November 16, 2013


Today was performed interesting experiment connected with game. As you can guess, it has something common with geocaching.
Core of experiment is launching of balloon filled with helium (similar to those used in meteorology) with module called Dropion. It contains camera, which records the whole course of experiment. Goal is to reach stratosphere (~ 30 km over ground). Here game starts - module drops 12 stratocaches in the form of maple seed. Ten of them have GPS module which allows to track them. When they land on the earth again, GPS coordinates will be published and geohunters start to search for them.
Another two caches contains radio module, so they are prey for radioamateurs.
There were various problems with this project - mobile applications which should help players to get about stratocaches were published just a few hours before start and they still didn't contained some functionality, so reporting finds is more difficult. Start was delayed because of technical difficulties, but on 10:24 balloon took off in Prague, Libuš. On 10:40 reached altitude of 6 km and on 11:29 at 28 800 meters was near its final level .
On 11:39 stratocaches were dropped off. Because lack of wind balloon fly still near the Prague, so we, cachers from Moravia are out of game; but nevermind, thanks to internet we can see what happens in realtime.
On 11:42 balloon goes back to Earth and successfully landed on 12:21 with no damage. Maximal altitude was about 31 000 meters. Stratocaches weren't so good, only two of them reported its position. They probably were harmed by low temperature (-42 °C). Another two caches were found  thanks to massive searching by thousands of cachers, however another six are probably lost. Maybe some searchers will be successful in the next days, but without exact coordinates it is just attempt to find needle in the cock.

English description of the project can be found here.
Status of stratocaches (in Czech only)
Photo gallery
Video (in Czech)

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