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16 September, 2003

Long Shadows

We had another perfect launch today. We were able to track the balloon to a height of 31 kilometers. At that height, if you were riding this balloon, you would see the curvature of the earth and the blackness of space. The balloon typically will expand about 4 to 5 times its size by the time it is that high and the plastic will develop a small tear in it where the helium will leak out. This time the hole was so small that the balloon just floated about for quite awhile. We gave up taking data after that and let the balloon go its merry way. Eventually it will land in the ocean. Do you know which one? I feel a bit guilty about polluting but the rewards of learning about ozone far outweigh this cost to the environment. I spent the evening up at Cos-Ray running the back up computer.

I attach a picture of my shadow at 3 in the afternoon. The sun is quite low so the shadow is very long. It is taken near Discovery Hut, a place where the English explorer Scott and his men camped for the winter in 1902. It is still in great shape, there are a bunch of dead seals on the porch. Later I will take some pictures on the inside for you. I forgot to get the key to open the door!

The sun at three in the afternoon.

Pressure ridges from the tides.

My Shadow, with Discovery Hut.

Adjusting the antenna so that it will receive the signal from the balloon.

Vince's cross, who drowned here in 1902

The inside of the Cosmic Ray Hut, waiting for the balloon to burst. This place is like a cabin in the woods.

Receiving data on a very old computer.

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