The Stratosphere

Editors, Environment


The stratosphere is the name given to that layer of our atmosphere that begins about seven miles above the ground, and reaches up to about a further twenty miles. It is still in rather the same popular position (mentally,  not physically) as the north and south poles-we know that they are there, and that people still go off wandering round in their vicinity, but we feel that they really are not of much importance to us, and we do not think that it would matter very much if people kept away from them and merely let them be. That is, of course, the natural attitude towards all investigations of people not professionally concerned, until those have some practical application in their own lives. Is it merely scientific curiosity that has caused us to probe into it with pilot balloons, unmanned, but furnished with recording instruments! To send up into its centre big gas-filled balloons dragging observers behind them in metal gondolas! To penetrate into it with our aeroplanes! One must admit that it is partially scientific curiosity and partly the human urge to do what other people have not done; it is just that spirit which has caused us to move from the middle ages to the twentieth century; and we can and will make use of the observations now being made on the position and nature and behaviour of the stratosphere. 

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