Now that they've proved the worth of kites in atmospheric research, Drs. Ben Balsley and Mike Jensen of the University of Colorado have set themselves a new challenge: they want to fly higher than ever before. Much higher, in fact, in order to open new vistas for their work. It's a logical next step for them and they feel they have the technology to do it.
A significant scientific reward awaits them, perhaps a rich one, they feel. As a bonus, flying a kite really high in the sky might have a useful secondary aspect. It might yield useful publicity, and thus aid fund-raising, a perennial bugaboo for small, offbeat scientific projects such as theirs. Balsley emphasizes this high altitude flying would be done only in connection with an ongoing scientific project.
If the team goes way up with a single kite-say well over two miles-and can accurately document the altitude achieved, which it should be able to do with existing instrumentation, it will be able to lay claim to a long enduring record, or at least one that held up over the decades until a recent challenge to its authenticity.