When it comes to images of the vast expanse of the earth, our minds are drawn to satellites, airplanes, or expensive drones. But now the same thing is possible with very low cost helium balloons.
Now a company called Urban Sky, based in Colorado, has developed helium-filled microbloons that can be a very cheap alternative to satellites and can be seen over a wide area. Interestingly, they can be stopped at one point.
Interestingly, the balloon can be used over and over again. It can be turned towards the ground by placing a payload with modern cameras under it. In addition, high-resolution cameras, infrared and other types of cameras and sensors can be installed.
Each balloon has a maximum height of two and a half meters which can be filled with helium gas. During elevation from the ground, the balloon will spread slowly and at an altitude of 60,000 feet or 18,000 meters, the balloon will expand to five and a half meters or 18 feet.
Excess helium will be released through special holes at this height and the volume of the gas will be maintained and thus the balloon will remain in the same place for a long time.
The camera mounted on it can take different pictures of the earth by changing the lens. With the horizontal movement of a balloon, a camera can capture a wide area. Finally, by combining all the images, a large image of a large area can be obtained. Interestingly, 1000 square kilometers of images can be obtained in an hour. Thus, this version is much less expensive and effective than the most expensive satellite.
Regular testing will begin this spring. In this way a complete account of forest fires, accidents, ground mapping and snowfall can be obtained. That is why a special grant has been given by the National Science Foundation of America.