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The stratosphere contains the ozone layer, which protects live on Earth from harmful ultraviolet radiation.

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Visiting Inner Space

Visiting Inner Space

License: CC BY-NC 3.0

Clouds made of nitric acid and water vapor are found above the polar regions. Fortunately, they’re way up in the stratosphere. The Perlan Project wants to visit them.

Why It Matters

  • The Perlan Project is designed to explore near space, conduct meteorological research and inspire future generations of scientists and engineers.
  • Perlan I and its two pilots used stratospheric mountain waves to soar to 50,671 ft (15,460 m) in 2006.
  • Perlan II will fly higher than Perlan I to 90,000 feet (27,432 meters). Air density will be less than 2% of that at sea level. This is scheduled for August 2015.
  • Perlan II needs a new aerodynamic design to sustain flight.

Explore More

With the links below, learn more about the Perlan Project. Then answer the following questions.

  1. How did Perlan I get to 50,000 feet?
  2. How will Perlan II get from 50,000 to 90,000 feet?
  3. Why do the pilots and scientists want Perlan II to go so high?
  4. Why will the speedometer indicate an airspeed of 46 mph when the plane will need to be going 335 mph or faster?
  5. Is it possible for there to be a Perlan III that goes much higher than Perlan II?

Image Attributions

  1. [1]^ License: CC BY-NC 3.0

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