DIY Solar-Powered Hot Air Balloon: Up, Up and Away!
I guess that balloons and airships are in, because they are popping up everywhere. I remember one year, there was even a personal balloon with a rotor available for $10,000 in the American Express rewards catalog. This project takes personal ballooning a step further because it’s solar-powered and you can make it yourself.
This balloon is the brainchild of Argentinian artist Tomàs Saraceno. It’s called 59 Steps to Be on Air by Sun Power and is an exploration of architecture, art, and physics. The project is presented as a set of instructions that are supposed to be used as a sequence for creating a hot-air balloon-style flying device, which uses solar power.
The materials used to build your own are garbage bags, transparent tape, rope, bicycle wheels, and various bits of “flotsam and jetsam” to make the structure. You can download the steps here [PDF]. It takes about 24 hours to complete the project, if two people are working on it. You’ll probably want to have a friend around anyhow to make sure that you don’t float away.