Title of Presentation: Development of Planetary Balloons

Primary (Corresponding) Author: Debora A. Fairbrother

Organization of Primary Author: NASA Wallops Flight Facility


Abstract: NASA’s Scientific Balloon Program provides a platform to conduct research in a near-space environment.  Currently, both Earth and Space scientists utilize balloons to carry experiments in the earth’s atmosphere.   Such vehicles can also be used for the exploration of planetary atmospheres.  The Soviet Vega-2 mission demonstrated this for a short duration (2 days) in June 1985.  Since that time, technology advances will enable longer duration missions to Venus as well as to Mars and Titan.  Balloons can be utilized to collect in situ atmospheric data, high-resolution geological, geochemical, and geophysical data.  This paper will describe several of the planetary balloon technology efforts.