eli5 what happens to the hydrogen baloons when released into the sky?


do they reach a time and burst or do they keep floating in spacedo they reach a time and burst or do they keep floating in space?

In: 1

>The balloon is usually filled with hydrogen… Weather balloons may reach altitudes of 40 km (25 mi) or more, limited by diminishing pressures causing the balloon to expand to such a degree (typically by a 100:1 factor) that it disintegrates.


Just call me Google.

Not so much time as they reach an altitude limit and burst. At higher altitudes with less atmospheric pressure the gas inside expands, and at some point up there they pop.

And yes this does mean that the balloon and electronics falls back to ground as trash in some random spot.

That being said there are some long duration balloon flights where the balloon can control its altitude by venting gas. These they can try and time so that it falls back down at a reasonable spot to be recovered. Sending people out for recovery is pretty expensive though.


Simply put, due to lower atmospheric pressure, the balloon expands more to more closely match the internal and external pressure. Usually any real balloon will pop at high enough altitude; however, let’s imagine we have a magic unpoppable balloon. At high altitudes, the atmosphere is stratified like a layer cake. The balloon would continue rising until it reached the hydrogen layer, where it would be suspended at the bottom, floating on a sea of helium.