27 July 2012

Balloon-borne camera, part 7: No more helium!

I'm going to go right ahead to some bad news that necessitated a major change in our strategy: Canada has no more helium gas for sale and more won't be available until September. Well, there is some helium around, but it's reserved for important applications like MRI and not for party balloons. This is apparently the result of a 1996 law that states the US government, owner of the world's largest helium reserve, has to sell it off by 2015. I don't really get it, but maybe you can do better by reading this Popular Mechanics article.

The upshot is that the day after we got these amazing pictures:

we learned that it would be impossible to buy enough helium to supply 7 weeks of balloon inflation. So frustrating! The balloons worked so well!

At least we weren't flying blind in trying to find a new strategy. After all, I had adapted kite aerial photography techniques for balloons, so we decided to try to go back to kites. More on that next time!

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