Can balloons be used to explore space?

Do balloons have a role to play as we explore the stars?
10 March 2023


Balloons in sky



This person says the world has been gripped by balloon drama in recent weeks. What's the precedent though for using balloons in space or kind of out there in the solar system for research type purposes? Are they any better than other sorts of spacecraft? What's the potential?


Xander - Well, in some ways, yes. I mean, NASA already uses balloons for quite a considerable amount of research. The main advantage is that they are just so much cheaper than using a rocket to try and send something all the way up into space. For a balloon, you can't get it all the way, of course, because you need this kind of buoyancy. You need that to still have some atmosphere there. You can't get it all the way up into space, but you can get it very, very close. And for something like 1% of the cost. So it's pretty good on that front.


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