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So this is more of a thought experiment similar to the idea of a space elevator, but bear with me...

Can we put something that "floats" on top of the atmosphere?

A few ideas

  • A pressure regulating balloon

    A weather balloon that doesn't pop because it self regulates it's pressure. You could even imagine something that compresses/decompresses the air to regulate both directions. Like a submarine.

  • A "hard shelled" balloon

    Imagine a weather balloon, but it's made of steel. Instead of some light gas (which still has weight) we take it a step further and suck out the gas completely and create a vacuum in it. It would probably crumble under 1 atm pressure, but perhaps one could suck out the gas from it when it's in space already?

  • A huge "air boat"

    Similar to a tin foil boat. To avoid having to deal with the problem of bursting balloons, could we just create a huge bowl. It would float like a boat floats on water, except it would float on the atmosphere. (The weight would equal it's displacement times the density of the thin atmosphere.) Would be really cool if someone had done the math on how large this would need to be... Would it cast a shadow over a quarter of the earth!?

Are there other similar ideas?

Thought experiments, obviously, but the applications would be pretty cool. Like a satellite except it wouldn't need to have a high orbital speed.

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