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Conquest of the Stratosphere at Hand • _ _ Climbing Ten Miles Into the Shy, We May Fly From Nezv Yorh to Paris in Ten Hours, Safe From Rarefied Air in Sealed Cabins, .While Zooming Along at the Dizzy Speed, of Four Hundred Miles an Hour! Prof. Piccard (shown at the left) and his assistant were fdad to pet back to the realm of humans after their renttm-kablc journey in a sealed balloon to the air tO miles above the earth. I BRUSSELS. IF ever there was a typical '■professor-," it is Piccard! A man of medium height, he has the traditional flowing locks, the high, wide, intellectual brow, the thought ful eyes glinting behind .spectacles and the courtesy one always associates with the academic. We were chatting over his adventure in the Hummer of 1931 when he and his assistant, fCipfer, made their daring balloon ascent koto rarefied upper air, called the stratosphere Lan attempt to make investigations as to possibilities of aircraft travel at high alti tudes. He received me in his laboratory, dad |p an overall coat, smiling as he peered through bte spectacles at my notebook and pencil. Test tubes and bottles in profusion lined the wall Shelves, and littered the benches; Bunsen burn gag, retorts, charts, all the paraphernalia of Chemistry and science hemmed us in as we Sat down to talk. ‘T was satisfied with my last attempt In t|ee stratosphere,’’ said Prof. Piccard, “Hie Desuits obtained were extremely valuable to aviation, and from the standpoint of naviga tion they confirmed all my theories. Kipfer ri I proved that it is possible to navigate the stratosphere for at least 17 hours in a closed cabin without feeling any lH effects. Paring the whole time we were up there neither I nor my assistant experienced the slightest feeling of nausea or intoxication. "We were the pioneers who proved that in vestigations can be made in the stratosphere at a height exceeding six miles without any iMc. This in itself is an important result. I am of opinion that with the same balloon I would be able to rise to a height of more than ta miles if I went by myself and had a suffi manev of ballast. ja 1/HY am I so keen on exploring the fly W ing possibilities of this upper atmos phere? Well, you see, viewed from the avi ator's standpoint, we know that the higher a plane flies the quicker it must go in order that the wings support it; but we also know $kat the higher it flies the quicker it is able 10 go, because resistance is reduced. “For example, in order that an- airplane may IJy at a height of 9 miles, that is to say, in a Stratum where the density of the atmosphere fe one-ninth of the normal density, it must fly at three times its normal speed. All the aerodynamic forces remain constant and the euependiture of effort incurred for eaeh mile flown remains the same, but as the sum total of the power produced must be obtained in a space of time that is three times shorter than the normal, the motor must be three times more powerful. •'The possibilities that such a development of aviation holds are enormous. And if I leave out of count the enormous gain in time thus achieved, there is even a greater advantage produced, thanks to the rapidity at which such Sights will be made. As we all know, one of the biggest difficulties which the aviator cross ing the Atlantic has to cope with is that any meteorological provisions that he may have at the moment he nets off on his flight are abso lutely valueless for his landing in view of the length of time that has elapsed. The aviator of the future who will cross the Atlantic in the stratosphere will meet with no weather sur prises. “Of course, the rocket system of transoceanic travel is far from being realized, but where force, combustible mass and speed are con cerned, adequate calculations are already made and, thanks to the proper combustible and liquid oxygen, ultra-rapid navigation between continents outside the atmosphere has now become a possibility. This is an enormous gain. "As far as navigation between planets, prob able flights to Mars and so on, this is still » problem to which we have found no solution, and we are not likely to reach one just yet. But I do not think it is an impossibility. We will undoubtedly achieve these things one day. 111 HAVE no intention of going up again in a I balloon. One experience such as that which befell Kipfer and myself this year is quite enough for a lifetime. Hi any case, my wife was so worried during the whole time I was up that I have promised her never to re peat the experiment. Let others continue in the airy path which I have traced. I shall content myself with improving the instrumental side, and thus enable further experiments to be made in a field which opens boundless possi bilities. I shall also take an active part in the preparations for the new flight in the strato sphere, which will take place next Summer. On this occasion the crew will be entirely Belgian in character. Already we have chosen the physicist, but the pilot has yet to be selected. “As for the new equipment of the armored cabin of the balloon, certain modifications are contemplated. For instance, when we went up the first time there was quite a possibility of our not coming through alive, owing to the valve cable being placed outside and thus being By Prof. Auguste Piccard • As Told to M aj. Dudley Heath cote TO MARS SOME DAY! Thanks to combustible and liquid oxygen, ultra-rapid navigation be tween the continents of the earth outside the atmosphere has now become a possibility, says Prof. Auguste Piccard. “As for • navigation between planets, probable flights to Mars and so on, this is still a problem to which we have found no solution, and we are not likely to reach one just yet. “But I do not think it is an im possibility. We will undoubtedly achieve these things one day.” outside our direct control. This time the cable works on a windlass inside the watertight nacelle and with in reach. I personally will supervise the sendoff of the balloon, but that is all. “As for the possibilities now open to us in aerial navigation in the strato sphere, I must first of all draw attention to the impor tant developments that have taken place in aeronautical construction since our first experiment. If you remem ber, experiments made pr» viously with round balloons had established that at any altitude from 10 to it miles air was rarefied and the at mosphere was free of aerial currents, clouds or fogs, thus allowing airplanes to attain fantastic speeds. “In our turn we found that in order to fly in the stratosphere, airplanes would have to possess oarlingues and cabins hermetically cloeed and airtight so as to avoid fatal consequences to pUot and passengers which would result from the enor mous diminution of pres sure, the rarefaction of the air and the intense cold at such heights. “Accordingly, the air planes which are being built by Junkers and Farm an to fly in the stratosphere take all the new factors into con sideration. The Junkers plane, for instance, not only has a carlingue and arma ture made of duralumin, Continued on Eighteenth Page This conception by the artist shows the limits of aerial transportation as die dosed by the balloon experiment of Prof. Piccard. Airplanes wrtt be able *# to at terrific speed above 10 miles because of low resistance.