Courtesy of David Greenberg

From: David Greenberg
Veracruz, March 12, 2006


Yesterday afternoon we succesfully launched two balloons from a site sligthly northwest of Mexico City. Although we can control the height of the balloon somewhat, the direction it goes in is controlled by the wind. Well, the wind pulled a quick one on us and decided to take the first balloon right into the airspace of the Mexico City airport. Bad idea! We had to terminate the flight.

Our second balloon fared much better, however and flew for almost 24 hours before it went too high during a sounding and the flight terminated. A sounding is a delicate maneuver that lets us explore the wind currents at different altitudes by first directing the balloon to go up and then down from it's current level. It is one of the methods we use to track a plume of polluted air.

The picture above is a 3-D characterization of the flight of the second balloon. This was done with Google Earth, which you can download for free here. It's a pretty cool program for tracking the trajectories of the balloons and the airplane flights and many of us are using it.

If all goes well, we will take to the skies again on Wednesday. Stay tuned.

You might also be interested in:

Cool It! Game

Check out our online store - minerals, fossils, books, activities, jewelry, and household items!...more

Light extinction of particles

Not all particles are the same, many of them have different shape, size, and composition. Some of them reflect or scatter light, and others absorb it. Two instruments on the image, photometer and nephelometer,...more

What does Tecamac mean?

Measuring site T1 is in Tecámac. This is a little town close to Mexico City. The name Tecámac is a Náhuatl word, an ancient Mexico's language, spoken by Aztecs. In Náhuatl, Tetl or Tec means stone, camatl...more

Peroxides Measured at the T1 Site

Hello again: We are nearing the end of our field campaign in Mexico. It has been a real adventure, with friendly people, great food, and interesting science. I obtained some good hydrogen peroxide measurements...more

Cerro del Chiquihuite

Here is an example of how polluted the City is. This is a picture of "Cerro del Chiquihuite", which is situated around 5km (3miles) north from us. Chiquihuite is very close, indeed. However, we can barely...more

Ruins at Zempoala

On one of our down days, we took a little trip to a small town about 20 km from Veracruz. In the little town of Zempoala (also called Cempoala), there is a large area of partially restored ruins of ancient...more


This is a picture of the site where I am going to be measuring particles (I am in the room on the top of the building). We call it T0 because it is inside of the city and we can consider that the pollutants...more


Our boxes crossed the border yesterday and, after a 15 hours drive from Laredo, finally arrived this morning! The fun begins!!...more

Windows to the Universe, a project of the National Earth Science Teachers Association, is sponsored in part is sponsored in part through grants from federal agencies (NASA and NOAA), and partnerships with affiliated organizations, including the American Geophysical Union, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the Earth System Information Partnership, the American Meteorological Society, the National Center for Science Education, and TERC. The American Geophysical Union and the American Geosciences Institute are Windows to the Universe Founding Partners. NESTA welcomes new Institutional Affiliates in support of our ongoing programs, as well as collaborations on new projects. Contact NESTA for more information. NASA ESIP NCSE HHMI AGU AGI AMS NOAA