Could a balloon take you up into outer space?

Sadly, no, but you could get pretty close. Recently, a man was planning to do a parachute jump from the edge of space using a balloon to lift himself to the proper altitude (130,000 ft.) but unfortunately his balloon took off without him and he was left behind.

In 1982, using less advanced technology, a man tied lots of helium balloons to a lawn chair and floated up over his house. The rope that was anchoring him broke and he suddenly shot up into the sky, eventually reaching almost 16,000 feet. Luckily he had a pellet gun and was able to shoot the balloons one at a time, and slowly came back to earth, unharmed.

Most large hot air balloons that carry people in baskets rise due to simple hot air created by burning propane. They are open at the bottom and can only rise to limited heights – 65,000 feet is the current record. A sealed balloon rises because the gas inside it (typically helium or hydrogen) is less dense and therefore lighter than the gas outside it, so the surrounding atmosphere effectively pushes it up until the pressure is the same inside and out. But while this is happening, the gas inside expands, and small balloons usually pop. Released helium balloons (handheld, at least) explode at a height of about 28,000 – 30,000 ft. if they make it that high.

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