Science: At Air's Outer Edge

Satellites have copped most of the headlines as observation posts outside the earth's atmosphere. But in many ways balloons are better. They are vastly cheaper; they can be manned and recovered; and modern balloons made out of thin plastic film can lift heavy and bulky instruments above nearly all of the atmosphere.

The Office of Naval Research and the National Science Foundation are the principal sponsors of this sort of space research. For weeks two Navy scientists have been standing by in South Dakota, waiting for a break in the weather to soar aloft...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!