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Lyrids 'Balloon-Cam' Update
04.26.12
 
A balloon with attached camera is launched to observe the 2012 Lyrid meteor shower from Bishop, Calif. A balloon with attached camera is launched to observe the 2012 Lyrid meteor shower from Bishop, Calif. (Science@ NASA/Tony Phillips)
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Watch video of the launch

A payload balloon pops above Earth after meteor shower observations. A color camera records a balloon popping high above Earth. (Science@ NASA/Tony Phillips)
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During the peak of the 2012 Lyrid meteor on the night of April 21-22, Dr. Tony Phillips with Science@NASA and a group of students in Bishop, Calif., launched a balloon and an attached camera into the atmosphere. Their hope was to capture footage of Lyrid meteors from above Earth's atmosphere. Here's an update on the balloon and its journey.

Saturday, April 21
  • 11:54 p.m. PDT -- Balloon was launched from Bishop, Calif.
Sunday, April 22
  • 1:10 a.m. PDT -- The balloon entered the stratosphere and stayed in the stratosphere for 1 hour and 36 minutes -- a new record.
  • 2:46 a.m. PDT -- The balloon popped at an altitude of 117,500 feet.
  • 3:15 a.m. PDT -- The balloon landed after a total flight time of 3 hours, 21 minutes.
The balloon had a hard landing due to unusual way it popped; suffice it to say the parachute was not fully functional because it had a pound of rubber sitting on top of it! The last data file the DVR was writing to was corrupted because of the impact. However, the balloon captured lots of video, and the camera appears to be intact despite the rough descent. Fortunately, a 12,000-foot mountain caught the payload before it could plummet any further.

We'll keep you posted on the balloon's data and its role in capturing a 3-D view of a meteor shower.
 
 

Media Contact:
Janet Anderson, 256-544-0034
Marshall Space Flight Center, Huntsville, Ala.
Janet.L.Anderson@nasa.gov