Balloons may be a primitive way of air travel, but they have a firm grounding in scientific research. And while the basics of using balloons for flight haven't changed, the materials, payload size, altitudes, etc., have.
NASA has a scientific balloon program at the Wallops Flight Facility, (Wallops Island, VA) (www.wff.nasa.gov/index.html). The agency generally launches up to 35 balloons a year. Payloads carry a variety of instrumentation to gather information on the atmosphere, the Sun, the near-Earth, and space environment and beyond. In addition, NASA is involved in a new project, the Ultra-Long Duration Balloon (ULDB) to develop new materials and design a standard gondola including power, telemetry/command, and an altitude control system. Flights are scheduled to launch in early 2001 and are planned to stay aloft for 100 days or more with scientific payloads of more than a ton.
Another scientific balloon site worth checking out is Boomerang (www.physics. ucsb.edu/~boomerang, which is short for Balloon Observations of Millimetric Extragalactic Radiation and Geophysics. The data gathered creates images of the early universe.
In an age of globalization and rapid changes through scientific progress, two of our societies' (and economies') main concerns are to satisfy the needs and wishes of the individual and to save precious resources. Cloud computing caters to both of these.
For industrial control applications, or even a simple assembly line, that machine can go almost 24/7 without a break. But what happens when the task is a little more complex? That’s where the “smart” machine would come in. The smart machine is one that has some simple (or complex in some cases) processing capability to be able to adapt to changing conditions. Such machines are suited for a host of applications, including automotive, aerospace, defense, medical, computers and electronics, telecommunications, consumer goods, and so on. This discussion will examine what’s possible with smart machines, and what tradeoffs need to be made to implement such a solution.