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NASA balloonsNASA has several ongoing balloon projects, including the Ultra-Long Duration Balloon project to research the use of balloons above the Troposphere. The Cosmic Ray Energetics And Mass (CREAM) experiment sent a 450-foot balloon over the Antarctic for almost 42 days--reaching an altitude of 125,000 feet (left). CREAM is designed to explore cosmic rays from outside the solar system.
On the right is a trial balloon launched in June 2006 for NASA by the Swedish Space Corporation to test the Ultra-Long Duration Balloon vehicle. The balloon reached a height of about 135,000 feet above the Earth's surface.
The 2005 Paris Air Show had no shortage of jet planes, but it also featured some more-delicate aircraft. The "Zeppy," for instance, is a helium airship that Frenchman Stephane Rousson (seated) plans to fly across the English Channel.
Inside a giant airship
Here's what the inside of a giant airship looks like.