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xoomax t1_j9gngup wrote

This is very cool. I've launched two from China not too far apart and they took very different paths. I guess this is the jet stream.

Coincidentally, I'm listening to BBC World Service and there is a story on Spy Balloons as I played around!


import_torch-nn OP t1_j9gq3lc wrote

I see, a smol deviation in initial conditions can definitely cause a huge difference in outcome in chaotic systems like these


BobSchwaget t1_j9gsyfd wrote

It would be cool to add a function to control the balloon's altitude. That would manage the chaos enough you could then add goals like trying to pass over as many target cities as possible in a single go around the earth.


import_torch-nn OP t1_j9gx54p wrote

That is true

Tho, the total size of the data chunks will be a torture to the server machine


-FourOhFour- t1_j9h1wuv wrote

Would be giving it the good Ole reddit hug of death if you did that


DarthWeenus t1_j9ijieq wrote

Thats a massive undertaking considering all the data.


NETSPLlT t1_j9hbpyd wrote

It really comes down to how fast, and how many of, those butterfly wings are flapping.


ThatCakeIsDone t1_j9h8rjl wrote

I launched two from China, one went over northern Montana (lol), the other went through Texas


Defiant_Prune t1_j9gyluc wrote

NOAA has a balloon flight simulator using gov weather info.

The HYSPLIT system is powerful and can bring a desktop computer to its knees, but the output is pretty good.


import_torch-nn OP t1_j9h49km wrote

I suppose that is the government system I believe have existed

Although that one require some aviation background to 'play with' (as a game)


Defiant_Prune t1_j9h9lmq wrote

Didn’t mean to disparage your work. You are correct, it is not very user friendly.


import_torch-nn OP t1_j9hb44y wrote

no worries

my site is meant to be for fun instead of an accurate research tool anyways and the gov site is a good professional perspective


Prefeitura t1_j9hvsn9 wrote

don't mind the comparison, the govt simulator is dogshit. yours is better by so, so much. Do you mind crafting the trajectory of a ballon being released from east palestine, with information since february 3? this way we could know where that smoke went...


import_torch-nn OP t1_j9hztar wrote

ahaha, I see

yea I have thought of making a atmospheric contamination spread simulation using the same engine, I would definitely try it out soon


Prefeitura t1_j9i15zv wrote

so many people are in dire need of information about that right now... you did a great job there, and it would be brilliant if you did so. let us know when you get there :)


chemical_sunset t1_j9ib2xx wrote

There is actually a desktop version with even more functionality (I used it for my dissertation research)


import_torch-nn OP t1_j9grvjc wrote

Hi all! Thanks for all of your support, it really blew up!

The website is lagging right now and I am working on upgrading the serversThank you for your patience

Edit: the 2nd server is almost ready now! I will need to install the SSL cert which may cause the site to slightly break for a minute

Edit 2: both servers are fully up and running now! thanks for y'all's patience and support!


turbineslut t1_j9ipuiy wrote

Did you know about ? They have a predictor too for actual launches. I’ve used it to launch three balloons years ago.

And the live tracker for actual balloons


import_torch-nn OP t1_j9jpviy wrote

yep! I learnt about it from other comments

they are the professional side of this topic


turbineslut t1_j9k8x9m wrote

Well back when I participated they were actually just a bunch of volunteers/hobbyists doing it in their free time. Not sure if a part of it has been professionalized by now. But yea, it's all very slick.


jeweliegb t1_j9iodhq wrote

It's brilliantly fun, educational, and quite surprising!


Dbjfdb t1_j9gso5k wrote

I’m in IT, and I see things like this and really love the ingenuity and cleverness that goes into it.

I can’t go there yet so I’ll ask here.

Do you have a way to allow someone to mark a balloons position, altitude, and date/time and have it display an (ever-widening) range of locations where it may have been launched from?


import_torch-nn OP t1_j9gxd84 wrote

A backward trace is an idea I have thought of, the implementation might take a bit to figure out so stay tuned!


Dbjfdb t1_j9gy28k wrote

Indeed it is…I believe in you! 🍺


weinsteinjin t1_j9gwbxc wrote

Now that you know that atmospheric conditions are chaotic, and that balloons have next to no steering capabilities, are you still convinced that China launched them so they can fly across the Pacific, through Canada, just so they fly visibly over precise sensitive locations in the US? Nobody is wasting money making spy balloons when satellites would’ve sufficed. It shouldn’t be hard to spot the military’s fear mongering.


lemonpjb t1_j9hjs8g wrote

I work in telemetry and build radiosondes for a living; the idea that a state like China would use balloon technology for the purposes of clandestine spying is laughably absurd. There are so many technologies better-suited for this purpose.


Noob_DM t1_j9i58a8 wrote

> Now that you know that atmospheric conditions are chaotic

They’re not at high altitude. They’re actually pretty stable.

> and that balloons have next to no steering capabilities

That’s not at all true…

> are you still convinced that China launched them so they can fly across the Pacific, through Canada, just so they fly visibly over precise sensitive locations in the US?

It’s been done many, many times before… the Japanese were doing it all the way back in WWII…

> Nobody is wasting money making spy balloons when satellites would’ve sufficed.

They don’t, actually. For camera or radio imaging, sure, but for signal scooping, you need to be in atmosphere due to the way radio waves reflect off the ionosphere. That’s why the US is flying radio signal intelligence aircraft in the Black Sea instead of just using satellites to intercept Russian radio communications and gather intelligence.

> It shouldn’t be hard to spot the military’s fear mongering.

Try being a little more educated before making wild assertions.


czyzczyz t1_j9ifw5q wrote

It is worth noting that it is possible for stratospheric balloons to navigate with purpose within the chaos of different wind currents by controlling their altitude in order to choose which current to ride at a given moment. This is a thing that has been done. How difficult it is I leave to the nation states that might want to sense something they can’t detect from satellite altitudes (like magnetic fluctuations?) —or to the ham radio enthusiasts whose $100 Arduino balloons attract the ire of very expensive jet-fired munitions.


Da_reason_Macron_won t1_j9jpi35 wrote

Look man, a train just poisoned Ohio and the US got caught blowing up the nord stream, any media circus that can fill news times has to be exploited as much as possible.


_WhatchaDoin_ t1_j9gybyx wrote

Did they start from China, or from a boat in international water that could be close to US borders?


import_torch-nn OP t1_j9gxono wrote

some sources claimed the first two(?) were aimed for guam or some location in middle of pacific (scouting other US allies' military bases? idk)

so anything could happen


weinsteinjin t1_j9gyfr3 wrote

With US military bases in every corner of the world, it’s kind of hard not to fly over one


BenioffThrowAway t1_j9hbln1 wrote

If this can work with estimates, let's see what we can do with actuals for historic usage


iTwango t1_j9hkt6p wrote

This is a cool idea!!


dos_user t1_j9hp2lm wrote

Lauch one near Guam and you can see how the balloon might have drifted off the expected course.


iggygrey t1_j9hu0fq wrote

You're the hero we didn't want but showed up anyway.


ohyeaoksure t1_j9i00il wrote

Cool, I made a spy balloon! We should get them together for a play date.


ImportanceExpress210 t1_j9i6iia wrote

I'm going to shoot it down if you dare fly that thing over my house.


getott t1_j9gp28w wrote

This is fun


motleystuff t1_j9gx70o wrote

Are you able to use it in reverse using historical data?


not2bad4fifty t1_j9h9vzd wrote

Came to say the same.

Enter location, elevation, and time, then run backwards.


imafraidofmuricans t1_j9hddx4 wrote

I'm not sure how'd work. I assume there has to be multiple starts that end up in the same end point.


import_torch-nn OP t1_j9hq5do wrote

that is true, a backtrace algorithm might be possible to code but will probably not be efficient


SupahCraig t1_j9iu8tx wrote

Just sequence all your weather data in reverse, time will flow backward.


Melcher t1_j9hqjrs wrote

The only way to know would be to fly high altitude balloons tracking weather patterns

Edit: oh.


Jupaack t1_j9gxhjw wrote

One managed to do a full trip around the world in 15 days. the second one disappeared after just 5 miles, got shot by my neighbors.


AostaValley t1_j9gzziw wrote

O cazzo. Se un genio! Love It!


DreadPirateGriswold t1_j9ijxix wrote

Can it be used with Microsoft Flight Simulator to simulate an F-22 with a sidewinder missile?

Asking for a friend...


NeroFMX t1_j9inf73 wrote

Military: "This is classified information, where did you get ahold of this??"

Me: "I believe his name was DeepFriedPancake"


GeorgieWashington t1_j9iq3ww wrote

Correct me if I’m wrong, but I think what you actually built was a “where will GeorgieWashington’s weather balloons -that they drunkenly purchased one time- end up now that they have a reason to launch it” simulator.


penfold00 t1_j9j5x71 wrote

The internet! good job


KingOfAsshollery t1_j9jceva wrote

Plot twist. I spawned it from UK. Still it went over US 😂.


xixi2 t1_j9jkbcr wrote

Bro I am happy if I can make a website with a button that counts up...


wetgerman t1_j9jqgrh wrote

almost want a reverse of this. like drop the pin for destination and starting point and give suggestions for the closest possible starting point.


appleflaxen t1_j9l7ot0 wrote

Can you run it in reverse using historical data to estimate where balloons came from?


ohioMX5 t1_j9h69h9 wrote

Bad news. My fighter jet simulator is going to shoot your pinko commie spy balloons down!


import_torch-nn OP t1_j9hzaql wrote

update: I have now added a disclaimer that this site is aimed at for fun usage only, in case we would scream at each other over the topic of fidelity and application

thank y'all for your support

and yes, US military have their own simulation system of course they won't need to use one made by a random student


TikkiTakiTomtom t1_j9iv7n3 wrote

So based on this simulation, how accurate is it and would it be reasonably possible for a weather balloon to have floated its way all over the world?

I very much dislike news sensationalism and political propaganda so this gives a bit more insight on claims.


Mindless-Fix-4651 t1_j9jhssz wrote

I mean I put it in Australia and it landed in the straight between Madagascar and Africa and then put it on Poland-Belarus border and it made it around the world so make of that what you will


import_torch-nn OP t1_j9jp2ot wrote

sufficiently accurate as a for fun thing to tinker with

not on the level of credible military intel of course


Jjex22 t1_j9hl99u wrote

Well it’s been on reddit 5 hours, so it’s safe to say every intelligence agency has had a quick peak at it lol


CyberNinja23 t1_j9i2ou0 wrote

China: See it really is a weather balloon. And might I add that your lawn is looking really great this year, the flower bed your wife is adding right now really gives the property some pop, but the gardener has been hanging around too much….Hello?


import_torch-nn OP t1_j9i5rbh wrote

lmaaao imagine

"yo sleepy joe just a heads up the pipes to the northwest of Oregon base #4-A is fucked"


blongjohn t1_j9gm58a wrote

Why are you making tools for China?


import_torch-nn OP t1_j9gmx6s wrote

to be fair, there is no way my code is precise or accurate enough for it to be anything other than a fun playing along website

I reckon CIA/US military/any other nation's military must have their own supercomputer running actual applicable simulations with high level data