Science: Balloons for the Jet Stream

A wily Japanese tactic in World War II was to launch balloons carrying small explosive or incendiary bombs in the hope that they would drift across the Pacific and land in the U.S. Some of them actually did land in the Pacific Northwest, and although they caused almost no damage, they proved that the westerly winds at high altitude are fine balloon carriers. Last week the U.S. Navy was following the Japanese lead by launching balloons of plastic film from Oppama, Japan. Instead of bombs the balloons carried instruments to report weather conditions encountered on their long voyages.

The Navy's balloons are...

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