[Space] condensation on lenses

Bryan Klofas bklofas at gmail.com
Wed Jun 9 16:59:18 UTC 2010

Hey Everybody--

I noticed in the pics from the last launch that significant condensation 
formed on the sideways-facing camera on the way down. This makes sense, 
as the camera is very cold up at altitude, and very quickly it's down in 
the relative warmth of ground temp. And while on the ground, you can see 
the lens clearing up.

In past balloon launches, to keep the camera warm throughout the flight 
I've either used strip heaters (kapton-type), or the heat from the 
mini-ITX that was flown. However, both of these solutions require a lot 
of energy, and I don't really want to add more batteries to the payload.

One idea might be to have a small window on the outside of the balloon, 
and use a pocket heater to heat the window. Or just put the pocket 
heater near the extended lens? I wonder how the camera would feel with a 
pocket heater on it?

I think we would probably need to try this with a downward-facing 
camera, because maybe the heater will only keep condensation from 
forming on half of the window, and we could easily see that with the 
blurryness of the ground images (and any associated gradients).

Any thoughts?
Bryan Klofas, KF6ZEO

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