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Pegasus II mission sends balloon high above Earth and invites you along for an Internet of Things ride

April 13, 2016 | Posted by Microsoft Research Blog

By Athima Chansanchai, Microsoft News Center Staff

Matt Long and Mark Nichols have a particular affinity for balloons – but not the kind that you see at birthday parties or ride with in big baskets, or find in 80s one-hit wonders. They’re focused on the kind that can go to near space – and take thousands of people along for the ride, virtually, in a demonstration of the Internet of Things in action.

“When you bring people into technology, people become participants in technology,” Long says. “Thousands will be watching in real time. Within 20 milliseconds you’re seeing it on your phone. People will also be able to send messages to the craft during the flight with their phones. That message will be displayed and video recorded into the flight record with background of near space.”

They’ve built a compact probe from scratch that a high-altitude balloon will float 100,000 feet above the earth, where it’s minus 75 degrees Fahrenheit. Their team will be able to remotely control it, gather a ton of data, release it after two hours and document its journey through videos and photos. And most importantly to this team, back here on Earth, anyone will be able to follow along through their website and mobile app.

Read the full story on the Microsoft News Center blog.