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Simulated Low-Gravity w/ Weather Balloon?


javagamer
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Hi,

the idea just popped into my head that it would be pretty cool if I could harness a large weather balloon to myself so that I could reduce my percieved weight to about 10% of what it normally is. Doing the math (or finding someone else who did it already, and extrapolating from there) I found I would want somewhere around 2,000 cubic feet of helium to get very roughly 90% of my weight as lift. I found several sites which sell weather balloons with an inflated diameter of 16'. Doing the math I discovered that should be able to hold 2,100 cubic feet of helium, which is still not enough to lift me off my feet.

 

Here's where I come across the first problem, where can I possibly get 2,100 cubic feet of helium? If balloons are sold this big I'm assuming there are places which sell this much helium, but I've yet to find any. I'm thinking I'm missing something, but I can't figure out what.

 

My next concern would be wind. If I have a 16' balloon a few feet above me I'm guessing should there be a gust it would probably have a lot of force and likely be able to push me around or maybe even off my feet. Should I just got for lifting only 2/3 of my weight and get a smaller balloon, or will wind be rather negligable assuming I'm not doing this in a storm?

 

Next, I've considered hydrogen rather than helium since it's apparently much cheaper and provides slightly more force. Now obviously it presents a fire hazard, but if the balloon contains exclusively hydrogen then it can't explode, can it? Should it somehow be ignited within 5' of me would it just be a wave of heat and a pop, or would it be more like terrible burns and hospitalization?

 

Finally, I currently would plan on using one balloon since it appears cheaper and would be the most efficient use of volume. The only downside I see to this is that should it pop all the lift is gone instantly. I wouldn't consider this a major problem though since I just plan on running around and jumping rather than flying through the air. However, I'm well aware that I could have overlooked something.

 

So, basically I want to know whether this is something I could possibly do (safely). If I do manage to pull this off pictures will most certainly be posted.

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mythbuster did something like this for faking the moon landing myths. it doesn't work.

 

if you set up a rig so that you're nearly horizontal and use a wall as the ground then you can make it quite realistic. this is how nasa did it for teaching people how to do the REAL moon walk.

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You would fall slowly, but I'm not sure that you could jump higher. You would jump, and the rope would go slack, since presumably the temporarily unencumbered balloon would rise from buoyancy slower than your launch velocity, and the rope would only go taut again near the top of your jump. Maybe some rigid connection between you and the balloon? Of course, then you'd be pushing all that air out the way.

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well your method of movement doesn't look anything like the movement you get in a low-g environment. you jump then just kind of dangle there while you wait to come back down. in the actual low-g there is no dangling.

 

here's the video

 

 

fair enough they use a rig that would do a bit better than a massive stack of baloons.

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