6:22 a.m. (California Time)
As far as the helium I\'ve read articles lately stating helium is not as plentiful as the public believes and that the costs of helium will escalate dramatically over the next decade.
So I\'d say the costs of the compressor system wouldn\'t be that huge compared to not having to buy helium every flight. As far as the weight of the system there are new compressors that could weigh as little as a passenger and still compress the gas at a reasonable speed. This would also address the Carlos\' concern as it could provide a leisurely decent.
18th August, 2011 @ 6:51 a.m. (California Time)
Australian - you have completely missed the point. Good job.
18th August, 2011 @ 8:15 a.m. (California Time)
No emissions, no noise, beautiful nature, and mother earth...bliss...jettison on massive piece of garbage and then sail away. Hmmmm, my deeply buried inner hippie has problems with this plan. Capture or recover the balloon in some fashion or this is a bad idea in my book.
18th August, 2011 @ 8:50 a.m. (California Time)
helium is far too valuable a resource to be venting into the atmosphere, or wasting on birthday balloons, but like everything else in this world, nobody will care until it\'s too late. People just think we\'ll magically invent the tech to produce helium, or the tech to not use helium...
Sounds like a sweet ride though, and if the price were right, I\'d probably go up into near space before saving the helium so my children could have access to MRI machines...
18th August, 2011 @ 11:37 a.m. (California Time)
I have to agree with the majority... I was already dreaming of the flight until it got into all of the jettisoning. Virtual is also right - we\'re simply running out of easily obtainable helium. There\'s a weird U.S. law that\'s requiring the government to divest its reserves which is artificially keeping the price low, but when that runs out the price will dramatically rise and we\'re doing things with it like kids\' party balloons - or this - when it\'s needed for serious scientific work. I can\'t believe the people behind this aren\'t taking this issue into account. Even U.S. comedians are aware of the problem:
Ok, when I got to the part about the $158,000 price tag I was even more disappointed than with the jettisoning. :-)
18th August, 2011 @ 1:19 p.m. (California Time)
I would use hydrogen in the lifting bag for the greater lift, and fixed wings with electrically powered propellers for a controlled abort-able landing.
18th August, 2011 @ 4:49 p.m. (California Time)
Looks dodgy. That parasail better work every time.
19th August, 2011 @ 8:01 a.m. (California Time)
We are running out of helium with no way of replacing it. Right now it is still artificially cheap, but the price will likely skyrocket in my lifetime.
21st August, 2011 @ 10:12 a.m. (California Time)
Hydrogen would definitely work better than helium, but the inevitable hydrogen fire would kill the business for the next 75 years, just like the Hindenburg disaster in 1937 killed dirigible travel.
If hydrogen could be used with perfect safety (it can\'t now, and never will) it would be a better and more cost-effective lifting medium; parasails are light and cheap enough that new ones could be used each trip (has to be cheaper than all that helium), fixed wings would increase weight and reduce paying payload (assuming that profitable payload being the main purpose).
Otherwise, yes, use hydrogen instead of helium, replace the gondola with a pressurized, fixed-wing, 4-place glider. Should make spectacular news when the b
22nd August, 2011 @ 7:29 p.m. (California Time)
Wow, it\'s so incredible that there are so many people who actually have the right opinion and can see through the smoke and mirrors of the so called \"eco-friendly\" marketing of this joy ride. Helium stores are rapidly being depleted.
Give it credit for being a great idea and a huge improvement on the damaging effects to our atmosphere that rockets do. Unless they use a solar cell coating to power a compressor to recompress the helium and another to retain the balloon, I don\'t think that it should be given approval to be used. The government should not give it a license.
Governments unfortunately love to profit off polluting companies and will not all agree to the changes to industry and pollution that are needed because unless they all agree and all do it, the one that doesn\'t will cause all the other economies to collapse. So instead they are planning ways to profit from it like introducing a CARBON TAX, instead of mandating limits and closing businesses until they comply. Allowing them to pay to pollute is profiteering on the part of the government. Just as allowing this balloon to be built and allowed to be used commercially.
22nd August, 2011 @ 10:52 p.m. (California Time)
You can not compress helium fast enough to provide for the low G decent.
Hydrogen does not burn without being mixed with an oxidizer and then being in the presence of an ignition source.
The Hindenburg burned on landing after spending several days developing a static electric charge. Her skin had been coated with enough powdered aluminum and iron oxide that it could have been used as solid rocket fuel. All that was required for ignition was an unbalanced electrical discharge, there were other possible ignition sources present as well.
This balloon will be fully grounded for inflation, will not be launching during unfavorable weather, and other ignition sources can be strictly controlled as well. If there is a fire, there will not be dozens of people trapped in the flames hundreds of feet above the ground.
23rd August, 2011 @ 1:10 a.m. (California Time)
It is a shame that the Hindenburg tragedy has virtually killed any chance of hydrogen ever being used as a lifting gas ever again. As mentioned above, most of the fire was the cover burning. Given the size of the crash, casualties were quite low. As useful and inexpensive as hydrogen may be, just the mention of it to an aviation underwriter brings flashbacks of the Hindenburg and dooms the endeavor. In an open environment, hydrogen is very safe, more so than propane or gasoline. Its vapors rise, not pool on the floor. Tho it does burn without visible flame.
23rd August, 2011 @ 9:37 p.m. (California Time)
Since when was extracting and then (just) discarding Helium \"Emission Free\" - sure, it\'s emission free at the event but certainly not emission free in production...
Reminds me of the quote (and I\'m paraphrasing because I don\'t remember it exactly): A Californian\'s idea of Green is an Electric Car in Los Angeles being charged up by the electricity produced by a Coal-Fired Power Station in Nebraska.
29th August, 2011 @ 5:56 a.m. (California Time)