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Stratospheric

Skydiver "Fearless Felix" Baumgartner has done it again - successfully carrying out an 18.3 mile (29.5 km) skydive from the Red Bull Stratos balloon high above Roswell, NM. His top speed was 536 mph (865 km/h). At that altitude, the speed of sound is about 673 mph (1083 km/h), so Baumgartner's top speed was Mach 0.80! Read More
Scientists in the US have been cloud-spotting over shipping lanes and have noticed something more interesting than teddy-bear shapes and faces. They have detected that rising steam from passing ships has caused brightening in the clouds which they theorize alters the reflectivity of the cloud and prevents the energy from reaching the Earth. They propose that if this could be achieved artificially via geoengineering it could be an effective defense against global warming. Read More
After receiving an email from a Japanese enthusiast, a group of amateur radio high altitude balloon buffs jumped at the chance to help record the first ever non-professional near space high definition video, and maybe set a new altitude record on the way. After squeezing the HD camcorder and tracking hardware into a styrofoam box, and a couple of false starts, the 1500g high altitude, hydrogen-filled balloon was away. Read More
Attaching a camera to a helium-filled balloon, a group of students from MIT recently managed to get some pretty decent photographs of our beautiful planet from an estimated 93000 feet up. Nothing remarkable there you might say - high altitude balloon photography has been around a long, long time - until you consider the cost of the experiment: about USD$150. Read More