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In man's unending search to do something about the weather, the Air Force has extended its operations to include a project dubbed Moby Dick. The AF is launching huge plastic balloons in a worldwide program of research into all types of weather phenomena encountered at high altitudes. Recently 32 of these 200-foot-high plastic bags were sent aloft at Giebelstadt, Germany, by the AF's 1110th Air Support Group — the only one of its kind in Europe. The gondola is crammed with meteorological instruments to probe the upper atmosphere, and can be parachuted to the ground if the balloons fail to reach the "cruising altitude" of 30,000 feet. The balloons are inflated with hydrogen gas and soon after release they reach the desired altitude. More than 4,000 of these plastic bags have been released by AF researchers and some have. reached altitudes of 100,000 feet.


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