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How To: Make Your Own Open-Sourced Solar Powered Hot Air Balloon How To: Make Your Own Open-Sourced Solar Powered Hot Air Balloon

How To: Make Your Own Open-Sourced Solar Powered Hot Air Balloon

by Yasha Wallin
February 14, 2013

Argentinian artist Tomás Saraceno has devised a way for anyone—with a little help from a friend—to create a solar powered hot air balloon in roughly 24 hours. Titled '59 steps to be on air by sun power,' this ambitious project is a set of 59 instructions that, if followed correctly, will yield a beautiful hot air balloon. Suggested materials are garbage bags, transparent tape, rope, a car seat, bicycle wheels, and a partner to help create this floating device. In order to power your craft, you will also have to have access to the sun, as Saraceno explains, "Since this flying machine is lifted only by the sun, you imperatively need a sunny day with no wind at all…"

Typically, a one hour hot air balloon ride uses approximately 180-200 liters of propane, which burns to form water and carbon dioxide; in addition to the fuel used by the balloon's ground retrieval crew. Additionally, the activity to launch and retrieve one hot air balloon uses the equivalent of 378.1 kilograms of greenhouse gas.

With Valentine's Day right around the corner, perhaps this is the perfect opportunity to work with your special someone on a more environmentally friendly trip to the clouds. Now just make sure the champagne bottle you bring up there to celebrate is made from recycled glass.

Ready to dive into this DIY project? Download the instructions here.

This post is part of the GOOD community's 50 Building Blocks of Citizenship. This week, measure your carbon footprint. Follow along and join the discussion at #goodcitizen.

Images courtesy of Tomás Saraceno

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