Wednesday, January 30, 2013
Researching weather balloon prices led me to an interesting thought experiment. On a budget, could I put together something one person could live in comfortably, suspended from balloons? I had what I thought were modest plans for a spherical wooden/plastic cabin at first that, after weight and cost calculation, turned out to be fanciful and unrealistic. Ultimately after cutting out the fat I got down to using a "Portaledge", basically a hanging tent designed for cliff climbers, as the living space. The whole thing, frame + rainfly, is only 15lbs. Add a sleeping bag, food and water and extra clothes as well as a small thermoelectric wood fired portastove for warmth and to power LED lights, and we'll assume that's 35lbs. Add my own weight, 180lbs, and add another 5lbs to guarantee positive buoyancy. That gives you a payload weight of 220lbs.