OutSider Weblog

Friday, November 09, 2001

Adrift in the Stratosphere?

From today's Guardian: Balloon goes up for first British space flight. It's not quite as daft as walking to the South Pole (or backwards for Christmas across the Irish Sea) in that there is some actual scientific purpose to this. But does have that delightfully British nutty feel to it.

But... wow! To sit, space-suited, on an open platform twenty five miles up, beneath a three ton balloon the size of the Empire State Building and use a solar-powered remote-controlled kite to photograph yourself against the curve of the Earth, and be able to see for almost five hundred miles... I'm sorry, it just presses my sensawunda button.

But these record attempts are strange -- when do altitude records become distance records? And is dressing something up as a sponsored record attempt the only way to pay for research like this?

But who cares? The adventure's the thing, and they're not ashamed to admit it...

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