Ballooning in the Antarctic? And for physics experiments? The more I read, the more surprises were in store for me. I’d imagined something the size of weather balloons, which in turn I’d always assumed were like children’s coloured balloons, with a simple thermometer and rotating wind vane hanging on underneath (are they??). Well my imagination did not rise to the task, since the balloon program being run from McMurdo Station carries payloads of 2 tons or more, and so the balloons have to be truly gigantic.

BESS balloon launch Antarctica, 2004

Antarctica BESS balloon just before launch, with payload in foreground, Dec 2004