[Space] condensation on lenses

Christie Dudley longobord at gmail.com
Wed Jun 9 17:12:55 UTC 2010

Pocket heaters don't work in space.  I ran through a few tests, and came to
the conclusion that they require far more oxygen than will be available in
order to maintain the exothermic chemical reaction than would be feasible to
bring on the balloon.

"Great spirits have always found violent opposition from mediocrities. The
latter cannot understand it when a man does not thoughtlessly submit to
hereditary prejudices but honestly and courageously uses his intelligence."
-- Albert Einstein

On Wed, Jun 9, 2010 at 9:59 AM, Bryan Klofas <bklofas at gmail.com> wrote:

> 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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