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Game: What the heck is this?

Here's a new game! What the heck is this!? This would found in the yard of the tower. It looks like it fell there. Answers should be convincing, but not necessarily correct. Although being correct will probably help you be convincing. I, and maybe some others at Instructables, will judge. If this turns out to be fun, maybe we'll award patches or t-shirts for the most convincing answers. So, what is it?

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Kiteman9 years ago
I checked with the authorities at Area 51a (a small and very secret Air Force Black Ops base just outside Alameda, if nobody answers, leave mail with the flat upstairs). They said:

It is the remains of a UFO that crashed on a nearby Naval base. Sorry, it's a weather balloon that was hit by a cloud of marsh gas. What remains? It's a reflection of Venus off a low-flying lenticular cloud. No comment!

So, there you go - the official word.
Kiteman Kiteman9 years ago
Further word from my contact at Area 51b (they had to close down Area 51a when I revealed it's existence - they repainted the front door and everything):

Me: Why would a weather balloon be marked as containing an explosive gas? They use helium, which isn't explosive.

Contact: We would have used helium, but it's expensive - we have hydrogen to spare, especially since we broke the "off" switch of the fusion generator in the bath - we have to offer free refuels to the saucers, sorry, weather balloons, just to get rid of the stuff.
Lol I was asking the same question to myself : why a such warning label when the balloon should be filled with helium, given that hydrogen is potentialy dangerous ... Do they actually use hydrogen ?
Real ones use helium - hydrogen goes bang, and would leak through the balloon membrane too quickly. What other flammable gases are light enough to provide lift? Methane is light, but can barely lift a bubble of soap alone, never mind a payload.
CameronSS9 years ago
Darn it, westfw beat me too it... the rubber/latex at the bottom is what's left of a weather balloon that burst, and the orangey plastic piece is a parachute to prevent someone's roof or skull from being punctured by a piece of meteorological equipment free-falling from 70,000 ft. CURSE YOU, WESTFW!!! ;-)

We launched a weather balloon from the KSC Visitor Center at a camp this summer. It totaled 115 feet long---A camera and transmitter hung from the bottom, 10 feet up the string was a GPS transmitter, 90 feet up from that we tied a 6 foot diameter weather balloon, and 15 feet up from that was a parachute. The GPS didn't work, but you could see the curvature of the earth at about 75,000 ft. Way cool.
75000 feets ! (22km) Wow ! I did not imagine a weather balloon could go that high ... Do you have some pictures took by this baloon ?
I should, and I wish I did, but I don't. The entire sequence was recorded, and they were supposed to send us copies on DVD, but they never did. I definitely wish they had, though, as it was relatively high-quality, full color footage at about 30 frames/sec. All I have is this picture someone took of the monitor at probably 40,000-50,000 feet. If they ever send the DVD, I'll post a clip or a screenshot.
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Oh what a pity they did not ... I would have loved to see that. I'm wondering if it would be possible to DIY ... I mean, we know how to produce H2, there are some cheap video camera, video transmitter, a battery ... I suppose one must require a speciale authorization for a such project ?
It has to be a fairly powerful, low power consumption transmitter--lightweight and compact. Keep in mind that 75,000 ft is over 14 miles, and that's not even counting the wind blowing laterally. It takes a powerful transmitter and a sensitive receiver to talk that far apart. Also, we had to have FAA certification that we were going to launch a whatever-class balloon at exactly 9:00:00, and we had strict regulations about size, weight, and breaking point of the string. We also had some Air Force brass come out to inspect it, since we were technically launching from U.S. Air Force property.
Ok ... then, it's not a DIY project for me :-/ Yeah, i understand it's important to declare a balloon lauch to avoid Air Force surprize and UFOlogists illusions ... Thanks :-)
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