#tweetsinspace experiment takes flight to test the limits of Boyle’s Law

9 Nov 2012

TalkToEu’s experiment to test Boyle’s Law and bring tweets to the edge of space – all the while highlighting funding available from the EU for Irish scientists – has taken flight, with a live stream available online.

The experiment involves a weather balloon carrying a HD video camera, which will be recording a second regular balloon with Irish scientist Robert Boyle’s face on it.

As anyone who listened in Junior Cert physics knows, Boyle’s Law states that the absolute pressure and volume of a given mass of confined gas are inversely proportional, if the temperature remains unchanged within an enclosed system.

This means that Boyle’s balloon will inflate, expand and eventually explode as the air pressure outside decreases.

As well as sending the balloons and video camera up in the air, TalkToEU is also including a screen that will display tweets sent using the #tweetsinspace hashtag – so users can tweet to the edge of space.

EU funding for the next Robert Boyle

The point of the #tweetsinspace experiment is not just to test the limits of Boyle’s Law and send tweets up in the air, but to highlight the funding available from the EU for Irish scientists.

TalkToEu is an information campaign by the EU Commission aimed at encouraging young Irish people to look into the funding available for science, innovation and research.

In July this year, the European Commission announced the final and biggest ever set of calls for proposals for research under its Seventh Framework Programme (FP7). In total, €8.1bn will support projects and ideas that can boost Europe’s competitiveness and tackle issues such as human health, protecting the environment and finding new solutions to growing challenges linked to urbanisation and managing waste.

Watch online

The balloon launched from Cahirciveen, Co Kerry, this morning and its progress can be tracked online.

When the balloon pops, the team will use GPS tracking to locate it and the video footage, which they hope to have ready by Monday. According to latest flight path prediction, the team reckon they will be driving to Kilkenny to recover the payload.

#tweetsinspace predicted flight pathUPDATE: Despite having three GPS trackers on the balloon payload, it seems a good old low-tech sticker with a phone number proved to be the most effective form of recovery, and a local man in Kilfeacle, Co Tipperary takes credit for finding it before the team did.


Elaine Burke is the host of For Tech’s Sake, a co-production from Silicon Republic and The HeadStuff Podcast Network. She was previously the editor of Silicon Republic.